In Memoriam: Dale Lear
This was originally written in 2017.
In 1980, just out of college, I had the good fortune to land a programming job at Fair, Isaac and Company in San Rafael, CA. While being introduced to my new co-workers, I heard a name that sounded familiar.
“Haven’t I seen your name in the credits of various Christian music albums as a bass player?” (You never want to go up against me in a game of trivia.)
He coyly and modestly murmured that this might be true. And this is how I met Dale Lear.
Thus began a 13-year working relationship and friendship that I treasure to this day. I sometimes describe Dale as my best friend, but really, Dale was everyone’s best friend. Dale, his brother Paul, my boss Jim Issel and I formed a carpool and had many crazy adventures together.
Dale was bright, creative, imaginative, patient, modest, thoughtful, and hilariously funny. To call him my friend doesn’t really do him justice; he was the person I wanted to be.
Whenever someone would notice the family resemblance between Dale and Paul and ask if they were related, they would break into a carefully rehearsed bit in which they would exclaim, in perfect unison, “Brothers? Do we look like brothers?”
Dale and I shared a number of interests: we were brothers in the Lord, both musicians, and also both interested in developing video games.
Dale and I ended up selling a number of our games, as a rather fun and rewarding after-hours hobby. We traded programming advice and tested each other’s software.
I moved to Minnesota, while Dale moved to Texas. I had hoped to see him at a computer convention that we were both slated to attend a number of months back, but I learned the sad news that he had been struck by cancer for what I believe is the third time and would not be able to come.
Today I got the news that Dale is now in the arms of his heavenly Father. I rejoice and mourn at the same time.
The memory of Dale that I cherish the most is the time we spent playing guitar onstage together during Fair, Isaac’s annual talent show.
I will also never forget the time that we were carpooling together in a rattletrap antique milk delivery van (don’t ask) and discussing a rumor that Bill Gates was the antichrist because the letters of his name somehow added up to 666.
We could have waited to get to work to use a calculator, but Dale would have nothing of it. He had to know now. So he and his brother added it all up in their heads several ways, shouting over the roar of the engine, until they were satisfied that the rumor was false.
Dale was a one-of-a-kind designer original created by God. I will miss him.