CAPE CORAL, FL - Wilford R. (Boots) Hale, 84, entered into his eternal rest on August 14, 2013 in Cape Coral, FL. Boots was born at Fort Monroe, VA. on July 26, 1929. Growing up in Phoebus, VA during the Great Depression, Boots was a Lantern Boy in the Phoebus Fire Department from an early age. As a youngster, he regularly wore rubber boots and a neighbor across the street referred to him as "Boots and Saddles", after the old cavalry bugle call. The name stuck. Boots left Phoebus for the far shores of the world, joining the Merchant Marine at the age of 14. Following his last deployment, there was a letter awaiting him from the Dept. of the Navy. He enlisted at the age of 16. Serving his country during the Korean conflict
, Boots achieved the rank of Boatswain's Mate-3rd Class. On Dec. 31, 1953, while stationed in Bremerton, WA aboard the USS St. Paul, he met Edith (Edie) Ruth Beasley in a New Year's Eve celebration in Seattle. By May of 1954, the couple had married in Snohomish, WA., Edie's hometown. Honeymooning their way back to Virginia on a Greyhound Bus, the couple initially resided in Phoebus and then eventually, in the Buckroe area. He would remain on the Peninsula for 47 years. Boots proudly served his hometown as a career first responder in the Hampton Fire Dept, achieving the rank of Captain, before retiring in 1981. Edie past away in 1992 when at the time, the couple had retired to Williamsburg. For the last 12 years, Boots has lived in SW Florida, marrying Kathryn Jeannette Card in March of 2004. The couple has resided in Cape Coral, Fl, until his passing. Boots is survived by Jeannette Hale of Cape Coral, FL. He leaves one son, James L. Hale and his wife Cheryl and one grandchild, Alexis Ruth Hale, all of Charlottesville, VA. He leaves two siblings- Francis K. Barrett of Herndon, VA and Ernest L. Hale of Hampton and was preceded in death by sisters Margaret Holroyd and Grace Kiessling. In addition, he leaves many nieces and nephews. Also preceding him in death were his parents Lillian V. Hale and Ernest C. Hale. A funeral service will be conducted at 11:00 AM, Monday, August 19, 2013 at R. Hayden Smith Funeral Home, 245 S. Armistead Ave, Hampton with interment to follow in Parklawn Memorial Park. The family will receive friends at the funeral home on Sunday from 5-6:30 PM.