Ron’s middle daughter, Tami, wrote this tribute to be included in the book for his 50th class reunion…
Ronald E. Hale (1946 – 2008)
As we approach six years since Ron Hale’s death, here are a few highlights from the six decades of his life…
In Ron’s first two decades, he labored on his family’s farm, often without “luxuries” like shoes in the summer or heat in the winter. From an early age, he began planning for a better future. By 1970 at age 24, he had already become the first in his family to go to college, married his college sweetheart, joined the Navy as an officer, and completed his first master’s degree.
In the next two decades, he focused on preparing for the future he had planned as a child. By the time he retired as a Navy Commander in 1989, he had completed two more master’s degrees, had three children, and bought the land for his future farm. It required a lot of time away from his home and family, but he knew it would be worth it someday.
In 1992, at age 46, he was finally able to return to the land he loved, and he began growing organic produce and alfalfa hay on 100 acres of land next to his parents’ small farm. He was finally living his dream…briefly. Within 3 years, his mother had died and his father had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Ron spent the rest of the decade trying to get his farming operations going while being his father’s primary caregiver.
The new millennium brought with it new beginnings for Ron. He co-founded the Farmington Farmer’s Market in 2001 and then welcomed his first grandchild in 2003. After having taken care of everyone else in his life, he was free to spend dedicated hours on his many farming experiments, spend time with his new granddaughter, and get involved and even lead a number of organic and slow food initiatives he was passionate about.
In 2007, Ron briefly experienced the joy of his second granddaughter before suffering the tragedy of her death. By June 2008, it seemed the family might be on the verge of a renewal. On Father’s Day June 15, Ron’s son, who had lost a child the year before, announced they were pregnant again. Later that day, Ron got a call from his daughter who was working in Korea, and he was able to catch her up on the latest news, and to let her know how proud he was of her.
Two days later, Ron died at age 61 in a farming accident. In the six years since then, his children have found the strength to continue to grow and prosper, and have added a new granddaughter and grandson to the family. Although we will all carry Ron forever in our hearts, we miss him deeply in our lives.