March 17, 1920 – March 9, 2014
Hale was born in Seattle, Washington, on Saint Patrick’s Day, 1920, the second son of Burt and Hazel. Burt was an instructor in economics at the University of Washington and Hazel was a school teacher. Soon the family moved to a 360-acre dry wheat farm outside Goldendale, Washington. He was in his second year at the University of Washington when he joined the U.S. Army Air Corp. During World War II, he flew B-26 Marauders on 68 combat missions over France, Germany, and the Low Countries. Hale’s unit, the 553rd Squadron of the 386th Bomb Group, 9th Air Force, was so highly respected that on D-Day they were chosen to fly the final bombing runs over the Germans on Utah Beach as our troops were landing on the beach below. In 2011, Hale received “rock-star” treatment at the D-Day dedication of a new museum wing at Utah Beach devoted to the brave contributions of the B-26 crews. Hale married the former Marge Perkins in 1951, and they made their home in Seattle, where Hale worked for Boeing. During the Korean Conflict Hale was recalled to the now-U.S. Air Force to train bomber pilots. After returning safely from his second war, Hale stopped flying at Margie’s request. In 1953, their only child, Lynne, was born, and they moved to Reno to operate a data processing company. In 1959 they moved to Carson City where Hale started an illustrious career with the State of Nevada. He was hired to set up the new data processing center for the Department of Motor Vehicles, and was, for many years, the DMV’s Chief of Registration and Titling. Hale often represented his Department before the State legislature, and he enjoyed friendships with many of Nevada’s leaders. His last position was as Director of the Department of Data Processing. During the family’s many happy years in Carson City, Hale also enjoyed bowling and four-wheeling, and was for many years the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Carson-Tahoe Hospital. He lost Margie to cancer in 1982. In 1987 he married Kay. They enjoyed a loving marriage and partnership for 26 years. Kay is a former member of the Carson City Board of Supervisors from 1988-2000. Hale and Kay then moved to Silver Springs in 2000 to build the Silver Springs Airport from an abandoned airstrip. Hale’s love of flying never left him, and he shared many air adventures with Kay (also a pilot), his family and friends. Kay and Hale have continued their participation in Carson City and Silver Springs community affairs. Hale is survived by his wife, Kay; his daughter, Lynne; and one grandchild. He was also survived by Kay’s children; his first wife, Margie’s, extended family; and his brother, Norm’s, children, Doug and Shelley Bennett. Hale died just days before his 94th birthday at home at the Silver Springs Airport surrounded by aircraft, family and friends, and under the care of Saint Mary’s Hospice. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Young Eagles, a program bringing young people to the excitement and opportunities of aviation. Donations made through any Wells Fargo Bank to “The Memorial Fund for Hale B. Bennett” will be passed to the local Young Eagles Chapter 1073. There will be a Memorial Gathering at the Silver Springs Airport April 26, 2014.