EVERETT — Dale Pope lived nearly all his life in the city he loved, devoting much of his time to serving its people.
“He was a fine public servant,” Everett Mayor Ray Stephanson said at Wednesday’s City Council meeting, where council members reflected on the loss of a longtime leader.
Dale Pope died Sunday, his 78th birthday, after a long illness.
“He really loved the city of Everett,” said Frank Anderson, like Stephanson a former City Council member who served with Pope. Anderson was Everett’s mayor in 2002 and 2003.
“You could disagree and argue with him — and we did, that’s what it’s all about. But we always remained friends,” said Anderson, who now lives in Omak.
Born Nov. 25, 1934, in Tulalip, Pope attended Everett schools. He left Everett High School before graduation to join the U.S. Army. By 18, he was a staff sergeant. He served with the Combat Engineers in Germany from 1953 to 1957, building roads and bridges after World War II.
“He came right back to Everett and went to work,” said Marion Pope, his wife of almost 40 years. “He was my dearest friend,” she said.
Dale Pope also is survived by his sons Robert Pope, Bill Pope and Kevin Potter, his grandson Joshua, and nieces and nephews.
Before joining the Everett Police Department in 1960, Pope worked for the Boeing Co. and was in the police reserves.
Once he became a full-time officer, he rose through the ranks. He became the department’s community relations officer. As a crime-prevention specialist, he spoke to women’s groups about self-protection. In 1973, he helped create a police chaplains bureau unofficially called the “God squad.” Religious leaders of different faiths were recruited to help police and the public during crises.
In 1977, Pope suffered a heart attack that ended his law enforcement career. But on Nov. 30, 1977, Pope was elected to the Everett City Council.
He served 26 years on the council, until 2003 when he was defeated by Brenda Stonecipher, a current council member. At Wednesday’s council meeting, Stonecipher was among members sharing thoughts about Pope. “One thing I always appreciated about Dale Pope was his humor,” she said.
During Pope’s final year on the council, the Salty Sea Days festival became the subject of controversy. Marion Pope was the longtime executive director of the nonprofit Salty Sea Days Association. Everett’s annual June festival was started in 1970 and continued until 2004. It included a parade, boat races on Silver Lake, a carnival and fireworks.
In 2003, then-council members Mark Olson and Bob Overstreet raised the issue of whether Salty Sea Days was receiving an unfairly large percentage of Everett’s 2 percent hotel-room tax. The City Council voted to end the festival’s $70,000-a-year subsidy. That year, Dale Pope resigned as “Captain Salty.”
The festival association disbanded two years later, in 2005, which would have been the 35th anniversary of Salty Sea Days.
Recalling Salty Sea Days, Mayor Stephanson said it was “a great community event that a lot of our citizens appreciated.”
“Both Dale and Marion greatly gave their heart and soul and volunteer time to that effort,” he said.
Bob Cooper, a former Everett parks director, said Pope was a strong supporter of the parks. He also has fond memories of Pope during Salty Sea Days.
“He would sit in that car in the parade dressed as Captain Salty. He loved it,” Cooper said. “He really believed Salty Sea Days was something special to Everett, and part of his civic responsibility.”
“Everyone knew him as Captain Salty, all my friends,” said Kevin Potter, 47, Pope’s youngest son. Potter also remembered his father, years ago, representing the police department on a morning radio show on KWYZ, then an Everett station.
Stephanson, who was on the City Council from 1982 through 1988, said he and Pope were among those pushing to bring the Navy to Everett. With the recession of the 1980s, diversifying the city’s economy was key, he said.
“He was very supportive of the Navy,” said Marion Pope, who recalled her husband going to Washington, D.C., with then-Everett Mayor Bill Moore and other council members to meet with Sen. Henry M. Jackson about the goal of landing a Navy base here.
City Councilman Jeff Moore, son of the late Bill Moore, said at Wednesday’s meeting that Pope’s service included being on a steering committee for the National League of Cities and involvement with several transportation groups.
Stephanson said Pope always had a keen interest in Everett, and would go out to see projects and developments around town. “When he talked about an issue from the dais, you can bet he’d been out there. He had an on-the-ground sense of what was going on,” Stephanson said.
City Councilman Arlan Hatloe, who announced his retirement from the council Wednesday, appreciated Pope’s vast knowledge of city history. “I can’t tell you how many times I would go to Dale for information and for history,” Hatloe said during tributes to Pope at Wednesday’s meeting. “He was kind of a go-to guy,” Hatloe said.
Anderson, a close friend of Pope’s, said when he joined the council Pope was its president, a role he filled five times.
“I quickly learned if you needed information from the past — this was before council members had computers — he had saved every agenda,” Anderson said.
“He loved every minute of it,” Marion Pope said. “He loved the city of Everett.”
A funeral service for Dale Pope is scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday at Grace Lutheran Church, 8401 Holly Drive, Everett.
Julie Muhlstein: 425-339-3460, firstname.lastname@example.org.