Dale LeRoy Warburton

Dale was born in Salt Lake City on April 3, 1922.  His parents were Delbert D. and Florence Shepherd Warburton.  He had the following brothers and sister: Gerald (Jerry) Warburton, Robert (Bob)Warburton, Dorothy Warburton Sheriden and Odell Warburton who was stillborn.

With acres of sagebrush to explore, Dale LeRoy Warburton grew up ranching, hunting, trapping, and fishing in the Etna/Grouse Creek area of northern Box Elder County. As a descendent of ranchers, it was in Dale’s blood to take care of and appreciate animals and land. He helped his uncles and father with their ranch duties, learning how to properly raise livestock and other farm animals, grow hay, irrigate, and ride horses.

One story of Dale helping on the ranch earned him a nickname. For years, Larry wondered why some people would call him “Duck.” He finally heard the story.  As a young boy Dale helped his dad put up the hay by riding the derrick horse. A derrick is a mobile device that slides from haystack to haystack on skids. A haying crew would move from ranch to ranch with the derrick during haying time. The derrick consisted of a long tall pole that attached to a hay lift. The “derrick horse” was a gentle and obedient horse strapped with long cables to the derrick. When the horse moved forward, the derrick, through a special pulley system, would swing up the hay lift. When the horse stopped, the hay would drop to be stacked by the haying crew.

One time, while Dale was riding the horse, the horse’s leg caught on one of the cables. Dale must have panicked as the horse started to jump a little and became more and more entangled. When the other ranchers had calmed the horse down, they looked around for Dale, finally finding him in an outhouse. In the commotion, he had jumped off the horse and “ducked” into the outhouse.

And that is why Dale was called, “Duck.”

Another story about Dale: one time in walking home from Grouse Creek, Dale took out his .22 and aiming high, shot out every insulator on the telephones from Grouse Creek to Etna.

He was baptized into the L.D.S Church on August 6, 1932 by John Hadfield and was confirmed on September 4, 1943 by Charles Toyn.

While living in Brigham City for high school, he would go back out to Etna any weekend he could. Once he graduated he moved back to the ranch willing and ready to become a rancher/cowboy for the rest of his life. Then World War II started…

Pearl Harbor signified the start of World War II for the United States. The Warburton boys were encouraged by their bishop to sign up. Dale asked his father and uncles, who had served in World War I, what he should do: should he sign up or stay and help them? His Uncle Mark said, “If they really need you, they will come and get you.”

So Dale stayed and used his agricultural deferment for as long as he could, but in 1943, they “came and got him” and he was drafted into the United States Army Air Corp. Dale served in the military in the South Pacific during WWII.

While he served his country and did what was asked of him, Dale found he badly missed the farm and worried about it almost constantly. From his experiences, he would come out of the war with bitterness for military life and he urged his boys to stay out. When he was discharged in 1946 he went straight back to the ranch and settled down again. And soon he would meet his future wife… Ruth Gleason.

From Ruth’s story of how they met: “Each evening we would make a tour of the several bars in town.  I didn’t drink but this was the way the people of Montello socialized.  I met some of the cowboys who came to Montello from the nearby ranches – among them the Warburton boys.  There were three of them, Dale, Gerald, and Bob.  All were spectacularly handsome and Dale was the one who seemed most interested in me.  They owned a ranch near Montello but their home ranch was in Grouse Creek, Utah, about 30 miles away.  We were issued an invitation to come to the annual Fourth of July rodeo and celebration atGrouse Creek.”

“Our little group from Montello and some girls from Park Valley all came to the house to wash the dust off from the ride and to get ready for the celebration which was being held about 10 miles away.  The ladies of the town had provided a potluck dinner.  There was a patriotic program at the church.  But, what everyone talked about and waited for was the rodeo and the horse races that followed.  I have never been a fan of rodeos.  This one, however, was a little different from most in that the participants were real working cowboys.  They did not ride bucking horses or steers while working but they did do most of their work from the back of a horse.  It was a hot and dusty afternoon.”

“After the rodeo we all went to a nearby back road and some of the local boys raced their horses.  The youngest Warburton son participated in this.  We all went back to the schoolhouse to wash the dust off and comb our windblown hair and just watch a ball game from the comparative shade until time for the dance to start.  The dance was held in the basement of the church.  There was a children’s dance first and then the grown-ups had a turn.  The music was provided by a local orchestra.  Two of the members of the orchestra were Dale’s uncles and two were cousins and two were wives of cousins.  I didn’t try to keep everyone straight.”

