Dale Felkner, loved by so many and known for his great smile and infectious laugh passed from this earth on February 2, 2023.
Dale was born to Gene and Natalie Felkner on November 10th, 1937 in Tucumcari, New Mexico. He was the oldest child of two. Gene was a farmer-rancher—farming with horses as his ancestors did for generations. The Felkner ranch sold beef cattle, hogs for pork (Spam), chickens and eggs, and dairy products such as cream. As a young boy, Dale had jobs on the ranch (“worked for his room and keep” as he describes it in his written memoirs) including separating the milk and cream, helping deliver products to restaurants and supermarkets, building fences, branding cattle, and much more.
After graduating high school in 1955, Dale was employed in a variety of jobs including working at gas stations, driving a dump truck for a sand and gravel company, produce management at Safeway Supermarket, and sales in the men’s wear and shoe department at JC Penney. When a sales manager from the local radio station, KTNM happened into the department one day, he said he thought Dale would be good in radio and that they needed an advertising salesman. As he says in his memoirs, “How was I to know that would start a 40 year career in broadcast radio?” A day of work for Dale at the KTNM station would start with his reading of morning newscasts “country accent and all”, hitting the streets selling radio ads, and then going back on the air for the afternoon Coors sponsored news. His voice would be broadcast county-wide, noon to night on commercials and recorded nighttime news. In 1973, ten years after starting his job at KTNM, Dale did a test on camera and was offered a prime time news job from 3:00 pm to midnight but turned it down, in order to spend time with his family.
He was offered a job as station manager at KRZE Radio in Farmington, New Mexico and made the big leap of moving his family of 5 to the Four Corners area. Yes, by this time, he had met his bride Beverly Christian & married her in 1958. His daughter Deidre (DeeDee) was born in 1960, followed by his son Kevin in 1964, and another daughter Kimila (Kim) in 1967.
Dale worked at KRZE from 1973 to 1981, and after a brief try at car sales he was approached by Basin Broadcasting, KNDN Navajo language radio with an offer of a sales and management position. He took the job and worked there for about 20 years until retirement near the year 2000. After retiring from radio, Dale did some light landscaping for a while, and then retired for real to enjoy his hobbies and his family.
Dale loved the mountains, family trips to rented cabins in Colorado, and stream fishing. He absolutely loved music, and he knew how to play the guitar and sing. He loved to take walks in the neighborhood and did so daily until his body became a bit too frail to go very far. The family loved to get together in the little studio in the Felkner home for regular Karaoke jam sessions, which Dale would facilitate and record. One of Dale’s favorite activities was watching and studying the weather, a practice ingrained in him by his upbringing on the ranch. In his retirement years, he would post a daily “weather report” on his facebook page, which he would spend hours preparing, to cover the different areas where his friends and family lived. He also had a great love for history, especially the events of World War II and the history of the state of New Mexico. He was an amazing storyteller and would sometimes laugh so hard at himself while telling the story that he had to take breaks to regain his composure.
Dale was known by all for his wisecracking personality that never let up well into his elder years. He loved and cherished his family immensely and enjoyed spending quality time with his grandchildren which included big doses of teasing and storytelling—he had his favorite anecdotal story queued up for each child or grandchild which always garnered laughs no matter how many times he told it.
Dale spent his last days the same way he lived his life—enjoying his family, telling his stories, and holding a cold beer or margarita in his hand.
Dale was preceded in death by his mother Natalie Felkner in 1976, his father Gene Felkner in 2003, and his sister, his only sibling, Gloria Felkner Mitchell in 2018. He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Beverly, daughter DeeDee (Jim) Fowler of Aztec, NM, son Kevin (Jamie) Felkner of Farmington, NM, daughter Kim (Greg) Benton of Mashpee, Massachusetts, grandchildren Ryan (Andrea) St. Clair of Rio Rancho, NM, Janae (Rob) Schnitz of Scottsdale, Arizona, Dillon (Kristen) Smith of Farmington, NM, Reagan Smith of Weymouth, Massachusetts, Kiele Felkner of Farmington NM, and Christian Felkner of Farmington NM. He is also survived by 7 great-grandchildren, and numerous nieces and nephews.
A memorial service will be held on Wednesday, February 8, 2023 at 11:00am at Farmington Funeral Home.