We are deeply sorry for your loss - the staff at Columbia Mortuary
Eldwin Dale Heely, 76, passed away unexpectedly and peacefully on Saturday, June 25th, 2022, at his home in Columbia Falls, Montana.
Known as Dale to his friends and as "Buddy" to his family, Dale was born on November 18, 1945, in Portsmouth, Virginia. Dale graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School, class of 63, as the captain of his football team. He entered the United States Naval Academy in 1963 and graduated June 7, 1967. He was commissioned into the United States Marine Corp and completed Officer Candidate School at Quantico, Virginia. He was admitted to the Marine Aviation program and earned coveted flight wings from both Navy and Air Force. He flew the F-4 Phantom, the most elite and lethal fighter aircraft of its day. Dale's lifelong dream of becoming a fighter pilot was realized.
Dale flew 200 combat missions in Vietnam and was awarded 12 air medals at that time. He was also designated a combat divsion leader and air combat instructor in the Phantom. Dale joined the first Marine Harrier squadron and learned vertical takeoff. Dale was involved in developing and implementing first time uses of the Harrier in various tactical applications. He participated in air shows all over the country demonstrating this unique aircraft. When eventually assigned a desk job with minimal flight time, Dale was honorably discharged from the Marines and entered the ranks of civillians, his warrior days behind him.
For the next 25 years, Dale worked in the security industry where he managed security installation in a number of high profile projects, including the San Diego airport, the Goodwill Games, Hydroelectric dams and others.
Dale is survived by his wife, Joy, who has shared a Montana home with him for 22 years. He is preceded in death by his parents; Dale Horstman Heely and Isobel Boustead Heely. He is survived by two children from his first marriage to Frances Kavarova Heely; Dale Thomas Heely (Elizabeth) and Tanya Andrea Heely. He has 2 beloved grandchildren, Miles Thomas Heely and Blythe Josephine Heely. In addition he is survived by three brothers, Robert Alan Heely (Lush); James Evan Heely (Judi); Jonathan Blake Heely (Lauri) and his sister Susan May Heely. He is also survived by many wonderful cousins, nieces and nephews.
In his retirement years, Dale was happiest in the beautiful country around his home in Montana, where he enjoyed all of nature's wonders. The family will partake in a celebration of his life at a later time. Dale's cremains will be scattered in a quiet spot of his choosing.
To send online condolences, please visit www.columbiamortuary.com