Fred W. Hale, Black Mountain, North Carolina
Fred W. Hale, age 87, of Black Mountain, North Carolina died Tuesday July 14, 2020 at his home at Givens Highland Farms nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Born on January 29, 1933 to Arthur and Sylvia Anthony Hale, he was brother to the late Arthur Hale and the late John Hale and to Betsy M.Hale Walega. His birth was in Conway, New Hampshire, home to the world’s first weather observation bureau.
Fred was a proud New England native who inherited a legacy of leadership from his ancestors. They included Rev. John Hale who fought against the misogyny and hysteria of the Salem witch trials and Major Samuel Hale who was granted 1300 acres that became the community of Hale’s Location and who was known for his courageous stand against racism.
Fred grew up on his family farm in Conway and graduated from Kennett High School, Class of 1951. As the star center, he played in the New Hampshire state high school basketball championship game. He went on to graduate from Keene State Teachers College in Keene, NH where he lettered in basketball, baseball, and soccer. At Keene he met and fell in love with Joan M. Wachsmuth, who became his wife.
In 1956, Fred and Joan moved to Fort Bragg, NC where he served a tour of duty with the US Army through 1958. He later served an additional twelve years in the Army Reserve in Concord, NH, earning the rank of Sergeant Major.
After Fred’s tour of duty, in 1958, he and Joan made their home in Goffstown, NH until their move to Hamilton, Massachusetts in 1962, and then later moved to Ipswich, Massachusetts. After Joan’s death, Fred moved to Givens Highland Farms in Black Mountain in November 2017 to be near his son, Steve. In his brief years there, Fred managed to make a lifetime of friends among the staff and his fellow residents and was cherished by all.
Fred was a life-long learner and earned several graduate degrees at Keene State Teachers College and Salem State University in Salem, Massachusetts. He taught school for 42 years, offering classes in industrial arts, mathematics, and science. He also oversaw the high school departments of art, music, and physical education. He was a gifted designer, carpenter, teacher, and administrator. Fred also had a keen interest in family genealogy and researched his and Joan’s family ancestries. His curiosity about local history led to a detailed knowledge of many communities around Hamilton and Wenham as well as nearby communities in New Hampshire. He served as a member of both the Ipswich and Beverly Historical Societies for eighteen years.
Fred and Joan delighted in raising their two sons and shared with them their love of athletics and the outdoors. Many happy days were spent playing tennis, skiing, sailing, hiking, and camping. After retiring from teaching, Fred could be found on the tennis court by seven a.m. five mornings a week with the “Early Birds”. He helped initiate the New England Super Senior USTA Tournament, which he also directed for six years. Still a disciplined athlete in his elder years, Fred earned gold, silver, and bronze medals in the U. S. Senior Games in basketball.
Fred and Joan were active members in the First Church in Wenham (Congregational) in Wenham, Massachusetts, for fifty-six and fifty-five years respectively. Fred served as chair of both the Deacons and the Christian Education Board as well as Church Historian. His responsibilities included teaching many Sunday School classes and organizing numerous activities. Upon moving to North Carolina, Fred joined Montreat Presbyterian Church.
Fred’s gift for caring was extraordinary and was evidenced in his compassionate care of his father-in-law, his mother-in-law, and his own wife of fifty-seven years of marriage as he watched them all slip into dementia. Out of his concern, devotion, and experiences as a caregiver for these family members, Fred helped redesign the Massachusetts state regulations for assisted living.
When Fred moved to North Carolina, he was ill and in mourning, but he was rejuvenated as he found strength and delight in opportunities to serve his new community through the Residents’ Board and in the Woodworking Shop and in his deep and sustaining friendships with neighbors and staff at Highland Farms.
The family is grateful for the loving care of his physicians, the Care Partners’ Hospice McDowell program, the staff of Givens, and the daily encouraging adoration of his beloved Zaida Brown Gilmour. Two sons, Kenneth John Hale of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and Stephen Fred Hale of Black Mountain survive Mr. Hale.
A virtual memorial service is planned with the leadership of Rev. Keith Grogg and Vivian Hare of Montreat Presbyterian Church and Rev. Lynn Bledsoe of Givens Highland Farms. A link to the service will be available beginning Saturday, August 1st at 3:00 p.m. at ashevillemortuaryservices.com and at www.montreatchurch.org. Memorial gifts may be made to Givens Highland Farms Chapel Fund, Attention: Administrative Office, Givens Highland Farms, 200 Tabernacle Road, Black Mountain, NC 28711 or to Montreat Presbyterian Church, P.O. Box 577, Montreat, NC 28757. Asheville Mortuary Services is serving the family.
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