"Earl Milton Dalness was born June 30, 1913, in Grand Forks. He earned his Bachelor's Degree in General Business in 1937 from the University of North Dakota. A member of Alpha Tau Omega fraternity, Earl financed his education at UND by selling shoes part-time and playing clarinet in the local dance band.
Irene Louise Farley was born in Minneapolis on December 14, 1911, but spent her formative years in Grand Forks. She attended UND for 10 years in the early 1930s and was a member of Delta Gamma sorority.
Earl and Irene were married in 1937 in Grand Forks and left the area in the late 1930s to begin their long and fruitful journey through life. Their initial move was to Sioux Falls, South Dakota, which would be the birthplace of their three children. After working for General Mills for a short time, Earl decided to pursue a career in law enforcement. He joined the Federal Bureau of Investigation and, after a demanding training period in Quantico, Virginia, became an agent in 1943.
Earl’s distinguished career spanned the wartime years in California through the turbulent era of the Civil Rights struggle of the 1960s. The FBI during these years was the foremost law enforcement agency in the world and demanded much from its agents, both physically and mentally.
Earl investigated cases such as kidnapping, espionage, and bank robbery. His greatest challenge came in the small Alabama town of Selma in 1965, during the Selma to Montgomery Civil Rights March. As the Agent in Charge of the Mobile office, he was responsible for upholding federal law. It was during this time of social unrest that Earl’s character and devotion to duty were most evident.
His numerous assignments took him to Missouri, California, Texas, Washington D.C., Pennsylvania, Ohio, Alabama, and Utah. The high esteem and respect in which Earl and Irene were held in every place they lived reflected great credit upon themselves. Throughout their lives they retained a love for and interest in UND and the wonderful friends made while they were students. They attended numerous UND Alumni Association functions, especially during their years in the San Francisco Bay area.
Irene raised three children and kept the household together through the moves and stress a career in the FBI brings. She was a constant source of strength for the family.
After Earl retired from the FBI in 1968, he and Irene moved to San Francisco where Earl became director of security for the Bank of California.
In 1974, Earl was named to a position of national leadership in the banking industry: he was elected a member of the Insurance and Protection Division’s Executive Committee of the American Bankers Association. Through this committee, he helped develop the manual used by bank personnel in training for protective measures against external bank crimes.
Earl passed away October 27, 1986, in Walnut Creek, California, and Irene died July 17, 1995, in Austin, Texas."
Source: "The Earl and Irene Dalness Memorial Scholarship Endowment," University of North Dakota Foundation (in folder 1 of the collection)