Tribute to my Grandfather, Ohio Legislator

Rev. Dr. Phale D. Hale, Sr.

Taking a moment to remember Rev. Dr. Phale D. Hale, Sr. – my grandfather who was a pioneer in many areas. He was elected to the Ohio House of Representatives in 1966 and served for 14 years before retiring undefeated in 1980. He retired upon the appointment of President Clinton to the Democratic National Committee and another appointment by the Governor to the Ohio Civil Rights Commission. He also founded and presided over two NAACP chapters in Ohio and founded the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus.

He was a classmate with Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at Morehouse College – in a day and time when blacks could not stay at hotels, the Morehouse network was strong. Former President Benjamin Elijah Mays and Dr. King both stayed with my grandparents whenever travels brought them through Ohio. He graduated in 1940 and was President of the SGA; also courted and married my grandmother, A Spelman graduate – 1944.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve found myself growing very concerned about the state of our nation and the direction of our leadership. Part of me has an itch to get into politics and make a difference, which makes me wish I would have had the opportunity to sit and talk more with him about his personal experiences as a civil rights leader and a state legislator. As frustrated as I and we get now, I’m sure things were ten times worse in his day. Below is an official resolution from the Ohio State Senate:


Senator Miller, R.
In memory of the Reverend Dr. Phale D. Hale, Sr.

WHEREAS, The members of the Senate of the 128th General Assembly of Ohio offer our profound sympathies to the to the relatives and friends of the Reverend Dr. Phale D. Hale, Sr., in their bereavement; and

WHEREAS, A remarkable person who experienced joy, understood kindness and loyalty, and knew how to communicate his beliefs and share his strengths, Phale Hale confronted challenges and faced adversity with an admirable spirit. Indeed, he was a truly unforgettable man whose words and actions endeared him to everyone who knew him, including his wife, Cleo, and his four children, Janice, Phale, Marna, and Hilton; and

WHEREAS, A former pastor for churches in Georgia and Indiana, Phale Hale served as the spiritual leader of Union Grove Baptist Church for forty-three years, and he was elected to the Ohio House of Representatives in 1966, serving until his appointment to the Ohio Civil Rights Commission in 1980. To his credit, he was instrumental in the establishment of two local NAACP chapters and the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus, and he was involved with several civil groups, including the Elks, the Free and Accepted Masons, the American Baptist Theological Seminary, and the Social Action Commission of the Ohio Baptist General Convention; and

WHEREAS, Intense sorrow is virtually inescapable when someone we care for dies, and our anguish is a measure of our enduring affection for the departed. How fortunate we are that mourners can find respite from their desolation by recalling happier times and circumstances and that we have that capacity for resilience, for there is welcome serenity in our gratitude for the blessed pleasure, however temporary, of each other’s company; therefore be it

RESOLVED, That we, the members of the Senate of the 128th General Assembly of Ohio, in adopting this Resolution, salute the memory of a truly fine Ohioan, the Reverend Dr. Phale D. Hale, Sr.; and be it further

RESOLVED, That the Clerk of the Senate transmit duly authenticated copies of this Resolution to the family of the Reverend Dr. Phale D. Hale, Sr.

I, Vincent L. Keeran, hereby certify that the above is a true and correct copy of Senate Resolution No. 61, adopted by the Ohio Senate, June 6, 2009.

Vincent L. Keeran
Clerk of the Senate
Ohio State Legislature
African American Legislators


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