With great sadness we share that Dale passed away peacefully on February 21, 2024, with her family by her side. She is lovingly remembered and greatly missed by her husband Richard, her children Glenn (Jess) in Victoria BC; Neil (Alex) in Hertfordshire England; and Janice (Troy Messam) in Ottawa ON, as well as her sister Arden (Bob Irving) in Sidney BC, and her faithful canine companion Ginger. “Nana” was very proud of her grandchildren Henry, Miles, and Fraser (Gibson) and Vivian and Amelia (Messam) and treasured her large extended family of cousins, nieces, and nephews.

Dale was born in Vancouver to Margaret and Donald McAlpine, who moved to Langford when she was a toddler and then Saanich. Dale had a lovely voice and enjoyed singing along with the popular music of Johnny Mathis and The Crewcuts, as she and her sister playfully did the dishes. Trips to visit her “Nanny” at Qualicum Beach as a child were a cherished memory that she spoke of often, and she enjoyed blackberry picking and other harvesting opportunities, even winning a prize for growing and canning beans at the early age of 10yrs. She attended Strawberry Vale school as a youngster, then SJ Willis and Mount View for high school, where she was active in the Future Nurses Club and the Curling Club, for which she was the treasurer. Dale maintained contact with many of her classmates throughout her life and cherished these relationships deeply.

Married to Dick (as he was known) in 1963, Dale took on raising her family with enthusiasm, patience, and great productivity. She was an active volunteer at her children’s schools and flourished as a homemaker by creating an environment full of love, acceptance, and comfort. She had a golden touch in the kitchen with talents that ranged from lovingly making freshly baked bread every Monday so it would be ready to greet her children after school, canning and jam making the vast complement of produce grown in Dick’s Garden, high-quality wine making with a wide range of fruits and berries, and hosting incredible family dinners with extended family. She shared her knowledge with her children and grandchildren, and baking cinnamon buns with Nana became a favoured activity when they came to visit.

Dale and Dick danced brilliantly together, with a particular skill for “The Jitterbug”, which was always entertaining for those who were lucky enough to see them in action. Their partnership was evident as she assisted Dick with his successful contracting business as much as possible, even helping with a few of the builds in the early years and taking courses for accounting so that she could manage the bookkeeping like a pro. As the wife of a dedicated Central Saanich Lions Club member for several decades, Dale was deeply involved in the club’s many efforts to support the local community and her volunteer time helped with the success of activities such as purchasing Christmas sponsorship gifts for families, annual Central Saanich Days, decorating for activities, and supporting many youth-focused programs.

A talented self-taught seamstress, Dale began sewing clothing for her children when they were young and could knit any design imaginable, producing stunning sweaters that reflected the interests of her family. Her skills became even more evident as she took on creating beautiful costumes for her daughter’s dance studio, which she continued long after Janice had moved from Victoria, and because of her talent and innovative designs, Dale went on to work the Butchart Gardens summer stage show in the late 80’s for several years and created the pieces for their 12 Days of Christmas display. Her ability to develop a pattern from any photo garnered her much admiration and she fashioned many unique and impressive creations for extremely satisfied (and often repeat) customers, that included many luxurious wedding and grad dresses.  She made several costumes for the Sidney Town Crier, made items for the Saanich Peninsula Hospital Auxiliary, and was even asked to assist with the costume for Marty the Marmot.

Dale loved many genres of music but inherited a love for classical and opera from her father Donald. Through her connection at Butchart Gardens, Dale began working for Pacific Opera Victoria (POV) in the costume shop, creating exquisite pieces that graced the Royal Theatre for many years. She became a member of I.A.T.S.E to work backstage as a dresser, where she assisted POV as well as many traveling shows, notably Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet, the National Ballet of Canada, and many popular artists…even Prince! With a love for opera, Dale appreciated the ongoing offer of tickets for many years after her tenure at POV, something she was able to share with her sister.

