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Re: Dale T. Kirlin, Sr. 1916-2009
Posted by: Karen Castle (ID *****6561) Date: November 06, 2009 at 21:44:47
In Reply to: Dale T. Kirlin, Sr. 1916-2009 by Karen Castle of 11

Here is the obituary posted in today's Quincy Herald Whig:

Dale T. KIRLIN Sr.
Dale T. Kirlin Sr. of 616 Garden Court, Quincy, died at 4:34 p.m. Tuesday (Nov. 3, 2009) in Sunset Home. Dale was born to Thomas and Nellie Mae Kirlin in Stillwell on Aug. 11, 1916. When he was 8 years old, his father accidentally drowned, leaving Dale, his brother and mother to run their farm. Dale's mother remarried and moved the family to a farm in Mendon. When Dale was in eighth grade, his family moved to Quincy, but he was determined to stay in Mendon to finish his schooling, so he found a farm family with whom he could live in return for working on their farm. Dale served as class president and graduated from Mendon Township High School in 1933. Following his graduation, Dale expressed an interest in working for S.S. Kresge's 5 and 10 cent stores to a friend who worked there. A few months later he was told of an opening in the Omaha store and he moved there to accept the position. Dale started as a stock boy, but was eventually promoted to the store sales floor, working his way up to management during tenures at the St. Joseph, Mo., Chicago Heights,, and Kansas City, Mo., Kresge stores. In Kansas City, Dale fell in love with and married the love of his life, Marian Gorman, an employee in the Kansas City store. As he often said, he "found a million dollar baby in a 5 and 10 cent store!" Marian Kirlin passed away in 1989. In 1942, Dale and Marian moved to Detroit where he became an assistant buyer in the Kresge home office. Shortly thereafter, he was forced to leave Kresge's due to wartime manpower demands. He took a position at General Motors that lasted throughout World War II. When the war ended, Dale and Marian returned to Kansas City. After 12 years of working for others, Dale was convinced he should start his own business and control his own destiny. The first of many ventures was a wholesale toy business which didn't do as well as he hoped, so Dale decided it was time to move back to the Quincy area. He opened Sportland, an amusement park, at 24th and Spring; he built homes; and he briefly sold Christmas trees. He also heard that the fireworks business was good in Missouri, so he opened a fireworks stand and continued to do so every summer for 36 years. The year 1948 became a pivotal year for Dale, as he founded the business that would cement his place as a Quincy business icon. On March 10, 1948, Dale and Marian opened a small Andes Candies store "39 steps from the corner of Sixth and Maine." Others predicted their failure, but the business was successful from its first day. Dale embraced the good business practices he learned at Kresge's and two years later opened a location in Hannibal, Mo., followed in succession by Jacksonville, Ill., and Keokuk, Iowa. His business plan was to "pay as you go" and only "open what you can manage" and his business philosophy was "You either grow or you go backwards!" In 1950, Dale began a 59-year partnership with Hallmark Cards Inc., adding greeting cards to his Quincy and Hannibal stores. In 1957, the Quincy store moved to 518 Maine St. after Dale purchased Basse Jewelry, and in 1960 the first shopping center store was opened at Quincy's Legion Town and Country Shopping Center, now the site of the Quincy Mall. In 1968, Dale's son Gary joined the company as a district manager. That same year, the downtown Quincy store was involved in a large fire just a few weeks prior to Christmas. Despite major damage, the store reopened within a few weeks. In 1969, Dale Kirlin Jr. joined the company, Dale Sr. purchased and relocated the business to the Kresge building in downtown Quincy and the name of the business was changed from Andes Candies to Kirlin's. In 1970, there were 20 Kirlin's stores and the Kirlin's Plaza opened in downtown Quincy. Dale saw the company through substantial expansion in the '70s. The company grew to 66 stores by 1981 when Dale Sr. decided to retire from the day-to-day operations so Dale Jr. and Gary could assume more responsibility. The company Dale founded continued to grow and today Kirlin's is the largest independent Hallmark retailer in America with 97 stores in 10 states. As Dale's business became established, he knew he wanted to give back to the community which had helped him become a success. He served as past president of the Quincy Chamber of Commerce and the Adams County United Way. He was a past chairman of the Quincy Planning Commission, and was a member of the Quincy Community Development Committee, the Elks Lodge, the Distributive Education Program, director of Quincy Notre Dame Annual Fund Drive, and the Quincy Country Club. He also served as a director of the Illinois State Bank of Quincy and the Illinois Retail Merchants Association. In 1983, Dale Kirlin Sr. was inducted into the Illinois Business Hall of Fame along with department store magnate Marshall Field. In 1989, he received the Parker S. Gates Award from the Chamber of Commerce, and in 1993, he received the Distinguished Citizen Award from the Boy Scouts of America. In 2008, Dale was inducted into the Quincy Area Chamber of Commerce Hall of Fame. In retirement, Dale Kirlin Sr. could look back on a business career of great accomplishment and much personal fulfillment. He played a significant role in Quincy's business history and will be remembered and missed by his many business colleagues, friends and loving family. Survivors include four children, Dale T. Kirlin Jr. and his wife, Jacque, of Quincy, Barbara Jo Kirlin of Houston, Texas, Gary Kirlin and his wife, Jo, of Quincy, and Don Kirlin and his wife, Susie, of Boulder, Colo.; eight grandchildren, Kim Kirlin Kennedy and her husband, Jeff, of Quincy, Brad Kirlin and his wife, Erica, of Quincy, Craig Kirlin of St. Louis, Kelle Kirlin McClain and her husband, David, of Chicago, Danielle Kirlin McPartlin and her husband, Ryan, of Valencia, Calif., and Nicole, Christopher and Cody Kirlin of Boulder; seven great-grandchildren, Mikayla and Joshua Kennedy of Quincy, Hayden and Trevor Kirlin of Quincy, William McClain of Chicago, and Wyatt and Dylan McPartlin of Valencia; his sister-in-law, Jo Gorman of Kansas City, Kan.; and his special caregiver, Jacki Schaffer of Quincy. In addition to his wife, Marian, he was preceded in death by his parents, Thomas Kirlin and Nellie Mae Kirlin Hart; a brother, Don Kirlin; and a sister, Pauline Nokley SERVICES: 11 a.m. Monday in Trinity United Church of Christ with the Rev. Timothy A. White conducting. Private entombment will be in Quincy Memorial Park Mausoleum. VISITATION: 3 to 6 p.m. Sunday in the Hansen-Spear Funeral Home. MEMORIALS: Alzheimer's Association or Sunset Home. ARRANGEMENTS: Hansen-Spear Funeral Home. WEB SITE: Condolences may be expressed online at


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