Hale Ashcraft slipped the surly bonds of Earth as a result of natural causes at his Lakeside home on Sunday, March 14, 2010. Hale was two weeks shy of his 90th birthday and he was vibrantly active up until the day of his departure. He was born on March 28, 1920, in Portland, Ind., to Wheeler and Mary Nell Ashcraft.
Always the consummate go-getter, his passion for life beginning at an early age; Hale operated his first commercial enterprise when he was only 16. As the proprietor of a full-service gas station in the mid-1930s, he learned the value of good communication and solid customer service.
Pearl Harbor resounded across America and duty called. Hale served his country honorably in the Army Air Corps during WWII. Hale and the veterans of his day, made an invaluable contribution to the lifestyle that America still enjoys. After the war, his enthusiasm, ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit forged a purpose that would remain throughout his life. He advanced his knowledge by owning and operating a profitable Ford-Lincoln-Mercury dealership. It was during that period he gained a taste for politics that would eventually lead him to California in 1955.
In 1962, Hale was elected to the California State Assembly. Upon expiration of his term, Governor Ronald Reagan appointed Hale to the Worker’s Compensation Appeals Board in 1966, a post he held for 10 years. In 1972 Hale was selected as the Delegate to National Republican Convention in San Francisco. Ever the capable campaigner, Hale aided and successfully achieved the road for many in their bid for public office. His ability to comprehend and understand the periphery of the political stage made him a very savvy consultant. In some camps he was actually considered a “kingmaker” because of his uncanny ability to skillfully manage election campaigns. Hale continued an active participation in local politics to the day of his passing.
Hale’s talents went far beyond the political arena as he was incredibly apt in his charming ability to make friends and with no guile he would just as easily win their confidence. Hale had the innate quality of connecting with people in a natural way. His genuine personality coupled with a relaxed and casual style made him a coveted friend and endeared him to many, many folks.
He was a Patriot, believed in the Republican Party ideals, a successful businessman, husband and father. To say he will be missed is a vast understatement. He was larger than life and filled the shoes of someone who impacted and enriched the lives of everyone who knew him personally.
Hale married Jean Beach in 1942 and had seven children: Jim and Alyce Ashcraft of Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.; Phil Ashcraft of San Diego, Calif.; Mark and Coleen Ashcraft of Sacramento, Calif.; Camille Ashcraft of Solana Beach, Calif.; Jess and Jan of Post Falls, Idaho; Nick Ashcraft of Vista, Calif.; and Ann Ashcraft of Cardiff-by-the-Sea, Calif.
In 1970, Hale married Nita Wentner Ashcraft, the former Asst Secretary of the Air Force under Gerald Ford.
Hale retired to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, in 1976 and was a co-founder of the Spokane River Association.
Hale later married Jeannine Ashcraft in 1988. After Jeannine retired as the Kootenai County Treasurer in 2001, they moved to Flathead Lake at Lakeside, Mont. There they enjoyed 21 years of marital bliss.
Hale had a keen affection for his pets and could be seen regularly doting over his “furry children.”
Hale was preceded in death by his son, Phil in 2009 and his beloved wife, Jeannine in 2008.
Hale leaves behind six children, 16 grandchildren, six great-grandchildren and scores of exceptional friendships. To know him was a delight, to grieve for him… a privilege.
At his request, cremation and no public services will be held. Johnson-Gloschat Funeral Home has been entrusted with the care of the final arrangements.
PLEASE, no flowers. Contributions can be made to the West Shore Community Library in Lakeside or the Flathead Animal Shelter.
Johnson-Gloschat Funeral Home is caring for Hale’s family. You are invited to go to www.jgfuneralhome.com to offer condolences and view Hale’s tribute wall.