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302-478-7100 Wilmington & Hockessin, DE

Dale Edward Wolf

Dale Edward Wolf was born on September 6, 1924 in Kearney, NE, and lived there on the family farm.  Educated in a one-room schoolhouse, he started college at the age of 15. He married Clarice Marshall on New Year’s Eve, 1945, while still recuperating from injuries sustained as an Army forward observer in the Battle of Okinawa during World War II. He received both a Purple Heart and Bronze Star.

With a B.S. from the University of Nebraska, Dale went to Rutgers University, where he received the nation’s first Ph.D. in weed science and co-authored the first textbook in the field.  After teaching at Rutgers for a year, he was hired by E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Co.  During his 38 years with DuPont, Dale moved from research chemist to Group Vice-President of Agriculture Products and Chairman of the Board for Pharmaceuticals. His leadership continued in his work as Delaware’s Director of Economic Development and Lt. Governor, as Governor of Delaware for a short time, and as Vice-Chairman of WSFS. In 2019, the University of Delaware awarded Dale an honorary Doctor of Laws degree, recognizing him as a “pioneering researcher,” “conscientious citizen,” “respected businessman,” and “caring community leader.”

He retired many times and remained engaged in community issues until his death. He helped start SURJ: Stand Up for What’s Right and Just, which worked to end mandatory-minimum sentencing, increase opportunities for treatment rather than incarceration for drug offenses, and end the death penalty in Delaware. Both he and Clarice worked with adults and young people to increase literacy and educational opportunities. They volunteered with countless non-profits including Girls, Inc., Creative Grandparenting, Sojourners, and the University of Delaware.

Dale’s most important accomplishment was living out a large love for so many – he made everyone feel important and valued, whether they were field workers or professors, waitresses or politicians, children or CEOs. He was a great believer in people and freely offered wise counsel and kind mentoring, connecting countless people with jobs, support, resources, affirmation and community.

Dale Wolf was persistently positive and consistently generous. He fell in love with Clarice when he was fifteen years old, a freshman in college, and loved her fiercely during their almost 78 years together, including the 72 years they were married. Dale was with Clarice until the moment she died on February 23, 2018, and insisted that she was the best thing that ever happened to him. “Because of Clarice, I am a happy man and have been all these years.” Their four children, thirteen grandchildren and ten great grandchildren are deeply grateful for their relentless loving.  Dale often remarked: “Family is the most important gift of all,” though he widened the definition of family way beyond biological.

We encourage you to celebrate the life and witness of Dale Wolf by enjoying the sunset, laughing with children, listening to someone who feels alone, investing in greenways and small farms, literacy programs and college scholarships, working for reform of the criminal legal system and support for those returning from prison, opening your hand and heart to those who are hurting. If you would like to make a tax deductible gift to the Wolf Foundation, whose work includes much of that listed above, please send a check made out to the Wolf Foundation, c/o Jim Wolf, 4004 Hillingham Circle, Chadds Ford, PA, 19317.

Funeral Services

Due to the pandemic, a communal celebration of Dale Wolf’s life will be held at a later date.


