Dale Emerson Ackman, Litchfield, died June 16, 2022, at St Cloud Hospital. A celebration of life will be held at 2:00 PM on Monday, June 27, 2022, at Zion Lutheran Church. Visitation will be held one hour prior to the service at church. The service will be livestreamed at www.johnsonhagglund.com.
Dale Ackman was born on November 24, 1942, in Slayton, MN, to Edward Ackman and Leona Bass Ackman. He was raised on farms near Dundee, Chokio, Stewart, and Lake Lillian. He graduated from Cosmos High School in 1960 and attended the University of MN, St Paul, before returning to Lake Lillian to dairy farm with his father. In growing up years Dale was active in 4-H, FFA, and Farmer’s Union. They also did custom baling for a penny a bale. Dale served with the Army Reserves from January 1964-January 1970, reaching the rank of E-5. In 1963 he met Karen Hollenbeck. They were married on February 26, 1966, at Calvary Lutheran Church in Golden Valley, MN. They were blessed with 56 loving years. Dale dairy farmed for 25 years from 1961-1986, near Lake Lillian and Grove City.
They adopted Miriam in 1972 and Randy in 1974. In January 1974 they were approached to be foster parents. Over the next 12 years 35 children lived with them and they adopted three of them – Christina (Tina), Robert (Bob), and Alan. Miriam’s school friend Rebecca Arens (Becca) joined the family in 1989 bringing their family to 6 children. The father of this tribe, Dale, would just as soon have had no children, but he loved Karen so much that he stepped into the role willingly and was a caring and supportive “Daddy” to each of them.
In 1986 the family moved to a farm site just SW of Litchfield. Dale worked at several jobs (Green Giant, mowing road ditches, 3-M) while recovering from injuries from a fall off a grain bin. He called it his physical therapy. In 1987 he was offered a job at Meeker Coop Light and Power where he worked in the Load Management department, with a team including Darrell Ward and Dee Bollin, for 25 years, retiring in 2012. When he drove around the MCLP region he loved to point out places he had worked and tell stories about crawling into tiny spaces to install water heaters or on high snowbanks to read meters. He knew which places had dogs and where each meter was located. Wherever he worked he made friends whom he remembered years later.
Dale was a good bowler and horseshoe pitcher, and he played softball. Dale and Karen bowled doubles with Ed and Leona and Norma and Harvey Ziebarth. In 1986 he joined the Litchfield Horseshoe Club, serving as an officer and statistician for many years. A few of those years he pitched with his dad Ed, daughter Miriam, and grandson Casey – 4 generations pitching together. When he could no longer pitch, he was devastated!
Traveling was another love of Dale’s. He and Karen visited 46 of the contiguous 48 states, often taking children and/or grandchildren.
Dale is survived by his wife Karen; 6 children Randy, Bob (Peggy), Tina (Dave) Wittke, Miriam, Rebecca Arens, and Alan; 8 grandchildren Casey and Alyssa Swart, Seth Becker, Kaleb and Marissa Wittke, Nate Wachlin and Abby Ackman, and Skylar Ackman; siblings Karen (Doug) Adams, Keith, and Donald (Jayne); Brothers-in-law Ken, Ed (Ardie), Steve (Mara), Andy (Sue) Hollenbeck and sister-in-law Lani Hollenbeck, and many nieces and nephews.
Dale was preceded in death by his parents (Ed and Leona), a grandchild (Timothy Ackman), a brother-in-law (Mike Hollenbeck), two sisters-in-law (Coral Ackman and Mary Hollenbeck).
Guests are reminded masking is not required, but those wishing to wear masks are encouraged to do so.
Dale was very down-to-earth and we encourage those attending to dress in casual country-style clothing.
In lieu of flowers the family requests memorial gifts be given to Zion Lutheran Church, 504 N Gilman, Litchfield, MN, 55355.