Mortgage industry veteran Dale Dykema, who ran California-based TD Service Financial Corp. for more than 50 years, died on the Fourth of July at the age of 87, the Orange County Register reported earlier this week.
According to the report, Dykema died after a battle with prostate cancer.
Dykema founded TD Service, which provides technology and services to the mortgage banking industry and specializes in post-closing services and document management, in 1964.
Dykema led the company until last year, when First American Financial Corp. acquired TD Service and several of its subsidiaries.
In 2014, Dykema spoke in depth about his life and career with HousingWire Magazine.
Dykema graduated from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Dykema’s time at Calvin College was bisected by a by a four-year stint in the Air Force during the height of the Korean War.
His training included studying Russian for a year, then spending time in Germany, where he and his unit spent their days listening to the Russian Air Force.
“At the time, we were deep into the Cold War and very concerned about the Russians,” Dykema told HousingWire in 2014. “We had 24-hour surveillance — we wanted to make sure we didn’t miss anything and that we got our translations correct.”
After returning home from the war, Dykema earned a Masters in Business from the University of Michigan.
Dykema then moved to California, taking what he thought would be a temporary job at a title insurance company.
That temporary job turned into his life’s work.
After learning about the title insurance industry, Dykema decided to start a company of his own, doing foreclosure and reconveyance work.
“I never thought of myself as an entrepreneur when I was in college,” Dykema told HousingWire. “I never thought of going into business myself, although I can still remember my mother, when I was growing up, talking to my dad about ‘we oughta start a family business.’ That thought may have stuck with me a little bit.”
Dykema eventually found success with TD Service, but starting the one company wasn’t enough for him.
Dykema was, in his own words, a serial entrepreneur.
“I realized early on that I like to start new things,” Dykema said. “So subsequent to starting that first company, I’ve started probably 25 or so additional companies. Some of which have gone belly up. Some of which have been sold off and several of which we still have today.”
Outside of his business interests, Dykema was also heavily involved in the Republican Party in California.
Dykema’s interest in politics led him to become involved in George W. Bush and Mitt Romney’s presidential campaigns, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s run for governor of California, and numerous other campaigns in the state.
Dykema also served on the board of the Tiger Woods Foundation.
Dykema retired from TD Service last year when the company was sold to First American.
According to the OC Register report, Dykema is survived by his wife, Sandi; sister, Nancy; sons Dean and Rick Dykema; daughter Dawn Ferrill; four grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.
For much more on Dykema’s life and career, click here.