By Rachel Alexander, September 13, 2014, Walla Walla Union Bulletin
Port of Columbia Commissioner Dale McKinley died early Thursday at his home. He was 65.
His death came as a shock to his family and Port of Columbia staff, who remember McKinley as a thoughtful, kind presence on the Port commission.
“One of the things that I loved about Dale was that he had a very quiet and soft-spoken way about him,” said Port Manager Jennie Dickinson. “He didn’t speak up often, but when he did, you could tell he had thought long and hard.”
She also spoke of McKinley’s ability to diffuse tension and help commissioners work together, even when they disagreed.
“The part of his gift that I will miss the most is his ability to just soften the edges of the Port,” she said. “He was very helpful in keeping the tone of the board positive … courteous and kind.”
McKinley was elected to a six-year term in 2009, and would have served until the end of 2015.
Commissioners Gene Warren and Earl Marvin will appoint a new commissioner to fill the vacant seat through the end of 2015. A regular election for a six-year term will be held in November that year.
Dickinson said she wanted to wait for a “reasonable mourning period” before soliciting applications. The Port’s next regular meeting is in the second week of October.
A funeral will be held Thursday at 11 a.m. at the Hubbard Rogg Funeral Home in Dayton.