Site Navigation Menu Navigation
X Close

Rena L. (Harp) "Mom" Dale

March 2, 1931 - February 26, 2018

Rena, the daughter of Harold and Hallie (Ralston) Harp, was born on March 2nd, 1931 in LeMars, Colorado. She move to Salem, Oregon as a young child. She attended Salem schools and graduated from Chemeketa Community College, in 1977 with an Associates of Arts degree.

On February 14th, 1953, Rena was united in marriage with Dewey Donald Dale. They made their home in Salem. Rena was instrumental in bringing “Head Start program” to Salem schools. She enjoyed being a lunch lady for many years in the Salem area. Rena loved working at Unlimited where she helped rehabilitate past offenders for over 40 years and later retired at age 80. She was a fan of the Dallas Cowboys. Rena like doing crossword puzzles, reading, visiting with others and watching movies. Rena enjoyed her grandchildren and great grandchildren visits to see her as well.

Rena is survived by her daughters, Nancy (John) Clayton of Salem; Linda Kilgore of Newton, Iowa; Zoe (Jeff) Weekly of Keizer; grandchildren, Teri Smith, Amber (James) Hutchinson, Sarah (Jason) Kilgore-Doland, Sadie Davis, Jared (Rachel) Weekly, Jackie (Steven) Tibbot, Jacob (Brianna) Weekly; her many great-grandchildren; siblings, Shirley (Monty) Montes, Ron (Linda) Harp, Richard (Rosalie) Harp; and many nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents; siblings, Norma Jacobsen, Patricia Perry, Burt Harp, Dale Harp, Eugene Harp, Neal Harp (a sibling in infancy); son, Mitchell Dale; daughter, Susan Salter; grandson, Shaun Smith.

A celebration of life will be Friday, March 2nd at 3:00 pm at Salem Evangelical Church 455 Locust St NE, Salem, OR.

Sign The Guest Book

Add your condolences, memories, photo, or prayers in the area below. Thank you for sharing.

After submitting your guest book entry, it will undergo a brief review by the Virgil T. Golden staff to ensure that it's not spam and it's appropriate for the context of this obituary. Once this review is complete, your obituary will be posted publicly on this page.

Guest Book Entries

Love you Mama, you taught me to be strong courageous and kind rest in peace with the rest of your family and friends in heaven.

So sorry Rena watched my boys grow up she will be greatly missed I remember the boys called her movie lady as she would let them check out movies they loved that and her much love Shelly

Aunt Rena, you always gave me the best advice. I have done my best to follow the most important one, which is to work hard and always be honest with myself. I am so very blessed to have had you as my paragon of life. I have been blessed to have had you with me through all of the major events in my life; the birth of my three of my children, my graduation from college, and when I married the love of my life. Brett and I are thankful we listened to God when he directed us to celebrate you and your birthday at our wedding reception 22 years ago (March 2, 1996). I will always cherish the silver heart Navy compact with our name on the back; it is my most prized possession. My heart hurts with not having you in my life but I know you are in heaven with no pain and happy. I know you are giving hugs to all of our family in heaven. Please give Melissa, Mark and Fred hugs from me.

My heart hurts with your passing, I am not ready for you to go but I know I would never have been ready. Heaven needed my ornery Angel and to take away off of your pain. I can see you giving hugs to all of our family in heaven. Please give hugs to Melissa and Mark Schlotthauer; and Fred Magenheimer from Brett and me. As your name sake, I pray I can represent our name and be half the woman you are.

Sending you my love, Rena Mary Montes-Sawyer

Missing you and hoping that you keep heaven in control with all your sassiness grandma. We love you !!

I will miss all the Skip-bo that we used to play. A great lady with a big heart. Love you.

I lost my words at the service, but wanted to share what I intended to say. The Grandma I grew up with always had a cigarette burning. She loved bawdy humor and seemed to revel in saying and doing things that skirted the line in terms of what was appropriate. She let us break the rules, encouraged us to be just a little more defiant. She told tall tales and I never knew what was true. She loved just being with us though. As I got older I saw another side. I saw a woman who was more insecure than she'd ever let on. She wanted people to love her and spend time with her, but would not change herself, or ask for their affection to achieve that. She went above and beyond for others, and although she'd never ask them too, seemed hurt when they didn't reciprocate. I learned about her past and the troubled relationships she'd had while she raised her children in poverty. I never told her, but I struggled to accept her past for a long time and reconcile that to the Grandma I knew. I had the world figured out. As an adult I entered the same field of work as my grandmother. I learned why she lived in poverty despite her degree and years in the field. I saw a Grandma who accepted others regardless of their faults. She didn't approach others with the goal of fixing them or changing them, but rather accepted and loved them as they were, even if it destroyed them. I got to know a complex woman who defied my ability to categorize or analyze her. She was a product of all that was wrong and right in the world. My grandma lived a hard life. She made bad decisions, but lived with the consequences. She loved without conditions and cared for everyone. The woman I got to know towards the end didn't express religious or political opinions. She refused to let others and their beliefs define her or who she was. As much as she was a great and stubborn woman who lived beyond the years her doctors gave her; she was also frail, broken, and imperfect. I regret that I never knew more about my grandmother and the decisions and events that shaped her, but with the white lies and half truths it was hard to know more. But despite my regrets I knew the Grandma that she wanted me to know. Stubborn, opinionated, with a cigarette in one hand, and flipping you the bird with the other. She was a model of caring and acceptance. She was a person who could take a blow and still love the person who gave it to her. The only time she knowingly showed weakness to me was when she lost her job at 80, the thing that gave her purpose. I'm sharing this to let everyone know she wasn't perfect. I don't defend the decisions she made. I do love her and embrace her though as everyone in her life did. Becaise despite everything she was unapologetically who she was, and who she was was a stubborn, caring, beautiful person.

I'm so grateful for your kindness, thoughtfulness, and your sense of humor. You were a great role model to me in being an independent woman (like your Aunt Frankie). You taught me that that there is joy in finding hope in hopeless situations. My Social Work career was influenced by your tireless efforts to improve the lives of others. I love you Aunt Rena.