Dr. Joseph A. Hale, Sr. was a son, a husband, a father, a brother, an uncle, a nephew, and to many, a friend, and devoted to serving God. There was rarely a time that he said the word “no”. He was always ready and available for those who needed his help. He was friendly to everyone he met and gave of his time, heart, and conversation. He was devoted to those he cared for. He dedicated his entire life to his passion in pursuit of teaching and ensuring the education of others.
From humble beginnings, he was born and raised in the community of Boughton, Arkansas on November 13, 1927, to George Henry Hale and Beulah Cross Hale. He was the youngest of seven siblings. He has one living sister Ora Hale Wiley. His other siblings who preceded him in death were his sisters Aristine Hale Young, Sally Hale Armstrong, Rebecca Hale Templeton, Georgia Hale Stephens, and his brother George Henry Hale.
He is survived by his wife of 67 years Doris Strickland Hale, who mourns his home going. His children who mourn his loss and will miss his counsel are, Donita Hale (Raymond) Heaggans, and Sonja Hale (Theodis) Howard, both of Maumelle, AR, Cheryl Hale (Wendell) Young, of Rockwall, TX, and Joseph A. Hale, Jr, of Little Rock. He has 10 grandchildren who have heard his stories of wisdom and listened to his tales of his life and are strengthened because of them. They are Raynard Heaggans, Nicole Hale Canady, Danelle Heaggans Williams, Paige Hale Roberts, Tevis Howard, Joshua Hale, Seles Howard, Daniel Howard, Katherine Hale Elkins, and Alexandria Young. He has 10 great-grandchildren with two more arriving soon who will hear the stories told to them by their parents about their big daddy, the legacy will continue as he would have wanted. Many nephews, nieces, and cousins mourn his departure as well. Be it known that we all will gain strength during this time from his favorite Psalm, Psalm 23.
His Christian faith began at Macedonia Baptist Church, Prescott, Arkansas at an early age where he served as a deacon and as the Sunday School Superintendent. He continued his Christian journey throughout his life, including First Missionary Baptist Church, Marianna, AR in 1974 and moving his membership to Mt. Zion Baptist Church, Little Rock, AR in 1978, becoming a deacon and serving an active role in teaching church classes, committee service, a member of Laymans, and singing in the choir on Men’s day wholeheartedly. He was a faithful and dutiful servant to our Lord and Savior.
Dr. Joseph A. Hale was a native of Prescott, Arkansas. He was very proud of his ancestors and where he came from and supported the family continuously. His educational journey started at the Nevada County Training School in Rosston, Arkansas. He always told every one of the many miles he had to walk to and from school every day. This made him even more determined to obtain his education and push forward. He went on to receive a Bachelors of Science Degree in Mathematics from the University of Arkansas, Pine Bluff (formerly Arkansas AM&N); a Masters in Secondary Education and Administration from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville and an Ed.D in Developmental Education with a concentration in Student Personnel Services from Grambling State University, Grambling, Louisiana.
His accomplishments are long and extensive. He worked tirelessly following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather. Working on civil rights issues in Arkansas, he was NAACP Youth President in 1941, he worked to attain a charter for the Boy Scout Troop 101 in Lewisville, Aransas, and also worked to provide instruction in mathematics for traditional and non-traditional students. He was the coach for the football and basketball program at McRae High School as well as serving as their Principal. He moved to Prescott High School as Vice-Principal after-school integration. During his years working at Ouachita Baptist University in the ATAC division, he worked with more than 216 biracial school districts. He was instrumental in the smooth transition for integration of the public school system in the state of Arkansas. He worked tirelessly to make the transition as easy as possible for his children and countless others. His work is evident in his own family. In later years, he was Principal at Lee High School, in Marianna, Arkansas, and Vice-Principal at Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. He provided motivation to countless students and mentored students to achieve academically, socially, and athletically. He was the first coach for Paul Silas of the Boston Celtics who went on to win five championship NBA rings.
Even after his retirement he continued to work at Arkansas Baptist College and volunteered in the community. His philanthropic endeavors and service to his community can be seen from Prescott to Lee County to Little Rock as well as at UAPB. He was a member of the Little Rock Kiwanis International and provided support to the Southern Poverty Law Center and countless other organizations. Never at loss for friends are words of wisdom to those who needed it, he had a way of getting to know everyone he met and making sure he knew their history as well as sharing his own with them. One place he loved to be was in front of a podium giving a speech and sharing his belief and faith in God.
One of many awards and accolades over the years include Dr. Hale, being honored at the 24th National Conference of Blacks in Higher Education which was sponsored by the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NAFEO) in 1999. He was the recipient of countless awards and accolades from grateful organizations and civic groups. He received the Retirement Award from the LRSD for Outstanding Service, the Golden Lions Awards for Outstanding Member Support, a Declaration and Appreciation Award from the McRae High School Class of 1960, an appreciation certificate for support and assistance in the founding the Lee High School Gentlemen’s 30 Club and a Certificate of Appreciation from the University of Arkansas, Pine Bluff for participation in the 1988 Youth Institutional Task Force Program.
He held membership in the National Education Association, the Nation Association for Secondary School Principals, Phi Delta Kappa, The National Alliance for Black School Educators, The Little Rock Roundtable, and the Masonic Lodge. Other memberships included the Arkansas Teachers Association, Member of the Letter A Club (UAPB), the Little Rock UAPB Alumni, and Omega Psi Phi Fraternity. He served as President for numerous organizations and served on many committees. He worked tirelessly to preserve the legacy of his most beloved school McRae High School, to preserve the history and legacy of the Jeans Supervisor Teachers.
He enjoyed spending time with family and friends and was always up for a good laugh. He will be missed by everyone who knew him, family, and friends. He leaves behind a legacy of love of family and a lifetime of deep commitment to the service to others. It was truly a job well done and now he can rest with our heavenly father in the joy of his love and grace.
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