Dale was extremely proud of her 3 kids and made sure that they had the wings to accomplish their individual dreams, despite it taking them further away from her. She quietly supported them in all their efforts and celebrated their unique gifts with gentle wisdom. She was a consistent and sympathetic sounding board that could also deliver necessary motherly advice with a kindness that took the sting out of difficult messaging.  Hearing of her grandchildren’s adventures brought her immense joy, despite the distance, and she eagerly looked forward to every visit from afar. She had a clever, dry sense of humor that was inherited by her kids but was often missed if you weren’t paying attention, and she loved to share stories of her children and grandchildren. She had a close bond with her extended maternal family and took great pleasure in hearing from them and ensuring that everyone kept in touch. Like her grandmother Esther before her, Dale had a gift for making things fun for kids and always thought about how she could entertain the youngest members of the family in a room full of adults.

Dale and Dick continued to live and raise their Glenn, Neil and Janice in the house Dick built in Central Saanich, from shortly after they were married to the present. They saw significant changes in the neighbourhood over the years as farmland became residential and many houses took over the landscape, and Dale saw this as an opportunity to develop relationships with many of the people that came to call the area home. She was a consistent dog walker, frequently seen out with one of the many dogs that the family had over the years, both early in the morning and in the evening, which gave her the opportunity to greet many canine companions and their humans. Much later she was responsible for starting a semi-regular pot-luck Canada Day celebration on their little street, which saw everyone come out on the Gibson front lawn with their special dishes to enjoy the special day together. She could be counted on to help anyone that needed assistance in the area and was a special support to one elderly neighbour after she lost her husband, helping to navigate her life forward by taking her grocery shopping every week, taking her to her appointments, even teaching her how to pay her bills. That was Dale. If someone needed help and she could do it, she would!

Travel was something Dale did with enthusiasm when she could, whether it was annual trips to visit family in Saskatchewan and Northern BC, and Janice in Winnipeg and Ottawa, or more adventurous locations such as New Zealand, Australia, Laos and England with Dick and France, Italy, and Greece with Janice. She had many epic adventures of which she retold amazing and hilarious stories, and usually came back with a new cuisine that she wanted to tackle. She was a fantastic cook so this came easily to her, and her family liked to tease about where she might have the opportunity to go next so that they could enjoy international cuisine right there at home.

Dale was gentle and kind and always remained humble about her many accomplishments, but to everyone she knew she was exceptional. After 10 courageous years of living with Parkinson’s Disease and actively pursuing methods to limit the progression, Dale was also diagnosed with a cruel and debilitating neuropathy in her hands and feet that robbed her of the things she loved to do most, such as sew, knit, bake and walk her dog. Despite this she bravely attempted to stay positive with her loved ones and was witty and selfless in spirit until her very last moments. When asked if she had any words of wisdom she reminded us of something she said often, “be kind to each other”.

Dale’s family wishes to extend their heartfelt thanks to the many nurses, doctors, and social workers of the Victoria General Hospital who cared so attentively for her in her last weeks, as well as the family, friends and neighbours that have provided their generous support over the last few challenging months.

Donations in her memory may be made to the Michael J. Fox Foundation https://www.michaeljfox.org/ or the Kidney Foundation of Canada https://kidney.ca/

A family celebration of life will be held at a later date.

Condolences may be offered to the family below.

McCall Gardens


  • Katarina ”Lollo” Stahl-Flemark

    My condolences to the family.

    As a visiting relative from Sweden in the 90s, my parents and I attended a family reunion at Dale and Dick’s. We had a lovely time, which I remember very well.

  • Sue and Mike Chadwick

    So very sad to hear of Dale’s passing. We have been neighbours for almost 25 years and would see Dale and Nellie and then Ginger on some of their several daily walks regardless of the weather, day and night. She was always upbeat and her dry sense of humour was keen and much appreciated. We so enjoyed Dale’s stories while at the cul-de-sac pot luck gatherings or the concerts with the neighbours. Sincere condolences to everyone.

