Dale Leddy, age 74, of Marina, Ca, died Wednesday, November 2, 2016, at his home in Marina. A graveside memorial service and burial of cremains will be held on Saturday, May 27, 2017, at 2:00 p.m. at the Milbank City Cemetery. Pastor Melaine Reiners will officiate.
Dale A. Leddy was born on January 2, 1942, to Ralph and Ethel (Henstrand) Leddy in Milbank, South Dakota. He grew up near Twin Brooks, South Dakota, attended Grant Center #6 country school through the eighth grade, and graduated from Milbank High School in 1960. He served his country as a member of the South Dakota National Guard.
Upon graduation from high school, he moved to Watertown, SD and began a lifelong career as a florist. He worked for Nichols Floral while in Watertown and then moved to Minneapolis in 1969.
While in Minneapolis, Dale lived in the Uptown area just around the corner from his Uncle Milo Leddy’s barbershop. Dale’s career in floral design flourished in Minneapolis and would remain his passion throughout his life. He was involved with a local theater group in Minneapolis acting and assisting with several performances including Fiddler on the Roof. Much of his leisure time in Minneapolis was spent with cousin Jack Hoeltgen and fellow Milbank native Sandy Dockter.
In 1980, Dale decided to head west. He moved to the Monterey Peninsula area of California where he would spend the rest of his life. He continued his career as a florist as well as working at a candy shop on Cannery Row.
In 2003, when he was 61, Dale ran away and joined the circus. Pursuing a passion that had begun when he moved to the Monterey Peninsula in early 1980, Dale joined the Carson & Barnes Circus as a clown, “Grandpa Sparky”. As Grandpa Sparky, he assisted in public relations to educate the public about “Baby Jenny,” its newest elephant. He toured for one season — seven months — mostly in the Midwest, and enjoyed the experience.
When his circus gig ended, Grandpa Sparky lived on, making regular appearances locally at events like the Artichoke Festival, First Night Monterey, Santa’s Fly-in, and holiday parades in Carmel Valley, Seaside, Monterey, Watsonville, Morgan Hill and other places. He performed as a professional clown over the years in several different colorful costumes, always with a powder-white face, and bright red cheeks and nose. Dale was also active in local politics, campaigning faithfully for Marina Mayor Bruce Delgado and several City Council members. He was also a member of a number of circus related organizations including: the Circus Fans of America, World Clown Association, Outdoor Amusement Association, and Clowns of America International.
In his later years, Dale lost much of his mobility to a series of strokes; however, his upbeat, positive attitude remained until the very end. Dale always remembered birthdays of friends and relatives and a floral arrangement was a treasured gift to nieces and nephews on their wedding day.
Dale is survived by one brother Gene Leddy of Twin Brooks, many cousins, and nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents; brother Arlo Leddy; and sister Arlys Jacobs.
Memorial gifts in memory of Dale can be directed to “E.A.R.S.” (Elephants of Africa Rescue Society) 400 River Road Salinas, CA 93908.