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O’Neals to lead county Fair parade PDF Print E-mail
Written by Darci Tomky   

Dale and Nelda O’Neal of Holyoke have a big weekend planned at the end of the month when they will be leading the Phillips County Fair parade Saturday, July 26. Not only have they been named grand marshals, but they will also be celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary the day before the parade.

The O’Neals will usher in the “America’s Best” parade, heading north on Interocean Avenue, beginning at 10 a.m. July 26.

The couple is excited to have almost all of their family in Holyoke for the special occasion. They have three children, Roger O’Neal, Danna Wilson and Ted O’Neal; five grandkids and two great-grandchildren.

Both Dale and Nelda have spent practically their entire lives in the area, with the exception of Dale’s two-year stint in the Army.


Long-time Holyoke couple Nelda and Dale O’Neal will be leading the Phillips County Fair parade Saturday, July 26, as the grand marshals.  —Enterprise photo


Dale, the son of Ted and Grace O’Neal, grew up in the Wages area where his family ranched and farmed. Using a two-wheel buggy cart and a horse named Star, Dale and his sister attended the Wages country school, with the biggest class size hitting 28 students.

After eighth grade, Dale stayed with Henry and Ida Struckmeyer during school so he could attend Phillips County High School in Holyoke, where he graduated in 1949.

His first construction experience began in seventh grade, and later Dale made a career in the industry with his business, Dale O’Neal Construction.

The first house he built on his own is the last house on the north side of Denver Street when heading east out of Holyoke. His final house was the home of Harvey Colglazier in rural Holyoke.

His business offered construction for houses, steel buildings, grain bins and remodeling. He stuck around the Holyoke area, with the farthest job located in Sterling.

After construction, Dale was an appraiser in the Phillips County assessor’s office for a few years, and after that, he helped out with small jobs here and there.

Dale has served on the Holyoke Cemetery Board for 48 years. Other involvement has included the city council, hospital board, Jaycees and the Lions Club.

Although Nelda was born in Haxtun, she has always made her home in Holyoke. She is the daughter of Dan and Gladys Hofmeister, growing up with four older brothers.

Nelda’s dad was the county superintendent of schools, but when he died when Nelda was only 1 1/2 years old, her mom was appointed to the same position to oversee the many country schools in Phillips County.

Nelda attended school in Holyoke, graduating from Phillips County High School in 1954.

Dale and Nelda were married July 25, 1954, at the Methodist Church in Holyoke. Both have been involved at the church throughout the years.

Nelda stayed home to be a homemaker and raise her children. Later, her business, Nelda’s Antiques and Treasure Trove, operated for around 11 or 12 years. She was very passionate about antiques and finding fun items at auctions, but one thing she really misses is the people.

Nelda has volunteered at the hospital, and both she and Dale help out with Meals on Wheels.

The couple is excited for the upcoming Phillips County Fair, which has brought back many memories of past Fairs.

Dale was in the Wages 4-H Club as a kid and later was the horse superintendent with W.W. Oliver. He was also a horse racer and participated with the Spur Club, which raised money for soldiers overseas.

“If you had a rodeo, it didn’t make a difference if you were cutting wheat or not, you filled the grandstands!” he said.

Nelda has memories of playing with the band at the Fair and, of course, many hours serving in the Methodist Church Fair stand. Cream chicken sandwiches, all kinds of pies and fresh-squeezed lemonade were a big hit with fairgoers.

In addition to the Fair, the O’Neals reminisced about Holyoke’s Saturday nights. Everyone came to town, they said, selling cream and eggs, getting haircuts and having a good time with friends.

Nelda was an usher at the Peerless Theatre, which had people lined up all the way down the block for the two Saturday night shows.

Nelda was also a carhop at the local Dairy King, one of the fun businesses in town, in addition to the bowling alleys, skating rinks and pool hall that the O’Neals remember from their youth.

Holyoke is a “good place” to live, according to this long-time Holyoke couple.

“It’s nice to go down the street and know everyone,” said Nelda, with Dale adding that it’s great how everyone helps each other and pitches in.

They’ll be sure to recognize many people in town during the Fair this month as they make their way down the parade route and celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary.



Holyoke Enterprise July 10, 2014