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posted: 4/15/2014 1:56 PM

Scholarship fund honors avid runner and coach

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By Joelyn Kott
DuPage Community Foundation

The DuPage Community Foundation has announced the establishment of the Russell B. Dahl Love for Laces Memorial Scholarship Fund. The fund was established in memory of Russell B. Dahl, 57, who in December was killed in an automobile accident.

The Dahl family established the fund as a tribute to a husband and father whose greatest passions were running and spending time with his family.

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The purpose of the fund is to award scholarships to students of Fenton High School who have participated in cross country or track for at least two years, including their senior year. Fenton High School is Dahl's alma mater.

The advisers for the fund are Russell's wife, Julianne, and their three children, Kimberly Seaman, Stephanie Dahl and Bryan Dahl.

"We wanted to do something to celebrate our dad's life," Bryan Dahl said. "He wasn't done doing the things he was brought here to do. This memorial scholarship is one way he can continue doing great things, and he will be remembered."

Dahl's passion for running started in high school, where he ran cross country and track. These sports and his extraordinary connection to his coach, John Kurtz, are what really changed his life, said Kimberly Seaman.

"We grew up calling him (Kurtz) 'Coach,'" Seaman said.

Kurtz, who coached Dahl while he was a student at Fenton, still coaches there. He was a significant part of Dahl's life.

"My dad loved running," Seaman said. "No matter what the temperature, he ran. It was his passion."

She went on to explain that her father's connection to Fenton lasted long after graduation as he participated in the school's annual alumni race and coached there when needed.

"He was a never-ending coach," Seaman said. "My dad coached for approximately six years at Conant High School, which fostered his love of running. And, he not only coached the runners, but he mentored them and followed their running careers through college and beyond.

"He was always all in with everything he did, especially if it had to do with running."

"This scholarship provides a way for my dad to continue empowering and inspiring the lives of runners. It's a great tribute to a man who was more than a coach, but a mentor to many and a hero to me," Stephanie Dahl said.

Dahl was an inspiration to his children and to many students as well. And because of the relationship Seaman enjoyed with her father, she wishes this for her children: "I want to always be there for my sons and support them, just as my dad was there and supported me. We were very close, and I want to nurture my sons so that we develop the same closeness that I had with my dad."

Dahl is survived by his wife and children as well as grandchildren Everett and Graham and siblings Richard and Diane. Donations to the Russell B. Dahl Love for Laces Memorial Scholarship Fund may be made at dcfdn.org.

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