    Sandra Bihary-Waltz writes,
    I was so sorry to read of the passing of Governors Wolf. He was a fine man and truly a gentle-man. I knew him briefly through his work with my husband and he always had a kind heart and word. The world is missing a great man and he will be truly missed
    03/24/2021 09:04 am
    Chris Kelly writes,
    I had the pleasure of getting to know Dale and Clarice (and Dale's wonderful assistant, Eleanor Cole) in 1988 when he was running for Lt. Governor. I was involved with the campaign of another Republican candidate that year and we would cross paths with the Wolfs with some frequency. Dale was an outstanding person - smart, talented and always approachable. He was in many ways the model of the "citizen politician." We could use more like him today. CK
    03/24/2021 11:22 am
    Mary Ball and John Morton writes,
    We have many wonderful memories of Dale and Clarice over these past 30 years. We got to know them through volunteer endeavors and appreciated their enthusiasm and interest in many things, including the State of Virginia. We send our condolences to the Wolf family. Mary Ball and John Morton p
    03/24/2021 11:59 am
    Mary Ball and John Morton writes,
    We have many wonderful memories of Dale and Clarice over these past 30 years. We got to know them through volunteer endeavors and appreciated their enthusiasm and interest in many things, including the State of Virginia. We send our condolences to the Wolf family. Mary Ball and John Morton
    03/24/2021 12:03 pm
    Bonnie Damico writes,
    Sam and Briana and family. I am so sorry for the loss of your Grandfather. I didn’t know him but I was in Awe of his obituary. He must have been an amazing man. He will be missed but he will be reunited with his wife. My love and prayers are with you and the family. With Sympathy Auntie Bonnie
    03/24/2021 10:05 pm
    Joanne Leigh lit a candle and writes,
    To Dr. Wolf's Family Please accept my heartfelt condolences. I had the distinct honor and pleasure of meeting both Dale and Clarice when I came to work in Agricultural Chemicals. I was secretary to Boyd Burton at the time. Dr. Wolf was endeared by so many throughout his years at DuPont. He knew everyone's name and a little about their families. He was a kind and generous gentleman. He had a wonderful voice that made you smile whenever he spoke to you. His generosity and caring for those in need was well known by many. Dale made a difference in the lives he touched. We all knew how much he loved Clarice and their family. Dale will be remembered forever in the lives he touched. I am happy to be one of those. God Bless You Joanne Leigh
    03/25/2021 08:52 am
    Dale Wolf was always supportive of international efforts to connect people around the world! We in PEOPLE TO PEOPLE INTERNATIONAL --DELAWARE CHAPTER offer our condolences to the Wolf family.
    03/26/2021 07:49 am
    Loretta Walsh lit a candle and writes,
    I had the privilege of working with Dale and Clarise from his running for Lt. Governor through the next ten plus years. I never met anyone who didn’t like them. They were at the forefront on so many issues that were just common sense like addiction and the death penalty. I thank your entire family for sharing your parents with so many. Every person they touched will remember them the rest of our lived. My sincere condolences to the entire family.
    03/26/2021 11:32 pm
    Sharon Caffrey (formerly Powell) writes,
    I was sad to see Dale’s obituary in the paper and to learn of his passing. I met Dale and his wife Clarise at St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church and was very fond of both of them. Dale always remembered everyone and had something positive to say. His ready smile was welcoming. I last saw him having coffee with President Biden at Pure Bread, shortly before President Biden was named as President Barack Obama’s running mate. Dale worked tirelessly to make Delaware a great place.
    03/27/2021 05:35 pm
    Marilyn G Forney writes,
    A wonderful man and an exemplary public servant. The world needs more like him.
    03/28/2021 10:51 am
    John W Ballentine writes,
    I have fond memories of Dale and Clarice growing up in St. Stephens Lutheran church. Their unconditional love and encouragement helped shape me and no doubt MANY others! Matthew 6:20. May God's Peace be with you all John Ballentine
    03/28/2021 12:16 pm
    Tom Herlihy writes,
    Whether he was walking in front of you or behind you, you could hear Dale greeting everyone he met in a positive manner. It was uplifting. Also, he was very supportive of all who volunteered to help others. He will be missed, especially here at Country House.
    03/29/2021 04:38 pm
    Theda Blackwelder writes,
    My heart is saddened by the loss of such a wonderful man. He was committed to making this life a better one for all of us. He was devoted to his family, his church, his State and his country. I know that Dale is happy now to be reunited with Clarice. The two of them were exemplary in their devotion to each other. My deepest sympathy to the family, Theda Blackwelder
    03/30/2021 02:57 pm
    Elizabeth (Betty) and Edward White writes,
    Good friends of both Clarice and Dale. Many fond memories of friendship and activities at Greenville Country Club and Republican politics. Both or your parents were exceptional people and friends to everyone. We will miss their presence in our lives. God bless you w/ many happy memories as you grieve. No need to acknowledge. April 4, 2021
    04/04/2021 01:27 pm
    Sr. Jeanne Cashman, OSU lit a candle and writes,
    My apologies for learning so late of the death of one of the greatest men I have ever known. To Glenda, Janet, Jim and Tom and your families, I send my love and my deepest condolences at your Dad's death. The good news is that the love affair begun so many years ago is living still in a new way now!! Both Dale and Clarice will remain in my grateful memory forever for all the good they shared with so many, not the least of which is their support of Sojourners' Place from before its opening.. Love and prayerful blessings to you all.....Sr. Jeanne Cashman
    05/09/2021 11:46 am

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