Albert Longley Hale

Apr 10, 2019

Albert Longley Hale, a long-time resident of Berkeley Heights, New Jersey, died at the age of 92 after a short illness, on Tuesday, 10 April 2019, in his home at the University Retirement Community in Davis, CA.

Born in 1926 in Pixley, CA, Albert was part of a large family and worked on the family farm during the Great Depression, then went on to earn a doctorate at the University of California at Berkeley, training as a mechanical engineer.

Meanwhile, he and Virginia Taylor Sparrowe met at a Glee Club party celebrating the end of  World War II, and were married in 1946. 

In 1956, they moved with their growing family to Berkeley Heights, NJ, where they lived for over 50 years. He worked for Bell Labs until his retirement in1991, developing methods for laying transatlantic and fiber optic cable. He also had a 70-year association with Dr. J.L. Meriam, author of Engineering Mechanics. Starting when he was a grad student and continuing until his death, Albert checked for accuracy every problem in every edition of the classic two-volume engineering textbook.

Virginia and Albert were active members of the NAACP and the civil rights movement, attending marches including the Poor People's March in Washington, DC shortly after Dr. Martin Luther King's assassination, and were politically active in several presidential campaigns, including for Senator McGovern in 1972.

When his wife Virginia was on the board of the Union County Psychiatric Clinic (later renamed to UCPC Behavioral Healthcare) from 1990-2008, he assisted and supported her, their family having received UCPC’s help when their younger son was diagnosed with childhood schizophrenia in 1959.

At the age of 83, he and Virginia moved from New Jersey back to California, to the University Retirement Community (URC) in Davis, CA, where he transformed from a shy person into a social butterfly. He threw himself whole-heartedly into volunteer work, active on several committees, proofreading the community newsletter, and showing movies twice a week at URC. He also volunteered for the California Continuing Care Residents Association (CALCRA), managing membership dues for 25,000 members throughout the state of CA. He also enjoyed play-reading and was an avid bicycler until age 91.

He is survived by his daughters, Eileen Adele Hale of Grass Valley, CA, and Susanne Elizabeth Hale of Colrain, MA; his grandchildren, Melissa Winogrand Atkinson of Los Angeles, CA, Alison Bradshaw Hale of Charlestown, MA, and Isaac Hale of Brookline, MA; and his great-grandchildren Zachary and Benjamin Atkinson of Los Angeles, CA. He is predeceased by his wife of 71 years, Virginia Taylor (Sparrowe) Hale, and his sons, Peter Douglas Hale and Roger Lathrop Hale. 

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, 6 July 2019 at 2pm in URC’s Auditorium, 1515 Shasta Drive, Davis, CA.

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