Dear Steve, Robert and Dave,
Although Uncle Bob’s death was expected, it has touched us deeply, in ways we didn’t fully anticipate. Dean is grateful for the opportunity to visit with him and Aunt Dots in Newark several years ago, and wishes he could have seen more of Uncle Bob over the years to get to know him better.
We mostly saw Uncle Bob at family funerals, sad times with limited opportunity. But we also have a happier memory, a wonderful one, of your parents at our daughter’s baptism in Gettysburg. Even though that was 27 years ago (!), it remains a cherished memory because of all who gathered together: Russ and Phyllis, Bob and Chic, Dots and Owen, Doug and Liz, Cindy's sister and her husband, and Lydia’s godmother. We were thoroughly delighted that so many of the family could join us. And Russ did the baptizing! It was a truly magnificent day. Uncle Bob kept our fidgety four-year-old son entertained with magic tricks, pulling coins out of his ear, and held Lydia like the old pro he was, keeping her charmed and content. The siblings – Russ, Dots and Bob – were obviously pleased to see each other, and much good conversation and reminiscence accompanied the celebratory cake. We only wish we had taken greater advantage of the occasion by asking more and listening better.
We have experienced the deaths of our parents, especially the second death, as a unique loss when that last connection is broken; kind of like shifting gears without the clutch. Our caring thoughts are very much with you in negotiating that loss.
Dean and Cindy, Christopher and Lydia
Uncle Bob will be missed. He was witty, fun, a good storyteller and fine person. He was a good writer and had a special way with words. I am so glad that I got to visit him a few years ago. My condolences. Joanne Hale Lazar
Steve (middle of three sons ) wrote, "Since Dad practiced medicine his entire working life and retired in Lafayette Hill, I thought some of my fellow high school graduates and/or their families could likely have been patients." Debbie Elias-Smith wrote, "I’m so sorry for your loss. Your dad was my family’s doctor for many years. He was kind, caring, and (my mom always said) a great diagnostician. My mom would tell the story of how he became our doctor. It was 1962 and we had just moved to Plymouth Meeting from New Jersey. I had been very ill earlier in the year. Soon after our move, I got very sick and spiked a high fever. She was afraid I had come down with rheumatic fever. We had no doctor to call and somehow, she found your dad. He came to our house to see and treat me. My mom was always grateful. In our home, Dr. Hale was known as good doctor and a good man. May his memory be a blessing always. Dale Zuck (we were both on the high school track team; shot put, 880 & Mile respectively) wrote, "Steve, so sorry for your loss. I remember my dad visiting your dad's office, way back when." Anne Stevenson Smith wrote, "My sympathy. He was a community fixture." With the help of Cindy Hale and Joanne Hale Lazur and a file of family letters over the years, I did my best to summarize Dad's life. I found confirmation of the story we heard as young kids about Dad building balsa wood rubber band powered gliders sailing around the Lansdowne church (St. Paul's Lutheran?). Brother Bob, Jr. and I tried to replicate these construction of such glider craft with Dad's coaching but our never attained similar flight worthiness nor the "legendary stature" of the Lansdowne craft. However, the eariler flights were confirmed in a letter to Aunt Eleanor during the time around Uncle Giff's passing (see handwritting excerpt from letter)