Esther Mae Hale

Esther Mae Hale, age 90 of Oklahoma City, passed away August 2nd 2020 at her daughter Sheila’s home surrounded by Sheila, two of her granddaughters, and four of her great grandchildren.

She was born May 12th 1930 in Onida, South Dakota to Anna and Ralph Dunkelberger.  She had three sisters, Edna Huckins, Darlene Stritecky, and Alice Boyle.

She married the love of her life Allen William Hale II on September 14th 1948.  She met him while working for his mother Dr. Gladys Hale.  Together, they had five children and worked like a well oiled machine to achieve a life together of 59 years full of love, laughter, a large close knit family, wonderful lifelong friends, adventure, prosperity, and gratitude.

Esther had great strength, a deep love, and fortitude.  As a young mother she worked as a nurse, took care of her four young children while she cared for senior residents in her home.  She treated these residents as family.  In addition, she managed to participate in bowling leagues, belong to extension clubs, shopped, made clothing for her 4 girls and their dolls, had the kids in 4-H, gardened, canned, handled a mail run, and still spent time with friends over coffee.

The family moved to Sturgis, South Dakota where she decided to attend college to work on her degree.  In addition to going to school, she worked for the newspaper prior to starting a civil service position with the Veterans Administration Hospital.  She also gave birth to her 5th child, a son.  Friends teased her that just because she was going to college with the younger kids didn’t mean she had to act like them.

Three years later they moved to Holbrook, Arizona.  She continued going to college and worked for the Forest Service.  She continued with bowling leagues.  She joined the Elks with Allen.  She loved socializing and loved dancing.  She and Allen loved to Waltz and dance to their favorite song “For the Good Times”.

Five years later they would move to Thailand. This was an adventure of a life time.  Allen worked 500 miles away and came home every other weekend.  For a small town girl from Onida, it was quite heroic to live with two children half a world away from home not speaking the language, not having a car, and having both kid’s bussed to opposite sides of the city to the International Schools of Bangkok.  She continued to work towards her degree and continued her civil service career working for JUST/MAG MAC/THAI, and developing wonderful friendships with people from multiple countries.

One year later they would move to Aurora, Colorado. She continued her civil service career at the Air Force Finance and Accounting Center and finally finished college and received her Bachelor’s degree at age 52.  After receiving her degree her career moved forward quickly with several promotions.  After she retired in 1994, she and Allen left town that same afternoon in their motor home, traveling nonstop throughout the U.S. visiting old friends and making new friendships and wonderful memories.  One trip to Oregon she told Allen to drive through this campground to see if they knew anyone.  Low and behold they found some friends in that campground that they had met traveling on the East coast years earlier.  When they stopped traveling, she became very involved as a lady Elk and with the Eagles.

Esther was a character like no other.  She always had a story to tell, or a saying that would make people laugh, or a story of being on third base at a Blackjack table in a casino she had visited.  She never met a stranger.  She was straight forward with everyone and you always knew where you stood.  She connected with people easily and held her friends as tight as her family.  She was a beautiful woman with a beautiful heart and beautiful soul.  We feel fortunate to have years of wonderful memories of her and with her.

She is survived by her children Terry Barden (Rod), Vicki Hicks (Chuck), Gloria Benish, Sheila Dolan, Allen Hale III, ten grand children, eleven great grandchildren, one great great grandchild with another on the way, two siblings (Alice Boyle and Darlene Stritecky), and seven nieces and nephews.

She is predeceased by her husband Allen Hale II, her parents Anna and Ralph, her sister Edna Huckins, her nephew Edgar Boyle, her son-in-law Kirk Benish, and her mother-in-law Dr. Gladys Hale.

A memorial will be held at a future time due to Covid-19.  At that time, she will be laid to rest with Allen at the Black Hills National Cemetery.  For more information you may contact Sheila Dolan at 5105 SE 45th Place, Oklahoma City, OK 73135.

We would like to thank all of her family and friends for loving and caring for her.  You all meant the world to her.  We would also like to thank Quality Hospice Care of Oklahoma for guiding us through this process with such care.

Something I believe she would tell all of you if she could, “I’d do it all again with you”.