Parker, CO, resident Dale Arnold Berndt – loyal husband, father, grandfather, greatgrandfather, patriot, historian, writer and avid cat-lover -- died peacefully on November 10, 2021, at age 85 with his wife of 47 years, Norma Jean, by his side.
Born February 21, 1936, in Denver, Dale grew up an only child in a modest home while learning the value of hard work starting at age 13 with his first “caddie” job at a local supermarket. His love of history also began early, buying his first Roman coin while still in Jr. High and his first antique guns even earlier. Dale’s cravings for a good donut, similarly, can be traced back to pre-pubescent drooling over such concessions at the Public Market.
Dale indulged his life-long dedication to country and truth starting with his decade of service with the Colorado Air National Guard, where he attained Lieutenant ranking and supervised the Air Police. His education included a bachelor’s degree from the University of Colorado focused on Political Science and Psychology before obtaining his Juris Doctorate from the University of Denver. Finally, he could apply his honed deductive reasoning and people-reading skills to his dream job: becoming an FBI agent.
His 23-year career in the Federal Bureau of Investigations started in Washington D.C. and Boston, but he worked coast-to-coast with his specialization in major fraud cases. Even in his retirement, Dale continued his investigative work as a contractor with the FBI and maintained his “Top Secret” clearance until his death.
Outside of his work, Dale was proud to serve as president of the Colorado Gun Collector’s Association. He applied his natural curiosity and love of country to his antique guns and Civil War artillery collections. Each artifact was cherished and earned his devotion to not just the object but also the people behind them. “Captain Flowers” was just one example where hours of research on a gun’s engravings led to the discovery of two 17-year-old cousins who fought in the Civil War – and became the inspiration for Dale’s first novel, “Sunlight to Shadows.” While admittedly “undaunted” by his works remaining unpublished, Dale authored multiple novels, including “Sunlight to Shadows”; “Crossfire,” an Irish mob crime tale set in Boston and inspired by his FBI knowledge; works highlighting Butch Cassidy and Wyatt Earp; and his own early autobiography.
Dale’s constant wit and dry sense of humor served him well in many situations – from interacting with his Rocky Mountain Fiction Writer’s Club and dominating the “tall tales” contest at the gun collectors’ meetings, to unraveling his own children’s fibs with his famous “pumpkin test.” He was also enthusiastic about indulging his curiosity through many hobbies ranging from miniature train dioramas to art appreciation (especially painting and sculpting), to antique shopping and his restoration of a 1936 street rod and a 1928 fire truck. Dale’s knowledge of history was also a perfect adjunct to his spiritual growth, as he often brought a depth of context to share within his couples’ bible study group.
Dale left behind his “yellow rose of Texas” and beloved wife Norma Jean Berndt (DePasqual), with whom he raised five children: Dale Berndt Jr., Dynelle Jennings-Grenz, Monty Langston, Mark Langston, and Rachel Langston. Dale will forever be loved and remembered, too, by his grandchildren: Lisa DuRan, Trisha Jennings, Landon Langston and Kennedy Langston, and his great-grandson, Tyson DuRan. Dale was preceded in death by his first wife, Alyce Elyce “Cookie” Berndt (Pankoff), in 1971; his father, Emil F. Berndt, and his mother, Dorothy Arnold Berndt. Also of special honor were Dale’s beloved cats: Ming, BaBa, Ginny, Bonnie and Clyde, who all preceded him in death.
Dale’s wishes were for no fuss or funeral. The family will celebrate his freedom in Christ Jesus with a small, intimate gathering to share their personal memories of him. They would love to hear your favorite recollections of Dale and have you share your stories via his memorial web page and watch his tribute video at https://youtu.be/DVrv43Id300. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you consider supporting Donor Alliance, https://www.donoralliance.org/contribute/ , to whom Dale proudly donated himself in honor of the multiple ways his family was blessed by organ and tissue donations.