Obituary: Dale Arnink 1938-2021

Dale Arnink was a respected and appreciated member of the Los Alamos community for nearly half a century. His presence and influence have been felt by many since his passing. Please join us for a celebration of his life Saturday, June 3, 2023 at the Unitarian Church of Los Alamos. The service starts at 11 a.m. and will be followed by a reception lunch.  

Dale was born in 1938, the middle child, and grew up in Clymer, a tiny farming  town of 350 in western New York state. Dale showed an unusual interest in  philosophy and religion as an adolescent that never left him. An excellent student, athlete, and avid volunteer, the town’s “golden boy” accepted a football scholarship from Cornell University. 

However, the enduring mysteries of religion enticed him to transfer to Houghton Christian College, where he served his first role as a student pastor in a tiny country church where duties included everything from stoking the old furnace to organizing food and clothing drives for the impoverished congregation.  

Because of a curriculum too rigid for his expansive mind, he moved on to Allegheny College, where he studied philosophy and ministered at another small country church near Meadville, PA.  

There, he met his first wife, Carolyn Brown and together they headed to New York City where he achieved a degree in divinity from Union Theological Seminary. Living on the edge of Harlem, their life was rich with a diversity of new friends, activities and varied “educational opportunities” that only a large, robust city  could provide this country boy. 

The next chapter unfolded in Southern California. There he earned a doctorate in Philosophy of Theology from Claremont Graduate School while teaching special needs students at a local high school. Two sons, Brian and Joel, joined their family. 

Following graduation, Dale’s lifelong desire to be a teacher led him to Rocky Mountain College in Montana as a professor of theology. There he focused on “alternative” students and was a frequent speaker at the UU Fellowship. Two more sons, Craig and Scott, were added to the family. 

This relationship with UU’s led to an invitation from the District to enter the process of becoming a Unitarian Universalist minister. Dale consequently was  very interested in the challenging opportunity presented when the UU church in Los Alamos opened a position for a new minister requiring a broad background to serve a unique congregation. 

Following a rigorous process, He turned out to be a perfect fit, and the family moved to Los Alamos in 1976. He was ordained there the following year.  

Dale proved to be an excellent leader, pastor, organizer, volunteer, friend, and  counselor serving the church and its community well. (Dale was also applauded for his knowledge of wines and skiing abilities!) 

Dale retired in 2000 as Minister Emeritus to care for his second wife, Eva Montoya, who had developed Parkinson’s Disease. Following Eva’s death in 2013, Dale developed Parkinson’s as well and passed on from its complications in 2021…a very bright light extinguished. 

Dale was also predeceased by his son Joel. 

The service will also be live-streamed for select people. If you are interested in more information, please contact Joyce Nickols by text or phone (505) 690-2777) or email at