Dale Gene Clemens grew up in the town of Grand Tower, which was a small Southern Illinois town of approximately 1000 people, just off of the Mississippi River. His father was a pipe fitter and his mother was a beautician. His mother, Tessie Myrtle Clemens, though, was the strongest influence in his life, as she insisted Dale and his older brother Billy attend church every Sunday.
Dale graduated from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale with a degree in sociology and minor in instructional education. Originally he wanted to be a shop teacher and went to school on a teaching scholarship. While at SIUC, at age 20 he became convinced that his true calling was to be a minister instead, so he switched majors (and had to forgo his scholarship). He then went on to Southern Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, where he earned a graduate degree from their 3 year program. He paid for his schooling by doing many odd jobs including painting, working as a hotel night clerk, and as a YMCA counselor.
After seminary, Dale later went on to pastor 7 churches, but his longest tenure was at Meadow Heights Baptist Church in Collinsville, Illinois, where he was pastor from 1970 to 1997, and then Associate Pastor of Senior Care from 2001 to 2009. During his time at Meadow Heights, Dale was also elected as President of the Illinois Baptist State Association for two different terms, from 1970-1972, and 1986-1988.
Dale's greatest legacy, though, was his ability to counsel and comfort people in times of trouble. He spent most of his life studying about the affect of grief on people and leading grief seminars around the globe. During his ministry, he not only was asked to travel around the state of Illinois leading his seminars, but he also traveled to Australia and Poland on preaching tours as well.
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