A Tribute To My Father, Russell Hale. By Matt Hale, P.M.E.


A Tribute to my Father, Russell Hale Jr

by Reverend Matt Hale, Pontifex Maximus Emeritus

Dear friends,

It is with great grief that I must report to you the death of my beloved father, Russell Hale Jr. On April 23rd, four days ago at the time of this writing. Please allow me to share my thoughts about this fine man who meant so much to me and whom I loved so dearly.

My father and I were especially close because he is the one who raised me when my parents divorced when I was nine years old. For many years it was just he and I in our house, my three brothers and mother living elsewhere. It is my father who gave my reverence for nature and her creatures. It is my father who gave me my early and lasting love for music and who brought home my first rented violin, telling me to treat it too with reverence. It is my father who instilled in me a deep sense of justice which culminated in my going to law school. It is my father who imparted to me a love for all knowledge and learning. It is my father who taught me the value of being kind and the importance of being wise. It is my father who gave me a sense of ethics. It is my father who taught me the value of self-control. He used to tell me that “only a fool loses his temper” and “do not worry about things you cannot control”, sayings of his along with others that I have tried to employ all my life. He never took from anyone but only gave. He asked for so little but gave so much. He was quick to forgive and loath to hold a grudge. You could absolutely count on him always to do what he said he was going to do. My father, in short was the best man I have ever known. He was with me in all my struggles and was loyal to me and my innocence to the end. I wish I could do so much more for him than say these few words!

As a career policeman in our hometown of East Peoria, he was respected by all. He was proud of his work and we, my brothers and I, were proud of him. Even the criminals respected him because he was always fair. He did not apply the law with a heavy hand but rather always with a view towards true justice, and if that meant giving a guy a break, he would not hesitate to do so. His badge was always the shiniest I ever saw and he took the policeman’s motto of “to protect and serve” very much to heart.

My father was always there for me. I cannot in fact, think of a single time he wasn’t. He called me, when I was growing up, his “little professor” and his “pride and joy” boy. Throughout my childhood and beyond, he would sing to me the following little song: “he’s my guy, I do care what he does. For he’s my guy, he is and always was.”

He was not bashful about his love for me even when I myself was. While he could be stern, you somehow knew that was for the best and that his kindness would reassert itself shortly. He was there when I pitched my greatest baseball game (sixteen strikeouts, no walks). He was there when I finally learned how to ride a bicycle. He was there when I played my one and only violin solo with full orchestra in concert. How far I had come since the days when he had to endure the pitiful squeaking that had been so hard on his ears. And yet he never complained, never uttered a word of discouragement, his endurance turning into joy as I became better, him often exclaiming “Bravo! Bravo!” at the conclusion of my playing.

When I became a public figure as a pro white activist in 1990, he was concerned for my safety, yes, but he at the same time deeply believed that I had the right to chart my own destiny and be who I wanted to be. Trials and tribulations came our way but we surmounted them all. Probably he his proudest moment for me came in 1998 when I graduated from law school. Long after my present predicament, he would polish my class ring in preparation for my hopeful return.

My arrest and conviction on hideously false charges in 2003-4 was devastating to him, as you might imagine. Our respective backgrounds as a policeman and a lawyer, coupled with the special bond between us, made the charges against me especially hurtful. The denial of my Illinois law license had been bad enough but of course this was much worse. He believed very deeply in the concept of law and could not believe that such a twisting of the law could be happening to me. He and my mother visited me in Chicago after my arrest as often as allowed, making the seven hour round trip as a matter of course. He was always there for me at my trial and there for me at my sentencing just as he had always been there for me before that.

Many times I would make my once allowed call to him from my prison cell and the first thing he would say to me is “when are you coming home?” even in his old age (he was nearly 79 when he passed), this was the thought that dominated his mind. He never doubted that I would be vindicated but only grieved over the long delay in that occurring. Then you can imagine how happy he was when he and I spoke on March 25th and I was able to give him the great news that the court of appeals had agreed to hear my case! I told him to be prepared to hear a hell of a lot of violin playing when I come home and that we would be making up for our lost time together. This is perhaps my greatest sadness of all, that he was unable to see me free once again, that this long fight finally outlasted him. I am glad to have given him the news that we were back in court and things in fact were looking up for us. This is the last conversation that I was able to have with him. He told me that he was very proud of me and I told him I was a chip off his block. I maintain that opinion today: if I am deemed a good man, I know that is largely consequence of the great father that I was fortunate to be blessed with. I just wish that I could have returned home in time and cannot help but believe that my father would be alive and well today had I been able to do so years ago.

The fight for my vindication goes on, my father’s devotion to that in no way was lessened by his passing, If there is one thing that both he and my mother instilled in me, it is to never give up that which is right and I assure you that the lesson has remained etched on my heart and mind.

Let me close with a little poem that I composed a couple years ago:

Wise and just is my dad,
That he’s my father and I am so glad,
My greatest teacher, my truest star,
With me near and with me far.

He remains with me, always.
Russell Hale Jr April 30, 1933 to April 23, 2012
please visit his obituary at www.remmertfuneralhome.com.

Rev. Matt Hale. P.M.E.
27th of April 39AC (2012)


Rev. Dr. Matt Hale, P.M.E.

Sgt. Russell Hale