  • Patricia Reilly

    Sending my sincere condolences to Dale’s family and friends. I met Dale when I was a very green costume designer, and she was the seamstress on our shows. I have never forgotten her kindness and quiet strength, in addition to her wit and wonderful talent.

  • Suzanne Bell

    I was lucky enough to be a chorus member for POV for many years. Dale was so talented and so kind and helpful to us. My thoughts are with the family at this most difficult time.

  • Tom Heemskerk

    My condolences to Dale’s loved ones. I will fondly remember working alongside her backstage at the Royal Theatre.

  • Ian Rye

    We’ll remember Dale as a creative and caring member of the Pacific Opera team, and are grateful for her many contributions to arts and culture across the region and beyond! Sending all our love to her family, with condolences for your loss. She was a gift.

  • George Scott

    On behalf of Dale’s Kin in IATSE 168, the stage Local where she was a loved and valued Member, we wish her family and friends our condolences. Dale was a talented artist in our Wardrobe department, be it in the Pacific Opera Victoria shops, or backstage at the Royal Theatre and McPherson Playhouse. Her charm, care and capacity will be missed.

  • Kathy, Dave & Josie

    We are so sad to lose our lovely Dale! She was kind, talented and modest. Her quiet and succinct comments were always insightful. We loved her dry wit and gentle humour. Most of all, we always knew we were with family when in her company and she will be missed. You are all in our thoughts.

  • Paula FitzGibbon

    I’ve known the Gibson family for 55 years as my parents’ (Ward and Ruth Gammell) home was next to theirs. I have never forgotten Dale’s kindness in offering to sew my high school graduation gown, which turned out beautifully because of her skills as a seamstress. Whenever I baby-sat her three children, she was always considerate and left out a treat for me to enjoy. It was obvious to everyone how much Dale cherished her family and how proud she was of their accomplishments. Dale was a gentle and thoughtful person, who will be missed by all that knew her. My deepest sympathy to you, Dick, and to her children as well as the rest of her family. Dale will live on through your loving memories of her.

  • Joan Anthony

    Such a big loss to your family. The Joy and Love she brought to everyone around her will live on forever.

  • Anna-Marie Laughlin (Bown)

    The remaining Bown family members have wonderful memories of Dale & Dick at Herb & Marie’s little Brown Bown House. As Dale sat quietly listening, in the busy gathering place, she often surprised us with her fabulous sense of humor. She was always so kind & made time to talk to the Bown children. We know the amazing memories of Dale will bring a hug & a smile to everyone lucky enough to have known her. Our thoughts are with all Dale’s family & friends.

  • Claire webb

    Sending my deepest condolences to all

  • Gerard Roxburgh

    My condolences to the family. I have many fond memories of Dale and working backstage with her at the Royal. What a life she led!

  • Rachel Q

    Beautiful tribute to your mother. It sounds like she lived a beautiful life filled with a variety of interests, talents, and so much love for people around her. Sounds like someone I know 😉
    Sending love and strength to you and your family.

  • Carla Lingard (Beddows)

    A remarkable woman and life she lived. We are all blessed to have known her. Sending my heartfelt condolences to the family.

  • Christine Kinghorn

    So sorry to hear of your loss. I have many good memories of working with Dale when I was wardrobe manager for Pacific Opera & the Opening ceremonies of the Commonwealth games. She was a meticulous, talented seamstress & a great support & co-worker. I really valued her assistance & friendship.

  • Trina Alps

    So sorry to hear of the loss of such an amazing and talented woman. My deepest condolences.

  • Suzanne Traversy

    The loss of a mother is like losing the honest friend in your life who always supported and protected you unconditionally.
    Our heartfelt comfort to you and your family for this loss.

  • Cindy Borbridge

    I am so deeply sorry for your loss. Sending my heartfelt condolences to you and your family.

  • Andrea Okonkwo

    Sending much love and heartfelt condolences to everyone.

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