Verda Dale of Amherst celebrated her 100th birthday July 30, with about 55 family and friend well-wishers at the Lord Jeff in Amherst. At left, Lynn Goodhue, president of the Zonta Club of which Dale is a member, holds up a Gazette article from the past featuring Dale.
A native of Comanche County, Kansas, Dale grew up on a farm and rode a pony to school — arriving early so as to start the woodstove in the one-room schoolhouse. She graduated from Kansas State and became a Home Economist County Agent. When war threatened, she joined the Women's Auxiliary Army Corps (WAAC).
After the war, Dale earned a PhD from Michigan State University and became a state specialist in Home Management at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. She left UMass for the University of Hawaii in 1971 to develop its Department of Home Economics.
After her retirement, Dale returned to Amherst, where she built a home and surrounded it with flowers. She became an orchid specialist and continued her longtime membership in Zonta International. In 2009, the Women's Fund of Western Massachusetts selected her as one of their honorees for the “Trailblazers: Standing on Her Shoulders” celebration of women in their 70s, 80s, 90s and 100s.