Robert S. Dale was born to Eliel and Julia Stickney Dale in 1917 in Carthage. He attended local schools, graduating from Carthage High School in 1935, then attended the University of Missouri – Columbia. He was active in Sigma Nu fraternity and was chosen a member of QEBH and Blue Key honor societies. He was the business manager of the university yearbook, active in ROTC and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant of Infantry in the Army Reserves. He graduated with a B.A. in business administration.
After graduation he worked in Kansas City before accepting a commission in the 203rd Coast artillery of the Missouri National Guard and in the aftermath of the attack on Pearl Harbor, spent time on the west coast, then in Alaska at both Cold Bay and Amchitka Island during World War II. After the war, then Major Dale returned to Carthage and became associated with his father in The Carthage Press, where he became Editor and Publisher, before selling the newspaper in 1976. He remained active in military affairs throughout his business career, forming the first post war National Guard unit active in Missouri. In 1962 he received the rank of Brigadier General and was one of only five persons in the history of Jasper County to achieve general officer status in the armed services.
He commanded his unit in 1968 when it quelled the rioting in Kansas City in the wake of Martin Luther King’s assassination, commanded the honor guard for President Harry Truman when he observed the 60th anniversary of Camp Clark in Neosho, and commanded the troops in Carthage when Hercules Powder Plant exploded. He retired from active National Guard duty in 1969, after 30 years of distinguished service, having received the Meritorious Service Medal.
Gen. Dale was extremely involved in community leadership and improvement. He was a Rotarian and president of Carthage Chamber of Commerce. He created the Maple Leaf Festival, and was its first chairman. He was ardent about community support of restoration and preservation and served on many local boards, including Carthage Historic Preservation, Carthage baseball, Carthage YMCA, Boy Scouts, and was a long time member of the Missouri State Historical Society. He was president of Missouri Associated Press Dailies, Missouri Associated Press Publishers, Ozarka Agriculture and Industrial Corp. He was a member of Grace Episcopal Church. In 1940 he had married Alice Maughs in Columbia and they raised three daughters. A son died i 1963 in a swimming accident. Gen. Dale died February 22, 1997 and was described at the time as “a strong, true leader”.