Dale Souza always found time for others. 

“Every event we had, every function we had — if it was my dance recital or coaching baseball with my brother — (he was) just always there for everything,” said his daughter, Kimberly Bowen of New Bedford.

Souza’s consideration for others extended beyond his family. On top of his 40-hour week as an assistant produce manager at Stop & Shop, Souza also served the City of New Bedford as an EMT for more than a decade. “It was a true passion to help people.”

Born and raised in New Bedford, Souza started working at Stop & Shop just after he graduated from high school. Soon after, he met his wife Ida through a friend, and the couple had two children together: Randall and Kimberly. 

Married for more than 50 years, Souza and his wife both contracted COVID-19 in late December of 2020. Ida recovered, but Souza had to be intubated and died at St. Luke’s Hospital on Jan. 21, 2021. Ida and Randall were able to be by his side at the end, but glass separated Kimberly from her family — having never contracted the virus, she was prohibited from entering the room. 

“We are all seriously struggling because it’s like a piece of us is missing,” said Kimberly.


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Before his illness took such a serious turn, Souza had been looking forward to getting better so that he could go out again and enjoy some of his favorite restaurants. “He was a big foodie,” Kimberly remembers, especially when it came to chocolate.

“He kept a candy basket next to his chair so that when the grandkids came in, he would give them candy.”

On New Year’s Eve of 2020, Kimberly dropped off some baked goods for her parents, who had already tested positive for the virus. Souza later called his daughter, saying, “‘Oh my God, K, that was so good. I loved it — it’s all gone.’” Due to his COVID-19 symptoms, Souza had already lost his sense of taste, but he appreciated his daughter’s baking all the same. 

“Amazing” with his four grandchildren, Souza traveled every year with his extended family to the Inn at East Hill Farm in Troy, N.H. In his memory, his loved ones dedicated a bench with his name and photograph to commemorate his love of the farm. It rests near the corral where the horses live — a place where Souza and his wife often drank their morning coffee when they stayed at the inn.  

Souza was also a Disney “fanatic” and went to the Disney parks with his family. He would often sing the Disney Park anthem “I’m Walking Right Down the Middle of Main Street USA,” adding silly lyrics to it with his granddaughter, Maggie. Kimberly cherishes the memory of him and her daughter holding hands while they sang that song and walked down Main Street.  

“We have so many amazing memories,” said Kimberly, “I’m 46, and I had him for that many years, and I should feel thankful, and I am so thankful … but it doesn’t make it (losing him) any easier.”

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