When Anne Hale told a story, people listened. Most of her tales were steeped in all things Southern, of people, places and peculiarities that shaped the region's identity.
Born in Americus, she was the only child of parents who were educated elsewhere before returning home. Her late mother, Quenelle Harrold, graduated from Agnes Scott College and earned a master's degree in European history from Columbia University. Her late father, Frank Sheffield Jr., studied at the Tobias Matthay Piano School in London and returned to Americus.
A private pilot, Mr. Sheffield retired from banking early and flew around the U.S. to go boating and fishing. Often a young Mrs. Hale was by his side.
"She grew up with a father who was a storyteller," said a son, Sheffield Hale of Atlanta. "She could do the voices and she had great delivery and timing. I can't tell you how many people have come up to me and told me that they would line up to hear her stories."
On May 30, Anne Sheffield Hale of Atlanta died from a suspected abdominal aortic aneurysm on the family farm in Marengo County, Ala. She was 76. A graveside service at the family cemetery in Alabama and a memorial service at All Saints Episcopal Church in Atlanta have been held.
At 16, Mrs. Hale graduated from high school in Americus and enrolled at Sweet Briar College, a liberal arts college for women in Virginia. She graduated cum laude in 1954 with a bachelor's degree in history. She eventually moved to Atlanta and for two years each she wrote advertising copy for Rich's and taught history at Murphy High School.
In 1959, she married Bradley Hale, then a young attorney at the law firm of King & Spalding. After marriage, Mrs. Hale raised two children and supported various civic and intellectual endeavors.
She served on the board of the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving, based at Georgia Southwestern University in Americus. She also served on the board of the Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts near Washington, D.C., and was Georgia chair of the National Cathedral Association.
Mrs. Hale was a member of the Georgia chapter of the National Society of the Colonial Dames, a historic society whose members must be lineal descendants of an ancestor who served the country before July 5, 1776.
In 2008, the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation presented her with its chairman's award, given to individuals for a lifetime of dedication to historic preservation.
"Her financial generosity was matched by her understanding and support of the issues," said Mark C. McDonald, Georgia Trust president and CEO, who has known the Hales for 25 years. "Anne came from a family that has always been concerned about the cultural heritage of Georgia. She made important contributions to historic preservation in Americus, statewide and even nationally."
Mrs. Hale could sing as well as tell stories. She belonged to the choir at Atlanta's All Saints Episcopal Church, and choir members performed for her memorial service on Friday.
Additional survivors include her husband, Bradley Hale, and a daughter, Ellen Hale Jones, both of Atlanta, and five grandsons.
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