Dale A. Vermilya, 67, of Onaway, died at home Saturday. October 21, 2023. He was born in Onaway April 10, 1956, the son of Ned Sr. and Ruth Ann (Stockwell) Vermilya. Dale was raised in Southfield, where after graduation from high school, he went on to follow in his father’s footsteps and began working for Michigan Caterpillar in Novi.
Dale was passionate about his work, proud of the Caterpillar brand, and admired the equipment he worked on. Eventually he was promoted to leadman mechanic before retiring after 37 years with the company.
Shortly after retirement, Dale moved to Onaway where his family roots run deep. After years of traveling back and forth to northern Michigan to visit with family and enjoy the outdoors, Dale was happy to finally make Onaway his home.
He spent much time helping his aging parents and caring for them but also enjoyed deer hunting and fishing on Black Lake. He loved riding around the Vermilya property on his four-wheeler and cutting firewood.
Of course, Dale had an appreciation for heavy equipment, but also loved farm equipment and tractors so it wasn’t surprising when he joined the Tip of the Mitt Antique Tractor Association.
He enjoyed the tractor pulls and shows held at the tractor grounds, but most of all, enjoyed the people who belonged to the club. With his skills as a mechanic, Dale and his nephew, Cory, restored an antique tractor to working order.
Dale was meticulous when it came to equipment and vehicles. He kept them well-maintained and spotlessly clean.
Dale was hardworking, smart and quick-witted. He kept his wonderful sense of humor right up to the final hours of his life, trying to lighten the mood with his comical one-liners. He was respected and well-loved by his siblings, nieces and nephews.
He will be sadly missed by his wife, Julie, whom he married June 8, 1991, in Southfield; a brother, Brian, of Onaway; sisters, Sheryl (Brad) Hilliker of Afton and Terry (George) Jabro of Onaway; as well as his nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents; brothers, Mitchell and Ned Vermilya Jr.; a nephew, Doug Vermilya Jr.; and a sister-in-law, Stephanie Vermilya.
Visitation was held at Chagnon Funeral Home Tuesday and Wednesday. Dale’s funeral service will be at the Chagnon Funeral Home at 11 a.m. Thursday (today), October 26, with burial to follow at North Allis Township Cemetery. Elder Thelma Curtis will officiate.
Those planning an expression of sympathy, please consider a donation in memory of Dale, to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital at www.stjude.org.