Elmer H. Seale, 96, of Marion, formerly of Brainerd, Minn., died Sunday, Feb. 7, 2021, at The Views of Marion. Stewart Baxter Funeral & Memorial Services, Cedar Rapids, is caring for Elmer and his family.
Elmer was born Aug. 27, 1924, in Cleburne, Texas, the younger of two children born to Elmer H. Seale Sr. and Linnie Marie Seale. When Elmer was three, the family relocated to the Fort Worth area when his father began working for Lone Star Gas Co. He attended Southwestern Junior College in Keene, Texas, as a member of the Class of 1943. However, he was not able to graduate with his class because he was called to help with the war effort. He was drafted into the Army in April 1943. After basic training, he was assigned as a clerk typist in the dental clinic at Sheppard Field in Wichita Falls, Texas. Wanting to have a more active part in serving his country, he applied for and was accepted into paratrooper training. He began jump school at Fort Benning, Ga., in March 1945, and upon completion was assigned to the 11th Airborne Division. The war ended before the Division was needed in combat, and it was sent to Sendai, Japan, as one of the first occupational forces. Elmer served in Sendai until March 1946, when he was honorably discharged.
In the fall of 1946, he enrolled as a pre-dental student at Union College in Lincoln, Neb. Within days, he met Joyce Erickson, a student assistant in the biology lab. They were married in Brainerd on Sept. 6, 1947. After graduating from Union in 1951, he earned his DDS degree from the University of Nebraska in 1955. The family moved to Bassett, Neb., where Elmer served as the small town's only dentist for four years. Feeling the the need to live close to extended family, they moved to Brainerd in 1959.
Elmer practiced dentistry in Brainerd from 1959 until his retirement in 1987. He loved his work and always felt that his patients were also his friends. After retiring from dentistry, his interest in electronics led him to accept a part-time position at Zercom, a local company, where he eventually became leader of the line that made temperature control boxes for refrigerated trucks. This different career was also a rewarding period of his life, and he retired for the second time in 1992.
Elmer pursued many hobbies over the years, including Ham radio, gun collecting, hunting and fishing, basket weaving, oil painting, computers and cooking. He was an active member of the Brainerd Seventh-day Adventist Church for 60 years, was a past member of Lion's Club International, and served as a transport driver with Interfaith Volunteers in Baxter, Minn., for 15 years. His greatest joy, however, was spending time with family.
Although Elmer was always proud to call Texas his home state, Brainerd quickly became his beloved home town. He lived independently for nearly 60 years in the house that was purchased in 1959 when the family moved to Brainerd. He relocated to Marion, Iowa, at age 94, when health issues prevented him from living alone without family nearby.
Elmer's life of faith, integrity, perseverance and humor was a blessing, and he will be deeply missed. He is survived by two children, Rosalyn "Rosie" (Don) Hilliard of Cedar Rapids and Stuart (Sandra) Seale of Anthem, Ariz.; daughter-in-law, Kathy Seale of Springfield, Mo.; five grandchildren and four great-grandchildren, Jonathan (Jenee) Hilliard, Levi and Daphne of Vancouver, Wash.; Jameson (Vivian) Hilliard and Ethan of Lincoln, Neb.; Ryan (Erico) Seale of Glendale, Calif.; Jordan (Leigh Anne) Seale and David of Spring, Texas, and Lauren (Brad Farnham) Seale of Taos, N.M. In addition, he is survived by his nephews and niece, R. Scott Daarud (Suzie), Steven Daarud (Connie) and Cheryl Daarud Boulais (Terry); as well as three grand-nephews and three grand-nieces. He is also survived by many dear friends.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Joyce, on Feb. 5, 1996; parents, Elmer and Linnie Seale; sister, Helen Simmons; parents-in-law, Reuben and Rosabelle Erickson; sister-in-law, Gladyce Erickson Daarud and her husband Richard; and many close and dear friends.
The family would like to thank the entire staff of The Views of Marion for their friendship and compassionate care of Elmer throughout his stays in assisted living and long-term care. They also want to express gratitude to Hospice of Mercy for their excellent care that kept Elmer comfortable in his final months.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a service will take place in Brainerd later in 2021, when it is safe to gather.