November 7, 2021, Earl Desmond Dahlen passed away peacefully in his sleep after watching his beloved Chargers beat the Eagles 27-24. He was 77 years old.
Earl was born in Hartford, Connecticut on October 16, 1944, before moving west and growing up in El Monte, Phoenix and California. It was during his high school studies in Arizona that he developed his lifelong love of football and hot rods. This love of hot rods made Earl a formidable drag racer at Carlsbad Raceway in the 1960s. Later in life Earl was especially proud of his 1955 Chevy Nomad and 1947 Woodie restorations.
Earl then graduated as a teacher in industrial arts and received a Masters of Fine Arts in Industrial Education from CSU Long Beach, where he honed his craft as a woodworker. Earl used the love of his craft to inspire students as a teacher at James E. Potter Junior High for 29 years. Earl has helped promote the work of his students by entering them into the San Diego County Fair competition year after year and winning numerous awards.
However, Earl’s commitment to creating change didn’t end with the classroom. Earl was heavily involved with the California Teachers Association and worked on several state-level political campaigns through the union. Earl’s effectiveness with state-level politics has led to opportunities to influence national-level change with the National Education Association’s Political Action Committee.
In addition, he was proud to be certified as an arbitrator for the Better Business Bureau. After nearly three decades of study, Earl launched his successful carpentry business The Earl of Woods, where he specialized in antique restoration, custom woodworking, design, construction and finishing. .
Earl was often loud, opinionated, and overly generous. A notable bon vivant who frequently sought out the best food and wine, Earl became a member of the Orange County Wine Society and enjoyed his membership in several wineries across California. And with a love of food and wine, Earl loved to throw big parties at his home in Fallbrook. He also enjoyed his weekly brunch with friends whom he affectionately called the “Old Farts Breakfast Club”.
Family reunions were extremely important to Earl, as were vacations. Years later, Earl grew a white beard and spread Christmas cheer as Santa Claus at holiday events and handed out hundreds of candy canes to amazed children.
Earl was a staunch friend who loved his family fiercely; who has never missed an opportunity to share his knowledge, his kindness, his opinion, his recipe or his anecdote; who sought the best in everything while seeking the best in everyone. We will miss him.
Earl was predeceased by his mother, Joanne Ciuchta; his father, Earl Desmond Buckner Sr., and his older brothers Robert Dahlen and Alan Dahlen. Earl is survived by his beloved wife, Laurie Dahlen; her sister, Joanne Ostrander and her husband Rex; her daughter, Darcy Sybrandy, her husband Sybren and her grandson, Conner; his son Jason Dahlen, his daughter-in-law Jenny and his grandsons Axel and Ryan; her stepchildren, Jeffrey Riback, Jen Souza, and her grandchildren, Wyatt and Logan; her stepchildren, Amy Riback and Andrew Younger; her stepchildren, Steven and Wendy Riback and her grandchildren Gabi, Zak and Rosie; her stepchildren, Tom and Kathy Karins; her stepchildren, Debbie and Freddie Acosta, and her grandsons, Atticus and Luke.
In keeping with Earl’s wishes, Earl’s ashes will be scattered at sea in a small private ceremony. In remembrance of Earl, the family asks you to raise a glass in memory of Earl.