A tribute to Dale Snesrud

Dale Snesrud, 2008I got to know Dale Snesrud when the local racquetball club opened up in the late 70s (now called the Northfield Athletic Club.) Dale and his sons were avid players and got so into the sport that he and son Kyle eventually bought the club.  Northfield has more racquetball players per capita than anywhere in the state and much of that is due to the enthusiasm that Dale, his sons and grandsons brought to the sport.  They’ve since sold the club but still make it their racquetball home away from home.

I last blogged here about Dale in 2007 when he wrote an eloquent heroin-related letter to the Northfield News titled ‘Holy Discontent.’

Dale Snesrud, October, 2010Dale’s losing his battle with cancer and his son Kyle and grandson Elliot have organized a tournament in his honor called The "Oh Dale" Racquetball Invitational and silent auction.

I stopped by his house this morning to take his photo.  As you can see, although he’s lost weight and is in a lot of pain, he still has that same mischievous smile.

Here’s Elliot’s letter with the details:


As some of you may know my grandpa, Dale Snesrud, has had cancer for quite a few years. Up until recently he had still worked and played racquetball and golf on a regular basis. He had now found out that he doesn’t have much time left with all of us but he still has a lot of medical bills to pay for. So we have decided to hold a tournament the weekend of Halloween, October 29-30, to help raise money to pay for some of his medical bills; which all profit from this tournament will go towards.

We would all greatly appreciate if you can make it. We are not planning on paying out for Men’s Open but we are working on sponsors for gifts and silent auction items. So if you are interested or know of somebody that would be willing to donate items for the silent auction, please let me know. All money will in part be matched by Thrivent Financial for Lutherans. WE WILL BE LIMITING THE NUMBER OF PARTICIPANTS TO 40 PEOPLE. Any other questions, you can e-mail me at smellychit@gmail.com.

The family and friends of Dale wanted to take this time to say thank you for your willingness to play this event. We hope Dale’s life’s time of service and faithfulness is at least part of the reason you would play this tournament. We all have so many great memories and shared experiences thank in large part to Dale’s work. The lives he has touched, the friendships, they all add up to a life well lived. We hope this fundraiser can return to Dale a small measure of all the great things he has done!

Visit the online registration form to sign up.

Photo update, May 31, 2011: Dale Snesrud, Last Roll Call, Memorial Day, 2011
Dale Snesrud: Last Roll Call, Memorial Day, 2011


  1. norman butler said:

    First Event? Second Event? Can you give a bit more detail about how the tournament will work? Limit to 40 people – you mean competitors/players?

    October 14, 2010
  2. Kyle Snesrud said:

    This is an all doubles competion with a silent auction where your dinner certificates will be sold, thank you very much norman, you and richard have been long standing good friends of the club.

    The event reference is the different skill levels available for different skill level players to play, open, A, B, and mixed for men and womens play.

    October 18, 2010
  3. Griff Wigley said:

    I got an email from John Fossum with this photo of his dad Lee Fossum (Leroy) with Dale Snesrud in 1944, ages 11 and 10. John wrote:

    I am not sure what paper this ran in, but I am told it was one of the St. Paul papers.  The truck driver, L.A. Fossum (normally known as Leif) was my grandfather.  Dale’s parents were great friends of my grandparents in Webster.  I remember them playing cards and visiting my grandparents often when I was there.

    Dale Snesrud and Leroy Fossum, 1944

    October 20, 2010
  4. Griff Wigley said:

    Dale’s son Kyle told me today that Dale really perks up when people stop by to visit. I stopped by this morning and it’s true. He perked up, could laugh a bit, talk a bit. It’s questionable whether he’s going to live long enough to make it to the Tourney in 10 days so the more people who stop by his house (1102 Winona), the more likely it is he’ll hang on. I told him if he can’t walk, we’ll still haul his ass to the club for the tourney, even if we have load him in a coffin to do it. Morbid humor, I know, but he laughs at it and laughing is good.

    October 20, 2010
  5. […] over a week ago, as he was going to be my racquetball doubles partner for last weekend’s Dale Snesrud invitational tournament.  He never showed up. His brother, Wes Davidson, emailed me a flyer tonight, along with this […]

    November 3, 2010
  6. Griff Wigley said:

    Dale Snesrud died this morning. I’ll post the funeral announcements here as soon as I find out.

    November 18, 2010
  7. Griff Wigley said:

    Northfield News: Northfield racquetball loses its anchor

    Zumbrota resident Rick Schacht  travels to the town of cows, colleges and contentment to play [Tony] Pierre at the NAC, because the Northfield racquetball culture is vastly different than the one he sees at the Rochester Athletic Club.

    “Playing in Northfield is like the local hardware store and the Rochester Athletic Club is like the Home Depot,” he said. “Playing in Northfield gives you a closer feeling with other players.”


    December 3, 2010
  8. Griff Wigley said:

    Photo: Dale Snesrud, Last Roll Call, Memorial Day, 2011
    Dale Snesrud: Last Roll Call, Memorial Day, 2011

    June 2, 2011

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