Death of Edith Marie Hale

hale-edithmarie1Edith “Edie” Marie Hale was born on 11 August 1906, the first daughter and 2nd of 10 children to Effie Allen Rice Hale and Henry Orville Hale. She was the older sister to my grandmother (Audrey Vellence Hale); by all accounts she and Audrey were very close. At the age of 16, Edie and another student were the first two graduates of Winding Gulf High School (West Virginia) in 1922, two full years ahead of her older brother Orville.

hale-edithmarie2She then became an elementary school teacher for a time at the Stotesbury School in Raleigh County, despite her very young age, and later at Mark Twain High School.
She took college courses in the summers at Marshall College and Beckley College, and eventually moved to South Charleston where she held several different positions over the years.

hale-edith-workingforDrEckmanOne of the more memorable positions (at least for me and my family) was as a medical assistant to Dr. Leonard Eckman in about 1943 or so; Dr. Eckman was a general practitioner who happened to serve our family; he delivered my brother, me and several others in the family in addition to being the general family doctor for many different folks over the years.

Edie teamed up with her brother Christy Mathewson Hale (named for the famous baseball player) in 1943 and they managed to finance a small home for their parents in Charleston, allowing Henry and Effie to finally retire from farm life while they finished their youngest son Don. She married Phil Spangler in 1951 and they moved to Florida for several years, and then to Ohio.

hale-edith-death-page1On February 14, 1959, Edie was traveling from Ohio to WV with a friend and the friend’s four children when their car slid off the road into the Poca river; all six occupants drowned. Edie’s nephew David Farley (my uncle) was a reporter for the Charleston paper when he got a call to cover the story; David ended up identifying Edie for the family. Here is the full newspaper article. Needless to say this was a devastating loss for the Hale family. Edie was a favorite sister, favorite aunt, favorite friend. I never knew Edie, but certainly her family reputation makes me regret never having that opportunity to connect with this truly special person. (Part of me even regrets bringing up what are still painful memories for some folks, even after almost 60 years.)

I know some readers of this blog have their own memories of Edie, and/or recollections shared by others in the family that have been handed down over the years. Hope they will share those as comments to this post or to me directly so that we can find a way to share them.

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