Obituary: Colin Hale, a dedicated family man with a love for adventure

Colin Hale was farewelled on Friday following a service at Inglewood's St Andrew's Church.
Robert Charles

Colin Hale was farewelled on Friday following a service at Inglewood's St Andrew's Church.

He survived two plane crashes, built more than 100 homes and served his community for many decades.

But among his host of achievements, Colin Eric Hale will be remembered by his family and friends for his unconditional love, his endless support and his unwavering work ethic.

Hale died peacefully at his home on August 7. He was 84.

On Friday, the father of four, stepfather of six and grandfather of 18 was farewelled by hundreds during a funeral service held at St Andrew's Anglican Church in Inglewood.

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Born in 1932, Hale lived with his family in New Plymouth before they moved to Tarakawa, a small district between Stratford and Taumarunui, when he was aged seven.

He attended primary school in Puniwhakau and then secondary school in Stratford, before taking up a joinery apprenticeship with Boon Brothers, who were based in the central Taranaki town.

By 1953, Hale had made the move to Inglewood and two years later started his own building business there.

Known simply as Colin Hale Builder,  Frank Klenner said his friend's reputation as a top quality tradesman was well-known in the area.

He said Hale would have personally built about 130 homes during the course of his career.

As team mates from the Inglewood Bowling Club, Klenner said Hale's loss would be keenly felt by all its members. Hale had been a member of the bowling club for more than 30 years.

"He was such a fine man," Klenner said.

"He was a very well-respected person of our community for many, many years. 

"I'm going to miss him, that's for real," Klenner said.

Hale married his first wife Thelma in 1957 and the couple had four children: Kelvin, Dellwyn, Peter and Scott. After 37 years of marriage, Thelma died in 1994.

He then met and married Frances Joyce in 1995.

Hale's oldest son Kelvin delivered the eulogy at Friday's service and spoke of his father's unconditional love, his honest and straightforward manner and his strong work ethic.

Along with running his own business, Hale was involved in Rotary and served on the Inglewood Borough Council for 12 years. 

Hale took up flying as a hobby during his 30s but after two plane crashes - one in New Plymouth and the other in Whangamata - he decided to give it up.

St Andrew's Church also played a large role in Hale's life.  Along with being a committee member and odd-job man there later in life, he also helped to build the church's hall in 1960.

In July 2013, he fronted media coverage after the bell was stolen from the church's belfry. One of Hale's weekly duties up until his death was to ring the bell after the Sunday service.

Sister Colleen Cheyne said along with Hale's strong sense of faith and duty, he had a keen sense of adventure.

She said exploring was often high on her brother's agenda, including many trips to the top of Mt Taranaki in order to watch the sun rise. 

He also liked to travel, traversing much of New Zealand with his wife Frances, in their campervan.

"He travelled just about every road in New Zealand," Cheyne said.

Family was very important to him too.

"He was so much part of the family - he was one of us. I'm just going to miss him being there," she said. 

Hale is survived by wife Frances, his children and grandchildren.

 - Stuff

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