ARCADIA — Dale D. “Duke” Coons, 80, of Arcadia passed away on Friday, April 12, 2019, at the CHI Good Samaritan Health System in Kearney.
Mr. Coon’s wishes were to be cremated. A Celebration of Life will be held at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday at the United Methodist Church in Arcadia. The Rev. Jeff D. Hale will officiate. On behalf of Dale Coons, the family requests that you dress in Husker Red or your favorite sports team attire. Memorials are suggested to the family’s choice. Ord Memorial Chapel is in charge of arrangements.
Dale Dean (Duke) Coons was born Oct. 6, 1938, in Arcadia to Gretta Mae (Lee) Coons and Marvin Dean Coons. As a young boy, Dale spent a lot of time with his immediate and extended family and friends honing his skills as an expert card player, dedicated athlete, sports enthusiast and fun-loving kid. Spending time with his brother, cousins and friends cemented Dale’s appreciation for being a member of a team.
He started school in Arcadia for a few years before being enrolled in the Eastside School in Lee Park, northeast of Arcadia. The love of friendly competition came early in Dale’s life. He looked forward to participating in the springtime rivalry baseball game between the Eastside and Westside schools.
His time in the Arcadia school system is where he met many lifelong friends that he would work for, coach with and test emerging sports equipment. In high school, Coach Vannier ordered two high dome helmets; his two test pilots were Dale Coons and longtime friend, Mert Sell. The helmets must have enhanced at least one player’s ability as the Arcadia football team went undefeated in the 1955 season.
In 1956, Dale graduated from Arcadia High School and went on to play football at Hastings College. Hastings College is where Dale started his knack for coaching when he taught Tom Osborne the game of Hucklebuck.
From Hastings College, he made his way to the Sandhills of Nebraska, where he joined a whole new bunch of sports enthusiasts to satisfy his deep need to play ball. Doing ranch work and playing sports led to the meeting and marriage to Bonnie Willey and later a daughter, Anita Jan.
Dale held positions in Kansas before returning to Arcadia. When he returned to Arcadia he once again joined forces with longtime friend Mert to work on his farm. As charming as Mert can be, he wasn’t as exciting as spending time with Dianne Gould Rickerson. Dale and Dianne were married on April 20, 1972, and built a loving family with daughter Donita Rae, son Michael Shane and son Rocky Dean.
The years Dale and Dianne spent together were always exciting and ever-changing. They proved to be a strong partnership with their efforts in business ventures, fighting cuts and scrapes as well as serious illness, being loving and approachable parents to their kids.
Dale never met a stranger as long as they enjoyed playing, appreciating sports or commenting on an athlete’s skill. As much as he loved playing sports, he received just as much joy from being a coach and developing skills of any kid that was open to mentorship. A true sportsman, he would always take time to compliment an exceptional play or strategic move, even if his team lost as a result of the perfect play.
Over the decades, Dale looked forward to opening week of pheasant season with his hunting crew. As the years went by, less hunting and more story telling became the norm.
Survivors include his wife, Dianne, of Arcadia; two daughters and a son-in-law, Donita and Al Hagemeier of Burwell and Jan Coons of Wichita, Kan.; two sons, Mike Rickerson and his significant other, Caryl VanSlyke of Arcadia, and Rocky and Jana Coons of Sargent; four grandchildren, Tanner Balfour and his wife, Ashtin; and Bailey, Colby and Cooper Coons; and many loving stepgrandchildren and stepgreat-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his parents; and a brother, Dickie Coons.