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Eldon T. Dahl, Jr.  '54


No. 19703February 11, 1931 - December 19, 2004         

Died: St. Paul, MN

Interred: Resurrection Cemetery, St. Paul, MN


Eldon Theodore “Bud" Dahl Jr. was born on Feb 11, 1931, in Baltimore, MD, to Eldon and Edna Mae Dahl. Early on his parents concluded that one “Eldon” in the family was enough and settled on the nickname “Bud.” And it was “Bud” for the rest of his life, including his years at West Point and in the Army.


Bud grew up in Boone, IA, and was a good athlete at Boone High School, excelling in football and swimming. Taking after his mother, who was a champion swimmer, he set statewide swim records (which have since been broken). Active in Scouting, he earned Eagle Scout rating. In short, Bud was the All-American boy. After high school, he attended the University of Iowa for one year before receiving an appointment to the United States Military Academy from Iowa Senator James Tolliver.


In addition to the scholastic load, his cadet years were filled with numerous activities. He was a member of the varsity swim team, earning his numerals and Corps monogram, an Honor Committee representative, and a Cadet Chapel Acolyte. As a First Classman he was selected as the Brigade Supply Officer, reflecting the esteem in which Tactical Officers and classmates held him. We can’t recall anyone having a negative thought of the rugged, blond-headed Midwesterner. He graduated in the top quarter of the Class of 1954 and was commissioned in the Corps of Engineers.


He returned to Iowa for graduation leave and there met the girl, Emily Jane Melady of St. Paul, MN, who would become his future wife. After his Officer Course at Engineer School, he was posted to Germany. In those post-war years there was much engineering work to be done, and Bud was busy overseeing design and construction of bridges. Jane visited Bud in Germany while she was touring Europe after her own graduation. Bud proposed marriage; Jane accepted, and they were married on Jun 29, 1957, in St. Paul, MN. Bud left the service in 1957 and began his civilian employment as a project engineer with the 3M Company in St. Paul. Later, he joined his father-in-law at the Fuel Oil Service Company. Over the succeeding years, Jane and Bud had four children: Victoria, Stephen, Angela, and Christina. He became a tennis enthusiast and was active in community a airs, including the Rotary Club and the Serra Club. In 2002 Jane, his wife of 46 years, died, and Bud was forlorn. Despite this, he was immersed in his family, his children, his grandchildren, and his brother Bob.


In 2004, although visibly fragile, Bud, accompanied by his classmate Jerry Lodge, returned to West Point for our class 50th Reunion where he seemed surprised and pleased at the classmates who remembered him well, and he renewed old relationships. He knew he was among friends. Seven months later he passed on and, after services at Assumption Parish, was interred at  Resurrection Cemetery in St. Paul. He is survived by his four children, grandchildren, and his brother. We all remember Bud Dahl—ramrod straight, morally and physically


A steadfast, determined spirit that few can equal, an extremely even temper, and a willing friendliness personify Bud. Athletic, personable, and intelligent, he excelled in all endeavors which appealed to his high ideals. His own assurance makes us realize his future can bring naught but success.

—1954 Howitzer


Originally published in TAPS, Summer 2013

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