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Dale Horvath was an elderly man who was a member of the Atlanta survivor group. During his time in
the group, he was extremely concerned over Andrea's well-being and found himself at odds with the group's second in command, Shane Walsh.
Dale's age, calm experience, and RV provide the nucleus around which the small community of survivors has formed. He is wise, sometimes profound and is the respected elder of the group, though is also rather feisty, not afraid to speak his mind and call others out for mistakes in judgment.
Over time he, Andrea and Amy form their own little family unit and he finds spending time with them has helped bring him back to life in a way he never anticipated. Dale is a fairly self-sufficient man, and ever watchful of the changing dynamics among the survivor community.
Dale was married to a woman named Erma for years. Early in their marriage, they had attempted to have a baby, but it ultimately miscarried, which led them to not try again. At some point later, she had developed cancer. Despite Dale bringing her to several doctors, she had already accepted the disease
and her eventual death, much to his dismay. Once he retired from his job, he planned to take his wife traveling with him across the country in a new RV he bought, but she died before that could happen.
Her death brought him into a great depression and he found himself not caring about anyone around
him. He decided to take his RV and do the trip alone. When the outbreak began, he first encountered Andrea and Amy in distress, and the three of them soon joined up with Shane's group and settled in a quarry on the outskirts of Atlanta. He cared increasingly for Andrea and Amy during their stay at the campsite, and used his RV as a type of "command post" for the group.
After the outbreak had started, Dale lost his wife, Erma Horvath, to zombies early, something that incredibly devastated him. He becomes very close to Andrea and Amy while in the camp, eventually forming a long lasting relationship with Andrea. When Rick Grimes arrives at the camp, Dale reveals to Rick that he is suspicious that Shane and Lori are having an affair. Rick initially ignores this advice. Later Dale saves Donna from being bitten by a roamer, beheading the zombie, which reveals that even beheading a zombie does not fully kill them.
Later one night during dinner, Rick asks the group about their lives before. Dale reveals that he was a car salesman who retired, and set out with his wife across America two years prior to the Zombie outbreak. During the zombie outbreak his wife was killed. It was during his trip to Atlanta that he picked up the sisters, Andrea and Amy.
After Shane’s death, Dale tells Rick he knew all along something was up, and that he was one of the few survivors that prior to Rick coming to the camp, wanted to relocate only to have Shane refuse, and Dale only following due to Shane being the law.
After burying Shane, the survivors set off in Dale’s RV away from Atlanta in an attempt to find somewhere safe. Lori reveals to the camp that she is pregnant, which alarms Dale, who suspects the child maybe Shane’s, only to be quietened by Rick who suspects the same, but doesn’t want to think about it now.