Dale was born in Chicago, Illinois on Valentine’s Day 1945 to Chiye and Richard Okinaka. He was the eldest of four children. Santa Barbara was his home from the time he was an infant. He attended Lincoln elementary school where he met his life long friend, Sal Rodriguez. The two became athletic superstars at San Marcos High School. Dale was quite popular as a teen –even being crowned “Mardi Gras King” in his senior year. But, he really shined on the basketball court as the Royals point guard. He earned All-Channel League honors in basketball but also played baseball for the Royals. For nearly 50 years his name graced the walls of the Royals’ gymnasium as one of the superstar alumni.
Dale attended Santa Barbara City College after graduating high school. At SBCC he again distinguished himself on basketball court gaining all-conference honors. At the young age of 19 he met the love of his life, Margaret while attending SBCC. They wed that same year and proved to the world that they shared a love and bond that would last a lifetime. In 1965 they had their first daughter, Lisa, followed a few years later by their youngest daughter Chrissy. Dale worked hard to provide for his family. In those early years, at times he held two jobs –working for General Motors/Delco Electronics and on weekends at a family run nursery. While he worked his way up at GM/Delco, he also attended night school to earn a bachelor’s in Business Management from La Verne University. After earning his degree, Dale made his career working in purchasing for GM/Delco until he retired in 2003.
Even though his life was busy with family and work, he always stayed active in local sports. He played on city league basketball teams and coached local girls’ softball and basketball. He had a passion and talent for coaching. Dale worked with many young athletes throughout his life –whether it be through Goleta Valley Girls’ Softball Association, Dos Pueblos High School, San Marcos High School or numerous area travel teams. He was a winning coach. In 1995, he was honored as Amateur Softball Association Coach of the Year after he led the California Waves to win the National Softball Championship. In 2003, he was inducted into the Santa Barbara Athletic Roundtable Hall of Fame for his contributions to local girls’ softball. Two years later, in 2005, he coached the Dos Pueblos varsity girls’ softball team to a CIF championship win. He took a genuine interest in the kids he coached and they loved him. His motivation and drive encouraged the girls to work hard to always be at their very best on the field and in life. Many of his players continued to be a part of his life long after they graduated and had families of their own. Dale’s sense of humor combined with his compassion endeared him to so many –whether it be his family, friends, players, local waitresses or nurses and doctors. He touched so many lives. A heartfelt thank you to Doctors Kupperman, Watson and Vallee for the amazing care you gave Dale.
Dale’s family was the center of his life and he was the heart and soul of theirs. He is survived by his wife Margaret, daughters Lisa Lyytikainen (Keith), and Chrissy Valenzuela (Cele), 6 grandchildren – Davis Mansmann (25), Chase Mansmann (22), Isabel Valenzuela (16), Emily Valenzuela (14), Sidney Lyytikainen(14) and Kathryn Lyytikainen (8), brothers Mark and Rick and sister Nona, niece Lilly and great nephew Joey. His courage, loyalty, strength, love and commitment will live forever in their hearts.
A celebration of Dale’s life will be held on May 5th, 2014 at 12 pm at Goleta Beach, Site A followed by a reception at the Beachside Restaurant patio area.