News obituary: Voice of the community

Published 3:12 pm Saturday, June 14, 2008

Dale Kaderabeck was usually heard before seen, and was known as an icon in the Austin area for his radio-perfect voice.

“He just had that knack for talking in front of people,” his wife, Martha, said.

Dale was born to a Catholic family in Cresco, Iowa in 1941. He had three sisters; a strict father, Edward; and fun-loving mother, Louise.

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After graduating from high school, Dale enlisted in the Air Force, living four years in Paris as an air policeman.

“He said those were the best years,” Martha said. “Born and raised in Iowa and haven’t toured the country much, that was huge.

“He spoke fluently back then,” she said. “We had always planned on going back to Paris.”

After he returned from France, Dale took a job as a radio DJ at KDEC in Decorah, Iowa and then at KAUS radio and the former KMMT television station in Austin. At the time, both were owned by the same company and he was on-air as a DJ and also on TV.

“He did everything live,” Martha explained. “He always said, ‘If you start laughing, you’re done.’”

Dale became the host of a KMMT children’s show, “Captain Atom,” where he wore a helmet and had a robot, “Tobor” (“robot” spelled backward).

“They never taped it because it was all done live,” Martha said.

The day of Dale’s funeral, a daughter discovered what they believe may be a long-lost reel of “Captain Atom,” a show Martha has still never seen. The reel was given to a local DJ, who Martha said may be able to determine if it is audio or video.

Dale hosted the show for several years before venturing into radio sales, and taught business management and sales at the vocational school, now Riverland Community College.

Though Dale’s passion was also announcing, he pursued many other enterprises, including owning Lords Diamond Center and Northland Piano and Organ in the Oak Park Mall. He worked in sales at Larson Siding and Windows and managed Anderson Rochester Memorials, working at the Austin location part-time after he retired.

“It was kind of a joke in town how many jobs he had,” Martha said with a laugh.

Dale and Martha met when she was a student in television and radio at the college and he was an instructor there. Martha was asked to help announce names during commencement. She had to check pronunciation of names in one classroom, where Dale was the teacher. From, there, the relationship just escalated.

The couple dated for three years before marrying in 1985. They have five children: Shelley lives in Sweden; Kimberly, Amanda, Candace and Benjamin are still in Austin; and son Kris died at an early age.

One of Dale’s many interests was announcing for motor sports shows, and he traveled around the country with this part-time gig.

“I bet he was in every state,” Martha said. “And he did that on the side.”

Martha said she believes her husband was so successful at announcing because of his confidence.

“He loved it. He loved being in front of a crowd,” she said. “He had a great radio voice. He had that talent.”

He also announced locally, at stock car races in Kasson, Mason City, Cresco, St. Charles and Deer Creek and for many years at Cedar River Days.

Dale was what some might call the perfect husband. An unwavering romantic, he always made sure his wife of 22 years knew his love for her.

“He was the kind of husband who sent flowers or cards for no reason,” Martha said. “He would send me cards all the time at work. He would always write a phrase in it.”

His favorite gift for Martha was red roses. Dale said even though they were married only 22 years, because they dated three years before they wed, “we made our 25.”

Dale’s gift-giving continued even after his death. He had planned a Christmas present for Martha — an engraved plaque from Anderson Memorials. Knowing he might not make it to the holidays because of his battle with cancer, he decided to surprise her with it on her birthday, May 23.

Dale never made it, passing away May 6. But Anderson Memorials wanted to see Dale’s dream come true, so they managed to obtain a sticky note he had written, and took his signature from the note for the plaque. They even framed the note for Martha.

The plaque, which was given to Martha during a benefit held after his death, said they would “walk hand in hand for all eternity … You are my best friend as I am yours. Love, Dale.”

“It just blew me away. He had passed away and still given me a gift,” Martha said.