Cover photo for Dale E. Saffer's Obituary
Dale E. Saffer Profile Photo

Dale E. Saffer

March 1, 1943 — May 23, 2024

Dale E. Saffer

 

 

Dale Earl Saffer was born on March 1, 1943, in Flagler, Colorado, to Dale Magill Saffer and Mildred Eloise (Coulson) Saffer. The family lived 9 miles north and 1 mile west of Arriba, Colorado. The night before his birth, a heavy snowstorm made travel difficult. Bob Coulson, who worked for Dale and Mildred, had to pull their car onto the road with a team of horses. With Dale Magill Saffer having a broken leg, Bob insisted on accompanying the couple to the hospital. They left the horses tied to a concrete structure 1.5 miles south of Bethel Church. Thus began Earl's entry into an eventful life.

 

From an early age, Earl was actively involved in farming and participated in numerous school, community, and church activities. He was a member of 4-H and Christian Endeavor, played football, basketball, and baseball, and was also part of the school band. Earl continued his education beyond high school, earning a Bachelor of Science in Science and Education from McPherson College and a Master’s in Education from Drake University.   

 

Earl had a strong faith, which he passed on to future generations. He believed in education, service, and giving back to the community, and he lived out these beliefs throughout his life. After graduating from college, he and his wife Mary Ann joined Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS), where they worked on an inner-city project providing education and social services in South Bend, Indiana. Following this, Earl joined Teacher Corp in Des Moines, Iowa, working with youth and teachers in poverty-stricken schools, eventually becoming a leader in the program.

 

After the birth of their son Kevin, Earl and Mary Ann decided to move back to Colorado to be closer to family. Their daughter Michelle was born shortly after their move to Colorado Springs. Earl was hired as a middle school science teacher and a Community Schools Coordinator, roles he held for seven years.

 

Earl's love for his family was unwavering.  He was constantly planning trips and outings, always prioritizing 'showing up' and actively being there for his kids and grandkids.   He organized multiple trips to the mountains where the kids and grandkids could experience the joy of hiking through brush and fishing for brookie trout.  He was also the planner of larger trips to places like Hawaii, Yellowstone, and Washington, DC, which included the entire family. His motivation was to create experiences that brought his family together, and he always worked to be an example of living a life in service of others.    

 

At the age of 27, Earl was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, a condition that would test his resilience for the rest of his life, but he refused to be defined by it. Despite the pain and the numerous experimental treatments, medications, and surgeries, he rarely complained. His unwavering strength and determination were an inspiration to all who knew him. When the opportunity arose to return to farming in Arriba, the entire family was thrilled, as it allowed Earl to return to his roots.

 

In addition to farming, Earl strove to positively impact the local community. He served on the Arriba-Flagler Consolidated School Board for several years and was a member of the Flagler Cooperative Association Board. He held many leadership positions in organizations like the Lions Club and was deeply involved with the Bethel Church of the Brethren. Earl's positive attitude and eagerness to help others were a testament to his well-lived life, inspiring those around him to do the same.

 

He had a profound love for history and found immense joy in uncovering the stories of those who came before him. Earl made several trips back East to trace the migration of the Saffer family, immersing himself in the past to connect with his heritage. His passion for history extended to the unique stories of the places where the family vacationed, as he delved beneath the surface to understand the rich context of each location. This deep curiosity and dedication to understanding history added another layer to his vibrant and inquisitive life.

 

Earl passed away peacefully at the Lincoln Health Care Center on May 23, 2024, and a celebration of life will be held at the Bethel Community Center on June 1 at 10:30 am.

 

He is survived by his wife, Mary Ann (Bryant) Saffer; his son, Kevin, and wife Erika (Kitzel) Saffer; his daughter, Michelle, and husband Curvin Martin; his grandchildren, Nathan and Kendyl Saffer, Carson, Clayton, and Collin Martin; his foster daughter Jo (Schell) Rose; his brother, Dean, and wife Donna (Voumard) Saffer; his sister, Bette Jo (Saffer), and husband Lee Fisher; and numerous nieces and nephews.

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Past Services

Visitation

Saturday, June 1, 2024

9:30 - 10:30 am (Mountain time)

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Funeral Service

Saturday, June 1, 2024

10:30 - 11:30 am (Mountain time)

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Interment

Saturday, June 1, 2024

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