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Lawrence Dale: Railroad man

Former Barstow mayor Lawrence E. Dale retired from ATSF/BNSF after more than 42 years of service.

He was born in September 1935 in Paola, Kansas, the youngest of  twin boys. He lived on a 60-acre farm with his grandparents, mother and father and older sister. Later there were three other children in the family — two more sisters and another brother.

The family moved to Kansas City, Kan. in 1945. At age 11, Dale and his brother went to work for a truck farmer, first picking up potatoes at 1 cent a bushel.

“After the potato season, the farmer and his wife liked our work ethic and kept us working thorough the year picking various crops thorough the farming season,” Dale said. “During the same time we both had a paper route and delivered papers after coming home from the truck farm.”

Education started in a one room school house (Lone Elm grade school) grades first through fourth. After moving to Kansas City, Kan. he went to Lindbergh grade school grades 5 through 8. He then went to Turner High School,  graduating in 1953, before going on to US Trade night School for auto and diesel mechanics 1954 and 1955. Then IBE at USC 1977.
Dale went to work for the ATSF Railroad Aug. 8, 1953 as a laborer and promoted through the ranks to various positions. He then transferred to Barstow in June 1975 as District Supervisor to open the new mechanical facilities in the new classification yard under construction.

He married his grade school classmate and the love of his life, Rita, on Feb. 12 1955.
“We have three great children and six grand children we have been married 57 plus great years.”

Q. Why did you move to Barstow?
A. Transferred to Barstow for my job.

Q. What is your passion?
A. I have several. Working on old cars, collecting old Stanley tools or old tools in general. Working with kids (Shrine Hospital and Schools). Working at the Railroad Museum.
Q. Describe a special memory you have of Barstow.
A. The first day I came into Barstow with my family was the worst day ever. It was the day there was an 85 mile an hour wind and sand storm and the home I had bought the sand was coming in around window and door. My wife came in the house and I thought she was about to go back to Kansas. (But we are still here).

Q. Tell us one thing people don't know about you.
A. Many years ago my wife and I took ballroom dancing.

Q. What are the top three issue facing Barstow, and what your take on them?
A. The Homeless Shelter needs to be moved out of the down town area.
The education of our children needs to teach the basics plus what makes our country the land of the free and the home of the brave, and when we have a holiday what does that holiday mean (Fourth of July, Christmas, Easter, etc.) Our children believe it is just another day off no school.
Politicians — federal, state and local — do not seem to be concerned about the people they serve. They are only concerned about their feel-good feeling as they feel they know best for all of us. (Have any of them asked you any question about anything that will affect us as citizens???)

Q. What person, living or from history, would you most like to have dinner with and why? What would you ask them?
A. President Obama. I would want to know why he has no respect for our Constitution, why he feels obligated to apologize for the United States instead of standing up for values. Lastly explain how he feels the taxpayers of this nation can continue to fund his spending binges???

Q. Where do you get your values from.
A. My values are the family values I was raised with: Honesty, integrity, belief in God, my word is my bond, my hand shake is an agreement.


Q. What's your favorite movie?
A. The Green Mile.

Q. What is your favorite thing about Barstow?
A. The ATSF/BNSF Railway employees. Great people.

Q. What is the ultimate issue facing the United States, and what's your take on it?
A. The biggest issue we have today is the lack of leadership at the top. The president still blames others for the for where we are today (bad economy, excessive debt, high unemployment, expanded welfare, jobs and reduced college cost for illegals in the country but not for U.S. citizens and much  more.

Q. What is the best thing about your job?
A. I am retired. I can do what I want to do when I want to.

Q. What is your secret of living a happy, satisfying life?
A. Having a loving wife and partner. I met her in grade school and we have shared ours lives for 57 plus years.

Q. What is your favorite guilty pleasure?
A. A big steak and a glass of CC.

Q. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
A. I hope to still be above ground.

Q. How can readers get a hold of you?
A. Cell (760) 221-0096.


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