Dale E. Kukla


Dale E. Kukla, age 74, of Strongsville, Ohio, peacefully entered God’s kingdom on Thursday, June 18, 2020, after receiving a terminal cancer diagnosis in late April. He enjoyed a life well lived with few regrets, finding ways to balance a tremendous work ethic, an unwavering dedication to his family and friends, and a healthy dose of fun and adventure along the way. Dale was a kind and friendly man, an exceptionally hard worker, a willing helper, and someone you could count on, beyond a doubt, to do the right thing and give 110% doing it.

Dale was born July 12, 1945, to the late Ben and Rose Kukla of Cleveland, Ohio. He was a proud graduate of St. Edwards High School in Lakewood, where he competed in wrestling and football. He earned his bachelor’s in electrical engineering from University of Dayton and completed his master’s at University of Akron. He began his career in the aerospace field and moved into software development and consulting services. He also taught several classes in electrical engineering to undergrads at University of Akron and published several articles on the role of technology in the manufacturing process. Dale retired as partner and senior vice president of Manufacturing Decision Support Systems in 2011.

Dale met the love of his life, Jacquelyn (Jackie, nee Ingham), in the summer of 1964. A devoted husband of 53 years, Dale is also the beloved father of Kimberly Endsley and Jeannette Gatchell (James), the dear step-grandfather of Mary Helen, and the cherished grandfather of Sydney Joyce, Ivalene Rose, and Grace Shea. He was the number-one supporter of and advocate for all of his “girls” and involved in all of their activities, from teaching them about the stars and how to swim; to cheering on their sports, recitals, and performances; to walking in the Columbus Buddy Walk for the past four years to benefit the Down Syndrome Association of Central Ohio. He loved and enjoyed his larger family as well. He was the treasured bother of Timothy Kukla (Georgienne) and loved uncle of Christine Kukla, Catherine Lowry (John), and Collette Kukla (Deron Stone).

While Dale’s many interests and passions included being a great BBQ griller, golfing, reading, SODOKU, and bowling—he once bowled a perfect game—he was happiest when boating the Great Lakes, especially with his first mate (Jackie) and rest of his family beside him. Dale received his captain’s license from the United States Coast Guard in 1995 and was literally at the helm of countless adventures on the Lakes. Before the days when you could simply ask Siri for directions, many of these trips were navigated the old-fashioned way with charts and a pencil. The most significant journey involved a 12-hour trip through the locks of the Welland Canal, a ship canal in Ontario, Canada, that connects Lake Erie to Lake Ontario. Over more than three decades of boating, Dale and his family made countless memories, with friends both old and new, that will forever be cherished.

Dale, along with Jackie, spent many of the last few winters making a road trip to Florida, visiting friends and family along the way, and escaping some of the worst of the Cleveland winters, of which Dale was not a fan. (And that’s putting it mildly). In addition to these annual sojourns, Dale planned a summer family vacation each year to Outer Banks or Myrtle Beach for his children and grandchildren to enjoy. These trips were some of his favorite traditions and some of the greatest highlights of the last several years.

Although Dale’s life ended abruptly and too soon, it was a rich life filled with accomplishment, enjoyment, and, most importantly, love. He will be sorely missed and forever remembered. In accordance with his wishes and in tribute to his many years at the helm, Dale’s ashes will be spread on Lake Erie by his family. A public celebration of life will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in Dale’s name are suggested to the Thomas P. Perciak Family Residential Hospice, which provided exceptional care and compassion during Dale’s final days, or to the Down Syndrome Association of Central Ohio, an organization near and dear to Dale’s heart.

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  1. Jenny Pertee says:

    Kim, I’m so sorry to hear of your dad’s passing. He sounds like a wonderful man and I pray that reminiscing with your family on each of those great memories provides comfort and solace along with God’s peace and grace.

