Obituary: Dale Spickler

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Dale Spickler, for many years not just a representation of Santa Claus, but just as in “Miracle on 34th Street,” the embodiment of the spirit, if not the actual Kris Kringle, passed away on Wednesday evening, June 21, 2006, at his home in Idyllwild. His kind eyes, gentle voice and twinkling ready smile, whether in full Claus regalia or civilian red plaid shirt and suspenders, will be missed by every child and adult whose life he graced. He was 75.

Spickler, ill with cancer, had been preparing to leave with his wife MaryAnn to be with their son Sandy and wife Veronica in Aloha, Ore., where, according to MaryAnn “hospice care, which Dale desperately needed, would be available. … He didn’t really want to leave Idyllwild, and maybe this was his way of staying.”

Spickler, active on many Idyllwild boards and in many organizations since moving to Idyllwild full-time in 1998, once attended a quarterly luncheon given by then Riverside County 3rd District Supervisor Jim Venable. Invitees were asked at one point to stand and state what part of the district they came from and what organization or organizations they represented.

Charlie Wix, who accompanied Dale, rose and said that he was from Idyllwild and represented County Service Area (CSA) 36 and Rotary. As Wix recalls, Dale stood, said “I’m from Idyllwild,” paused as if collecting data in his head, and continued, “And I think I’m president of everything.” Wix fondly remembered that “Dale would volunteer for everything.”

“Dale was such an example of diplomacy and graciousness,” said Chris Singer. “I joined Idyllwild Community Recreation Council (ICRC) because Dale was at the very first skatepark meeting [to build a skatepark for Idyllwild kids] and I said to myself . . . if Dale Spickler is involved, I want to be involved. Whenever I had difficulty in knowing how to deal with certain people, Dale would always give me wise advice. He was the gentlest of souls.”

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