Warren Gale passed away unexpectedly at Unity Point Hospital in Rock Island, IL. Warren was a devoted father and husband, a life-long Lutheran, a professional engineer, a proud army veteran, a committed outdoorsman, and an environmental educator. His family will miss his loving and soft-spoken demeanor, his quick wit, his devious smile and general orneriness, his wise guidance, and many stories.
Warren was born to Lyman and Edith (Bakken) Gale in Fosston, MN. Tragically his father passed away prior to Warren’s birth. Warren and his mother relocated to Rock Island, IL when he was an infant. With the exception of his time in the Army, Warren lived his entire life in the Quad Cities area. He spent as much of his youth as possible fishing, hunting and otherwise exploring the Rock River. As a youth he was also active in the Rock Island YMCA, and he always credited the Y with helping build his character and love of community. Warren graduated from Rock Island High School and joined the Army serving in Germany and specializing in photolithography. After his discharge Warren returned to Rock Island and met the love of his life. He and Connie (Clark) were married on March 17, 1962 at First Lutheran Church (Rock Island, IL). They were happily married for the remainder of Warren’s life (57 years!!). They had three children that were adored and raised in a loving and always supportive home
Warren served as Corporal in the US Army and was stationed in Germany as part of the Occupation Forces in the 1950s. Warren enjoyed his time in Germany where in his off time he learned to enjoy good beer and German food, skiing, and the beauty of the mountains. Following his time in the Army he returned to Rock Island and started his professional career at John Deere Harvester Works in East Moline IL. He worked for John Deere for 36 years and was an Industrial engineer and manufacturing supervisor on the floor. He retired on October 31, 1994.
Warren was an ardent and devoted family man and family was the center of his life. He believed at his core in the importance of family and was devoted to his wife, children, and grandchildren. He and Connie loved and cared for each other their entire married life, and approached everything as an undivided team. Warren cherished his children and grandchildren and was a constant source of support, kindness, and good humor. He was dedicated to their success and would tell anyone who would listen about how proud he was of all of them. He was a lifelong Lutheran and was an active member of the congregation at St. Paul Lutheran Church (Orion IL) for over 40 years. He served his congregation as a church council member, and loved teaching Sunday School and helping to support all of the youth ministries at the church.
Warren truly loved the outdoors. Some of his happiest times were spent bird-watching, canoeing rivers, fishing with his children and grandchildren, sitting in his tree stand hunting for deer, and generally exploring the outdoors. Some of his most memorable trips were fishing and exploring the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, hunting in Texas and Washington, fishing, canoeing, and boating the Mississippi, Rock, Iowa, and Upper Iowa Rivers, and enjoying State Parks throughout Illinois and Iowa. Warren loved the Rock River the most, and could talk for hours about the adventures of his youth spent fishing, camping, canoeing and otherwise channeling Huck Finn. His Grandparents (Fred and Nellie Gale) owned a house on the Rock River and as a child Warren spent his summers there and was given the freedom to explore to his hearts content. While most of his stories would make us wonder how he survived his childhood (he may have taken a story telling liberty or two), these experiences shaped Warren and he would live his adult life as an advocate for outdoors education and getting kids outdoors.
Warren was passionate about conservation and outdoors education. He was active in and served in leadership positions at the Rock Island Conservation Club, the Quad Cities Conservation Alliance, the Milan Rifle Club, and was a devoted Hunter Safety and Firearms Instructor. He loved telling stories and introducing youth to the outdoors. He volunteered as a hunter safety educator in both Illinois and Iowa for over 35 years. He volunteered and worked to promote environmental education throughout his life and served as a representative (for the Quad Cities Area) to five Illinois Conservation Congresses convened by the Governor. As a testament to his devoted and hard work on environmental education, Warren was inducted into the Illinois Outdoor Hall of Fame in January 2012 at the age of 76.
Warren is survived by his wife Connie, children Melissa (Joe Staniszewski), Nancy (Mark Koster), and William (Jennifer Pearson-Gale), grandchildren Josef, Peter, Kristof, and Katherine Staniszewski, Olivia and Annalise Morris, and Kieran, Celia, and Joshua Gale, great-grandchildren Joseph and Lucas and brothers Jack and Mike Sackfield. He was preceded in death by his parents, sister Sharon Adams, and one great-grandchild.
A Visitation with the family will be held at St. Paul Lutheran Church (Orion IL) on Thursday, October 31 from 5 to 8 p.m.. A Funeral Service will be held at St. Paul Lutheran Church at 10 a.m. on Friday November 1. Most of all, the best way to remember Warren, is to get outside and walk or float a river (especially the Rock River), go bird-watching, or get out and go fishing or hunting, because that’s where his spirit will be.
Memorial contributions may be made to St. Paul Lutheran Church, the Nature Conservancy, Children’s Therapy Center of Quad Cities, or another charitable organization of the donor’s choice.
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