ISHOF friend and honoree Dale Petranech passes away
On Saturday morning, June 29, 2019, ISHOF friend, honoree and recent ISHOF Service Award Winner for 2019, Dale Petranech passed away. Luckily for us, Dale was just at ISHOF in May to receive his ISHOF award person.
Dale Petranech was not only an inductee into ISHOF, but a Marathon Honoree (IMSHOF) as well. He had been a fixture at the Hall of Fame for as far back as anyone can remember. Whatever needed to be done, Dale was always there to pitch in and lend a helping hand. Whether it was getting up at 4:00 am to help ISHOF’s own, Bob Duenkel set up for the Ocean Mile Swim, or make a last-minute run to the Miami International Airport to pick someone up, Dale always did it with a smile on his face. And he never said no.
Dale became involved in swimming on an administrative level in 1977, when he was selected to be the chairman of the first USA Swimming Open Water Committee and developed successful domestic and international programs. In 1984, Petranech was instrumental in getting FINA President Bob Helmick to establish a commission to study adding Open Water Swimming to FINA and the Olympic programs. Under Petranech’s leadership as Chairman, in 1991, the first FINA 25K was swum in Perth, Australia at the 1991 FINA World Aquatic Championships.
After the death of Cmdr. Gerald Forsberg in 1998, Dale assumed the role of Secretary General for the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame and since then has been responsible for formulating the nomination ballots and for organizing the annual IMSHOF induction.
In September 2014, Petranech was well-deservedly inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame, which followed an earlier recognition by the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame as an Honor Administrator in 1995. His work has spanned everything from U.S. Masters Swimming and USA Swimming to FINA and the Marathon Swimming Association.
Dale Petranech served as Honorary Secretary of the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame from 1998 to present; he became the first U.S. Swimming Open Water Swimming Committee Chairman in 1977; assisted U.S. Masters Swimming to form its own independent organization; served as chairman of the FINA Open Water Swimming Commission; made long-term recommendations to FINA for inclusion of Open Water Swimming into its full program; served as Honorary Secretary of the FINA Technical Open Water Swimming Committee 1992 – 1996; helped lay the groundwork to get marathon swimming into the Summer Olympics; provided the administrative background, expertise and efforts to maintain the records, rules, policies, procedures and protocols used at USA Swimming, local age-group and masters, and FINA levels; served as Chairman of United States Swimming Long Distance Committee 1979 – 1991; served as Chairman of first FINA Commission to study adding Open Water Swimming to the FINA and Olympic Program 1984-1992; served as FINA Safety Delegate, Observer and Official from 1992 to present and served as Chairman of National Aquatic Coalition 1994 – 1996;
|Dale Petranech receiving the 2019 ISHOF Service Award, pictured with LtR:
Bruce Wigo, Ivonne Schmid, Laurie Marchwinski
These are just some of Dale’s accomplishments and they are just another part of Dale’s history and background, but to us, Dale was just another member of the family. Another person we could turn to when we needed someone to set up tables, get the flags ready for the Honoree parade, help run an important errand, or just count on when we really needed someone. There are not many people like that anymore, these days. That’s why Dale Petranech was so very special to the staff and all of us at ISHOF. He was one of us and we could always count on him. He was one of the good guys. Thanks Dale for all your many years of support, kindness, hard work and friendship. We couldn’t have done it without you all these years.