Dale H. Hultengren (T-15)

March 11, 1945 – Feb 14, 2017

Dale almost made it to the 50th reunion – he was so looking forward to it and we had planned a road trip around the Santa Monica trip.  But his relentlessly progressing COPD took him too soon.  I had hoped for at least two more years but it was not to be. We made our last trip to Turkey two years ago this month.  Dale never quite came to terms with that being his last trip even though I had clearly told everyone that we would not be back.  He so loved Turkey.  It was his first true love and it was a lifelong romance.  Because he had a Turkish roommate during his time in Adana, he had connections that have extended into the third generation.  Once he retired, Dale went to Turkey almost every year and spent his time with Giyasettin and G’s family – two daughters, two sons-in-law and 4 granddaughters.  In 2006 we managed to convince G to come for a visit with the oldest granddaughter.  They stayed with us almost 2 months.  On our 2010 trip, we suggested that the second granddaughter come to see us at some unspecified future date.  Then we left for Adana and when we returned, plans were underway for her to come that summer.  She turned 10 while she was here.  Two years later she returned with granddaughter #3.  She calls Dale her Grandpa 3.

Dale immersed himself in Turkey.  He studied at the UW Graduate Near East Dept. for two years after he returned from the Peace Corps, even studying Ottoman.  We almost went to the Peace Corps in Afghanistan and in the summer of 1972 Dale took a job teaching at the University of Mashad in NE Iran.  I never made it there.  Dale decided it was too conservative to live comfortably for 2 years and left the country before I could join him.

Our home is furnished with Turkish memorabilia – carpets, towels, travel posters, photos, books, copper, Kahtaya ware, tavla sets and 10 meters of Gaziantep cloth that I am still trying to decide how to use.  Dale couldn’t make a living as a Turkophile in the Pacific Northwest (and no one ever leaves here) so he eventually followed me into the UW MBA program and became a banker.  He worked as a bank credit analyst for over 20 years and seemed to enjoy it.  It was not Turkey, but it would do.

We have two sons whom we have raised to be citizens of the world.  We have hosted 6 AFS exchange students – 3 Germans, 1 Italian, a Hungarian and a Turk.  We also did many short term hostings – the most memorable during the Goodwill Games in Seattle when we hosted the Training Director of the Moscow Komsomol who became a very good friend.  And Dale’s Persian roommate from his graduate studies at UW returned many times, later with his family to teach at the UW while on Sabbatical. He always stayed with us when he came alone.  One day when the boys were young, and we had some visitors whom we had not seen for a long time, after they had left our older son asked: “Mom where are those people from?”   Mom’s response:  They live on Capitol Hill”.  Not the answer he was looking for.  “No, where in the world are they from.  All the people we know are from somewhere else in the world.”.  You get the picture.  We continued to try to live up to that assessment.  In the summer of 1992, we took the boys to Turkey for 6 weeks.  It was the trip of a lifetime.  Each of them eventually became AFS students – the older to Sweden, the younger to Germany.  Unfortunately, neither of them could be convinced to go to Turkey.

Dale had many interests.  He became a serious gardener and our yard is testament to that passion.  In retirement, he took up bridge again, was treasurer for the local AFS chapter and had recently begun to teach himself French.  He never gave up on the idea that he would have just one more trip to look forward to. Oh, that it could have been so.
                     — Ruth Hultengren (March 14, 2017)

Association of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers and Friends of Turkey