“Occasionally, some of the men, including our hosts would slip outside for a drink which had evidently been purchased the day before in Montello.  We would hear the sounds of a fight outside every so often.  Small children were put to sleep on the benches around the dance floor. I had never been so hot and dusty or spent such a long day at a party. I was quite happy when our group decided it was time to return to Montello.  The drive was long and dusty and I was glad to get back.”

Ruth and Dale were married on February 3, 1951 in Las Vegas, NV.  Their marriage was later solemnized in the Logan LDS Temple and their children sealed to them on February 10, 1969.

After Ruth and Dale married, Ruth tells this story: “Very shortly after we were married, we went up to bed and there was an awful noise in the room. I said, “Dale, there’s something in here.”

“Oh, it’s a pack rat, don’t worry.” Dale said.

“But Dale, it’s right here in the room!”

So, what Dale had to do was get out of bed, get on his trousers, go all the way downstairs and get a kerosene lamp and light it and get out his shotgun.

He shot that pack rat, right in my bedroom … while I was sitting right in the middle of the bed!”

Dale and Ruth had four children, 3 sons, Dale Bradford, Michael (Mick) Gleason, Lawrence (Larry) D, and a daughter, Laura.  All four children were born while Dale and Ruth lived in Etna. One of Brad’s first memories was of going down to Pilot Peak during haying time because the hay came on at the Peak before it did in Grouse Creek. There was a small shack and Brad remembers staying in the shack with his mom with a kerosene refrigerator and only oil lamps for light.  They stayed there for a few weeks and then drove back in a sheep camp.

Mick remembers how his dad would pinch the footies of their pajamas, trapping them and holding them upside down by the footies in their pajamas until they “hollered.” Another memory has Mick “hollering” about something while Dale shelled peanuts. Dale took a shell and threw it straight into Mick’s open mouth. Mick explains that, “I shut up after that.”

Larry remembers the “ultimate punishment” of being put outside of the Etna house at night if you wouldn’t go to bed. “Grandpa Del[bert] would say that the coyotes were saying ‘boy sandwich.’ I would stand between the screen door and the big door, which was only about four inches in width, just bawling.

Laura said that they “had many happy times. Mom would like to take us kids out to watch Dad feed the cows or do whatever work he was doing. We were very lucky; we had good parents and a loving extended family. Dad would enjoy spending time with us kids when he could.”

Dale would get up pretty early each day although Brad explains that it “always seems early to kids.” Dale would head out to do the chores. Brad explains that they “had everything, chickens, pigs, cows, milk cows, and horses which each individually needs a good part of the day.” While Dale had his own herd of cows, he also would go over and work for his Uncle Mark, and depending on the part of the year, it would be animal care, haying, irrigation, and many other things that help keep ranches operating.

Dale was cautious because of the lifestyle out there. He had seen people get hurt. This overprotection kept his kids safe. Larry said that one time when he was with his dad during haying time, “I remember we had a trailer and skid behind a little Ford tractor. It was fun for me to ride on the skid. Dad would tell me at certain points to get off the skid as it was rough terrain and the skid would bounce all over. “

Larry continues, “One particular time I was on the skid and we came to a ditch. Dad told me to get off the skid but I just stayed on the very back, ready to jump off at a moments notice. Dad stopped the tractor and said, ‘get off the skid.’ So I jumped off. As the skid went over the ditch it flipped over and went completely off the little bridge. It was 10-15 feet down to the water.”

Brad gives a fitting tribute to how Dale’s example influenced Brad, Mick, Larry, and Laura’s growing up years: “By far the greatest [of Dale’s examples] was his constant display of excellent character and fairness with others.  I rarely heard any ‘judgmental’ talk of neighbors, friends or relatives that wasn’t in some way complimentary.  In similar instances to the bobcat story Dale would ‘take charge’ of a bad situation such as getting stuck, blown out tires, distressed livestock, rattlesnakes and he always rose to the occasion.  This definitely taught all of us a little about surviving the ‘struggles of life.’  What a priceless lesson indeed!”

Dale later moved his family to Garland and labored as a factory worker and warehouseman in Garland (U&I Sugar) and Ogden (DDO).  Dale very much enjoyed the ranching lifestyle, caring for livestock, and the out-of-doors.  He was an avid fisherman and hunter and passed on much of this enthusiasm to his children, grandchildren and many others.

Dale LeRoy Warburton passed away on Monday morning December 16, 2002, from causes incident to Alzheimer’s disease and age.

Dale is survived by his wife, Ruth Gleason Warburton, his three sons, Dale Bradford (Debbie), Michael Gleason (Carole), Lawrence “Larry” D (Barbara), his daughter, Laura Warburton Folkman.  Dale was also blessed with 13 grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.

Contributed by Dale’s grandaughter, Emily Warburton Jensen.