Dale Holyoak

On Jan. 19, 2021, Papa Angel got his wings. Dale Henry Holyoak was born on May 12, 1929, to Jesse Gilbert Holyoak and Mattie Alberta Blackmore Holyoak in Moab. He was one of four children. Dale shared his childhood with Gilbert and Betty Joyce; Floyd Don passed away shortly before Dale was born.

Dale was a true cowboy in every sense of the word. He started helping herd cows for family and neighbors at just 5 years old. He worked for Swanny Kerby as a young teenager and went on the rodeo circuit competing as both a bareback and saddleback rider. Dale was the first man from Grand County to be drafted into the Korean Conflict and honorably served his nation for two years.

The day he returned to Moab, he met Helen Jo Beeson whom he married on August 22, 1953. They had five daughters during their 25 years of marriage. Dale’s life revolved around his family and his jobs. A few years after he married, he moved to Ronan, Montana, to work with his brother Gilbert, and then on to Missoula where they bought a small farm. He returned to the Moab area around 1959. While his children were young, he lived and worked on ranches—one near Bluff, one in Fisher Valley for Musty Taylor, and then for Jim McPherson in Professor Valley which gave his children a playground amongst the beauty of the red rocks, riding horses and playing cowgirls with the Priest and the Nuns standing guard and Castle Rock and the La Sal Mountains in constant view.

Dale was the last of a rare breed: a real-life cowboy, tough, hardworking and extremely talented. He broke horses for extra money and shared his home with many young boys and men that came out to experience life on the ranch.

Around 1964/65, Dale broke his back in a car accident on the river road near Fisher Towers. His life as a cowboy was put on hold while he spent months in the hospital and years recovering. During this period, he moved his family to northern Utah, where he did an internship at JG Read Saddlery, learning the art of saddle making and leatherwork. He became a gifted craftsman and made many beautiful saddles, belts and other leather accessories.

Dale returned to Moab when his daughters were teenagers and worked at Moab Ready Mix until 1977 when he landed his first job for Colorado Macco/TIC. He then traveled the construction circuit for nearly 27 years and lived all over the western United States.

In between jobs Dale spent his time off visiting his daughters and grandchildren and being “Papa Angel,” spoiling every grandchild as much as he could.

When Dale retired from construction he returned to Moab and to doing what he loved: riding horses, herding cows and checking the fences on the La Sal Mountains. It was at this time that he met his “third and ½ daughter,” Doc, in about 1995. Doc was the “doctor” for his animals but became an adopted and beloved member of his family.

Dale retired from cowboying well into his 80s at the behest of his family when he could no longer pull himself up on the saddle. Dale spent his final year living with and being cared for by his daughter, Yordy, and grand-puppy Dempsy.

Dale’s family would like to offer a special thank you to Betty Schocknmyer with Community Nursing Services. We are deeply indebted to Betty for her loving care over the last year of Daddy’s life and especially for being with him when he passed. We also want to thank Andrea Cook, his other caregiver, for the loving care she gave him.

Dale is survived by his sister, Betty Joyce Foote of Kaysville; his daughters, Daleine Martin (Tony) of Sunnyside, Lorrette “Yordy” Eastwood of Moab, Riata “Blondie” Vigil (Tony) of Moab, Jannette “Doc” Woodruff of Moab, Tonya Kim Blackburn (Kevin Tangreen) of Moab, Rickelle “Kelli” Gomez of Reno; his son-in-law, Clemente “Gomer” Gomez of Winnemucca; and his 17 grandchildren, 38 great-grandchildren and numerous beloved grandpuppies.

He was preceded in death by his mother and father, his brothers, his ex-wife, Helen Jo; his granddaughter, Marie “Reedie” Eastwood; and his son-in-law, RD Blackburn. May God bless and keep his soul as he reunites with them in heaven. Soar Daddy! Your horse now has wings.

Funeral services were held on Jan. 23, 2021, with burial at Sunset Memorial Gardens Cemetery. Condolences may be sent to the family at www.spanishvalleymortuary.com.