Dale J. Erdman, 84, of Goodview, passed away Wednesday, October 18, 2023, at the Lewiston Senior Living, Memory Care, in Lewiston with Dale's sons and wife Sandy of 54 years by his side.
Dale was born in Winona to Leonard and Alice (Jewell) Erdman, June 24, 1939. Living most of his younger life on a farm on Vinegar Hill, Rushford, along with his sister, June Eggers (Robert), Charles City, Iowa. On August 3, 1960, Dale enlisted in the United States Army and was stationed Bussac, France, as an engineer equipment mechanic. Loving to work on the foreign vehicles found in France, Dale returned to the States, continuing his employment as a mechanic and into auto body with foreign car experience.
In 1968 an auto accident put Dale into the Minneapolis VA Hospital for three months. In 1969 Dale met and married Sandra Modjeski Erdman in Rochester, Minn., making their home in Rochester until 1972 moving to Winona with son, Brian Robert Erdman, born June 1970. Later in 1975, they moved to Goodview, the present home, and their second son Bradley (Brad) Lyn Erdman was born, February 1976. Born April 30, 2001, was Emily Erdman, to son Brian Erdman, Dale's little red-hair granddaughter and a special needs girl who touched Grandpa Dale's heart until the day he died.
In 1981, Dale opened his own mechanical and auto body shop by his home, Erdman's Auto Repair, closing in 2018 due to his failing health. Dale so enjoyed and loved to hear and share stories, with some of his customers coming over just to get a piece of his mechanical mind and advice. Being a mechanic, why not enjoy the hobby of stock car racing, car #27, the age Dale started? Racing at many local tracks, winning trophies with Dale always saying trophies are not money! After years of racing Dale's son Brian took over #27. With many of Dale's good friends Dave Gross (Baldy) Dale Prigge and cousin Lyle Erdmann good conversations and good times at the racetracks, at the shop, country and car auctions. Soon those trips to auctions ended, but with the help of Dale's son Brad (the computer guy) Dale soon was buying for self and other rebuilder cars at insurance auto auctions. Sandy never knew what car she was going to be driving and folks loved being able to come to Dale as their mechanic, the “Doctor of Motors.”
Dale loved to drive, and he didn't have many vacations since he thought as a business owner that you can't leave those customers without a mechanic. But traveling to Florida and Pennsylvania to visit family Dale would drive until he got to his destination with drive-thru fast food at the truck stops.
After his heart attack in 2020, Dale did some light mechanical work, but with the second stroke he was home-bound to sit with Sandy (caretaker) and watch some of his favorite TV shows, “NCIS,” “The Price Is Right,” “Motor Trend,” Mecum and Barrett Jackson auctions and some NASCAR Racing, along with a few of Sandy's favorites HGTV shows. But she could never get him to cut sewing threads on aprons or stuff pillows.
With his failing health the second stroke brought on more stages of his vascular dementia and his many mini strokes, seizures along with stages of his kidney failure. The family would like to thank Dr. Jennifer Forsyth, Winona Health Hospice and the Winona Health Hospice Care registered nurses Stephanie and Tracy, along with Lewiston Senior Living, Memory Care staff, and especially Marie F. with all of her kind words and help in Dale's final care.
Dale is preceded in death by his parents. Honoring Dale's wishes, a cremation and a private family service and burial was held, November 1, 2023, at St. Mary's Cemetery, Winona.
Online condolences may be left for Dale's family at www.watkowski-mulyck.com.
Watkowski-Mulyck Funeral Home assisted the family.