(On this date, October 16, 2013, the Osborne County Hall of Fame is pleased to present to the world for the first time anywhere the fifth and last member of the OCHF Class of 2013)
Herman Darrell “Joe” Hale was born April 12, 1925, in Woodston, Rooks County, Kansas, the third of four children born to Carl Raymond Hale and Mayme E. (Dunn) Hale. Joe was baptized in the United Methodist Church, at Downs, Kansas, where he served as captain of the football and basketball teams and playing baritone in the school band. The football team distinguished itself his senior year with a perfect record – unbeaten, untied, and unscored-upon.
After high school graduation in 1943 Joe enlisted in the U.S. Navy during World War II. He rose to the rank of Lieutenant Junior Grade, Service and Supply Ship, in the Pacific theater until his discharge in 1946. Joe then attended the University of Kansas at Lawrence on the G.I. Bill and graduated in 1949 with a bachelor’s degree in business. Joe began work with the John Deere Company and later moved to Salina, Kansas, where he later worked for the Douglass Candy Company. In 1951, he met and married Joyce Vanier. Together they raised six children.
That same year, Joe joined Joyce’s father’s Western Star Mill Company in Salina, where he became vice president. The Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM) in Decatur, Illinois, purchased Western Star in 1970. Two years later, Joe was named president of ADM Milling Company. He became company chairman in 1989 and retired in 1996. Joe was credited with building the company into a world-wide leader in the flour and grain milling industry.
Related to his field, Joe served as president of both Millers’ National Federation and the American Corn Millers Federation, now both part of the North American Millers Association (NAMA). He was an honorary lifetime member of NAMA.
Joe also was chairman of the board of Sunflower Bank; president of Star A, a ranching and farming operation; and vice president of the American Royal Association. He served as a director of the following companies – Archer Daniels Midland, Commerce Bancshares, and Lyons Manufacturing Company. Other directorships Joe held included the Wheat Industry Council, the National Pasta Association, the American Baking Association, the Biscuit and Cracker Manufacturers Association, the American Institute of Baking, and St. John’s Military School.
Joe was a founding member of the Rolling Hills Congregational Church in Salina. He was a member of the Saddle and Sirloin Club, Mission Hills Country Club, Garden of the Gods Club, Vanguard Club, Man of the Month Club, and the Kansas City Club. He was a former member of the Wolfcreek Golf Club, Oxbow Hunting Club, Equity Investment Club, Country Cousins, Privy Council, and the Black Sheep baking industry organization.
Joe supported many institutions throughout his life, and his support was honored through several lasting legacies both large and small: the fences around the Downs City Park and the Downs Cemetery in Downs, Kansas; the Hale Arena at the American Royal in Kansas City, Missouri; the Hale Achievement Center and Hale Music Media Center at the University of Kansas; and the Hale Library at Kansas State University.
“Joe graduated from the University of Kansas, but several of his children went to K-State. He wanted to do something for K-State. His support had to be directly for students, so he contributed to a directly oriented student project that became Hale Library as we know it today. He and his wife, Joyce, came forward in 1992 as anonymous donors for the major portion of the $5 million in private funding needed to build the library. They are the reason that we finally have a facility that can accommodate the students at K-State.” – Brice Hobrock, Dean of KSU Libraries, 1999.
Gary Hellebust, president and CEO of the KSU Foundation, also said in 1999 that Hale was a true supporter of academics and was an inquisitive, intelligent person. “He was a bigger-than-life character. He was warm, but somewhat reserved – very inquisitive. He wanted to learn just so he would know and increase his awareness.” He was very pro-academic and wanted to support the library because he felt it would be supporting all academics at K-State and not just one part.”
H. D. “Joe” Hale passed away November 20, 1999 at St. Joseph Health Center in Kansas City, Missouri. He was 77 years old. His impact and generosity will influence many future generations to come.