Dale C. Johnson
was born and raised in the state of Hawaii. He is of mixed ethnicity, a combination of Japanese, English, Irish, Scottish, Norwegian, German and Dutch. His paternal grandfather and uncles worked for railroads in New York and the New England states. His maternal grandparents immigrated to the Hawaiian Islands from Japan and labored in the sugar cane fields on the island of Hawaii. Dale's father was a teacher and researcher with the Hawaii Department of Education. His mother was an elementary school secretary
After high school, Dale picked pineapples as a summer field worker on a plantation on the island of Lanai. During college at the University of Minnesota, in Minneapolis, Dale worked as a busboy / dishwasher for his meals and a small wage. He graduated in 1972 with a Bachelor's degree in psychology. He entered law school in 1978.
Between his undergraduate and law school years. Dale worked in a variety of occupations that have helped him to relate to his clients and to understand the physical requirements of their jobs. He was a fast-food worker, a hospital nurse's aide and orderly, a department store sales clerk, a door-to-door encyclopedia salesman, and a psychiatric aide at the University of Minnesota Hospitals.