Francis L. Dale, former president of the Music Center of Los Angeles County, publisher of the Los Angeles Herald Examiner and the Cincinnati Enquirer, president of baseball's Cincinnati Reds and a U.S. ambassador, has died. He was 72.
Dale, who lived in Pasadena, died Sunday of a heart attack while on a trip to Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, his daughter, Holly Howard, said Wednesday.
The Midwestern lawyer and executive came to Los Angeles in 1977 to become publisher of the now-defunct Herald Examiner and a vice president of its owner, Hearst Corp.
"Frank Dale was a huge cheerleader for the Herald Examiner at a time when it had one foot in the grave, and he did everything he humanly could to try to make it work," said Thomas Plate, who was Dale's editorial page editor and executive editor from 1978 to 1981 and is now editor of The Times' editorial pages. "Everyone who worked under him basked in his enthusiasm."
Dale left Hearst in 1985 to become commissioner of the Major Indoor Soccer League.
"This will be about my sixth career," he told The Times then. "About every seven years or so I decide I'm going to shift. I believe in that as a way of staying young."
In 1986, Dale moved to the newly created job of Music Center president, enthusiastically taking over expansion plans and promising to make the complex "America's foremost performing arts center."
"By the year 2000 this (Los Angeles) will be the capital of the world," Dale said at the time of his appointment. "That's got to be in the arts, as well as the economy."
Faced with mild criticism that he lacked any background in the arts, Dale characteristically responded: "I don't have to be able to hit high C to manage this center. Management is management. You're managing people."
From 1988 until 1990, Dale served as president of the Mike Mansfield Foundation at the University of Montana. More recently he held the posts of president of Water & Power for North America, president of the Republican Associates and senior associate of Moxham Carver Inc. Fundraising.
Before moving west, Dale spent 20 years with the Cincinnati Enquirer, serving as its president and publisher from 1965 to 1973.
In 1967, he organized a group to buy the Cincinnati Reds baseball team and the Cincinnati Bengals football team. He was president of the Reds from 1967 until 1973.
Dale helped organize and served as chairman of President Richard Nixon's reelection committee in 1972. A year later Nixon appointed him presidential representative to a United Nations organization, with the rank of ambassador.
A native of Champaign, Ill., Dale was educated at Duke University and the University of Virginia School of Law. He was formerly a partner in the Cincinnati law firm of Frost & Jacobs and served as president of both the Cincinnati and the Ohio bar associations.
During World War II, Dale was commanding officer of the Pilsbury, an anti-submarine craft that captured a German submarine.
Dale is survived by his wife, the former Kathleen Watkins; twin sons, Myron of Cincinnati and Mitchell of Washington, D.C.; two daughters, Kathleen McNair of Winnetka, Ill., and Mrs. Howard of Pacific Palisades; two brothers and a sister, and 11 grandchildren.
Memorial services are scheduled for Saturday in Cincinnati and for 11 a.m. Dec. 10 at the First United Methodist Church, 500 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena. The family has asked that any memorial donations be made to the Methodist Hospital Foundation, 300 W. Huntington Drive, Arcadia, Calif. 91007.