My father, Dale Edwin Sanderson, was born on March 12, 1950, in Clay County, Iowa, to parents Donald and Leah (Johnson) Sanderson. As a child, his first steps were taken on the family farm leaving indelible footprints he returned to throughout his life. His roots on the farm ran deep and fueled his passion for gardening and canning fruits and vegetables of all kinds. He often returned home to help my uncle plant in the spring and harvest in the fall. He enjoyed driving tractors, talking with those in line at the elevator and listening to my uncle use my grandfather's colorful language to curse the machinery.
My father spent his career in Iowa City, where he practiced law with fellow attorney Ralph Neuzil for more than 35 years. My dad was the least bombastic of the two. Later, they were joined by Jay Sigafoose. As an attorney, my father was skilled, conscientious and honest. His clients will attest that it was his compassion, fairness, kindness and eager smile that brought them back year after year. For many, April 15 was an annual reminder to catch-up with an old friend who happened to do their taxes.
My father was an active member of the First United Methodist Church in Iowa City, where his spiritual life blossomed over the years. While he lived with quiet dignity, his relationships were driven by faith expressing itself in love.
As a grandfather, my dad loved watching his grandkids in action. He took as much pride in watching the boys perform on the field as he did watching them perform on stage, and he thoroughly enjoyed watching the girls test the patience of his sons as they brought chaos and joy into our homes and his.
From my father, we learned how to fish at our annual family reunions in Minnesota. We learned when to take the lead playing cards and that squirt guns are not inside toys. We learned that cookie dough must be sampled before being committed to the oven and that sauerkraut is best made outside lest its odor stain the air for weeks. We learned how to handle the disappointment of being long-suffering fans of the Cubs, Cyclones and "fat-headed" Vikings.
But most importantly, we learned what it felt like to have someone who was always on our side. And that is what we will miss the most.
As dusk began to creep upon my father's life he looked forward to marrying his fiancee, Pan Pan Wang, and spending the rest of his life with her in their new home. Unfortunately for all, pancreatic cancer took my father from us on Oct. 30, 2020, while he underwent treatment at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.
His family includes his children, Shelly Keating (Tom), Nate Sanderson (Donita) and Pat Sanderson (Liyun Feng); Dale's fiancee, Pan Pan Wang; seven grandchildren, Ben Keating (Rachel), Jake Keating (Meg), Joe Keating, Adelaide Sanderson, McKinleigh Sanderson, Amy Sanderson, Katelynn Sanderson and little girl Sanderson to bless this family in December; and Dale's brothers, George Sanderson (Claudia Simon), and Jim Sanderson (Arlene); and former wife, Lori Allen and her children, Ian, Mallory and Molly.
He was preceded in death by his wives, Janet Sanderson and Frances Anderson; and his parents.
Public visitation will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 5, at Gay & Ciha Funeral and Cremation Service. Private family services will be held at 10:30 a.m. Friday, Nov. 6, at First United Methodist Church in Iowa City followed by burial at Memory Gardens Cemetery. Social distancing standards will be in place along with the expectation that all in attendance wear a mask. The funeral home will provide masks for guests as necessary. Dale's services will be livestreamed on Friday morning and can be seen any time after this. To view, please search "Remembering Dale E. Sanderson" on Facebook and request to join the group.
In lieu of flowers, a memorial fund has been established in Dale's memory to support causes important to Dale and his family. To share a thought, memory or condolence, please visit the funeral home website at www.gayandciha.com.