  2. Paul & Karen Merkle says:

    We were fortunate to spend a little time with Dale & Jackie a few years ago in Florida while we were visiting the Hering’s. We rented a boat & spent the day going to Cabbage Key & he was our captain. Had a wonderful time. Thoughts & prayers go out to all of your family. Keep those memories close to your heart.

  3. Ken and Pam Wilhelm says:

    Dale enjoyed his life to the fullest, and we were fortunate enough to be counted among his friends and share in some of those times. We have so many great memories of boating trips with Dale and Jackie and the laughter we shared. We will cherish them always.

  4. The Garbe Family says:

    I am really sad to hear this. He was so sweet with the girls. Much love to the family

  5. Pam Waltenbaugh says:

    I am so sorry to hear of your dad leaving this earth. Prayers that he is in a beautiful eternal place but that doesn’t help missing him here and now, I’m sure. Difficult to be still rather young and pass so suddenly. But what a beautiful life he lived! Such devotion to his entire family. I remember you coming to Strongsville to be with your mom and him years ago with your surgery. Kudos to him for living such a moral, happy life. Continue the legacy. Love and a God bless! Pam

  6. Melody Miller says:

    Thinking of you and your daughter. Keep him alive with memories and his legacy- Take care! Bless your whole family, Melody Miller – CHS

  7. Amy Whelpley says:

    I will always remember the kindness your Dad showed when I was on board your boat. He would find nearby sand bars when i got sea sick so i could be on land or anchor and throw the tubes in the water so i could swim around until i felt better. As i grew up with the Kukla family as Jenny’s friend, the size of their boat also grew as well as my love for ALL of them. He will forever be etched in our foundest of memories.

  8. Owen & Adele McHugh says:

    We’re saying our prayers for you, Jenny, and your Mom and family. Please know you are in our thoughts at this sad time in your life. We are sure your Dad is looking down on all of you and still guiding you from above.
    Our deepest sympathy.

  9. Kathy Bohner says:

    Kim, I am so deeply sorrow to just find out about about the lose of your father. My prayers and tears are with you and your family. You and your family are so wonderful in many ways which you guys are continuing the love and brilliance of your dad. Keep his flame burning your hearts and lives!!

  10. Jerry Jarzabek says:

    Dale was a good man who will be greatly missed. My sincere condolences to Jackie and all his wonderful family and friends. I was fortunate to know him.

  11. Ellen Dalessandro says:

    My thoughts and prayers are with you. Very sorry for your loss.

  12. Jill Bonsell Bednar says:

    Such a beautiful tribute to a wonderful man. He was always so sweet to me, I enjoyed our talks and hearing about their adventures. My mom and dad always spoke SO fondly of Dale and Jackie. One of my best memories was in Key West, good times! May God comfort you all during this difficult time and forever remember the memories you all had together. Our deepest sympathy to you all. Love and Hugs

  13. Hillary Heydinger says:

    Though I’ve never met Dale I’ve heard so many great things about him. I know how much he’s loved. This was beautifully written and it makes me wish I knew him. Sending many prayers for comfort.

  14. Randy Baenen says:

    Dale was a true gentleman–
    soulful, funny and generous!

  15. Barbara Punchak says:

    My prayers and love go out to all of his Family. He sure will be missed. In telling of Dale’s passing to my family, I said that he was the kindest and sweetest man I know.. He always had a smile and a laugh that was contagious. I was lucky enough to go out on his boat a few times, he made me a Cocaine Lady. The best drink I ever had!! I will remember the good times, and you will too. love

  16. Glenn C Duquette says:

    So sorry to read this. I have very fond memories of Dale – he always made me feel like a friend when our paths crossed. He will be missed.

  17. Susan Kolar says:

    My thoughts and and prayers go out to you and your family Kim! Your father raised an awesome daughter!

  18. Randy & Patricia Stineman says:

    Our deepest sympathy to you and your family Kim.
    Randy & Patti Stineman

  19. rosemaryvay says:

    What a beautiful tribute to your dad…..
    He will be missed and long remembered
    Focus on the good memories!!!