Dale '80 was a gentle 'Hulk'

by Richard Lazarus | 11/5/01 6:00am

(Editor's note: This is the fifth in a series of articles profiling the Dartmouth victims of the Sept. 11 tragedy)

Brian "Hulk" Dale '80 Tuck '81 was too gentle for his nickname.

Intelligent, well-spoken and diligent, Dale, 43, was given that nickname because of a football-player bulk that almost contradicted his gentlemanly nature.

"I would describe Brian as very good friend, someone that I enjoyed being around and having the family around, a great sense of humor -- a big, powerful, physically intimidating-looking guy with a heart of gold, a lot of compassion and a good sense of right and wrong," said Al Johnson '78.

"I didn't know anybody who didn't like Brian," added Merle Adelman '80, who worked with Dale in Thayer dining hall.

Friends of Dale's from the now-defunct Harold Parmington Foundation fraternity also describe a diligent worker and compassionate leader.

"He was very intense, very driven -- always in a positive way," said Bob LaFlam '80.

Dave Halpert '79 described Dale, "He was big, clearly a football player, but a very smart guy, a leader. He was clearly going to be one of the officers of the house eventually."

Dale became President of his house.

Mike Francis '80 described Dale's leadership style: "When he ran the house meetings there were things were coming up, and with 50 to 60 guys there's an element of crowd control. The friendships of the people meant a lot to him, and they meant a lot more than the things he had to deal with. He thought it was more important that the people were brothers than that the petty issues would get in the way."

"He had a lot of class," Francis continued. He described a toast Dale gave at Francis' wedding, where Dale was the best man.

Comparing the wedding to Princess Diana's, Dale held the wedding party captive for nearly half an hour, and had obviously prepared extensively. Francis said, "He felt a duty or responsibility to fulfill his role as best man and that's how he did it -- with class."

Dale was valedictorian of the class of 1976 at Norwin High School in Irwin, Pennsylvania and was a member of the football team.

Dale went to Dartmouth on a 3-2 program with Tuck business school. Other members of his house remembered him studying hard, essentially finishing as an undergraduate the same year he started at Tuck as a graduate student.

He then worked at Price Waterhouse in Washington, DC doing investment work and earned his CPA. He left there to go to the University of Michigan and earned a law degree. Afterwards, he started his own New York-based business with other Tuck graduates, Blue Capital Management. He married his wife, Luanne Bailey, around the same time, in 1997.

It's striking how similar descriptions of Dale are from those who knew him at different times in his life. "He did not really change over the years," said Johnson, who knew Dale in his freshman year and worked with him at Price-Waterhouse.

He also always valued his family. Johnson said "I remember times Brian left DC to drive overnight to see family or someone's birthday, and then drove overnight to come back.

"He was the type of guy who met his commitments no matter what they were and who they were for."

This continued when Dale started his own family, an exciting time in his life, when he had also helped start a business, said Francis. "He always smiled when he talked about his family. He had a sense of pride."

Dale had three children, three and a half year Jacob and 18-month-old twins Rachel and Russell.

Dale was meant to fly out of Boston to Los Angeles for a business trip on Sept. 10, but after learning that he would be delayed and would have to spend the night in Boston, elected to stay in Boston instead.

He flew out of Boston of American Airlines flight 11 for Los Angeles, the plane that crashed in to the first World Trade Center tower. Because of the delay, his family believed he was already in Los Angeles.

Dale's company, Blue Capital Management, has established a scholarship fund for his children. An address for donations is available online at http://www.thehalperts.com/hpf/index.htm.

"I'm sure you'd be amazed at the lives that he touched all across the country," said LaFlam.

Mike Francis described his reactions to his friend's death. "There's a certain anger that's built up that's difficult to control.

"He was a great guy that a lot of people considered a good friend and a lot of people miss him, starting with his wife and kids."

Al Johnson said "I miss him. He's hard to replace. We'll do what we can to make sure his children know that."