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Christopher Alan Hale, 23, of Gainesville, Fl, died June 15, 2009 from a fall while free solo climbing in Yosemite National Park. He was following his dream to rock climb around the world.
Christopher was born on April 17, 1986, in Dothan, Alabama. The family returned to Gainesville, Fl when he was 5 months old. He was the younger brother of Gerard Hale III and older brother to Charles Joseph Hale. Christopher attended Stepping Stones Preschool and then St. Patrick's Catholic Interparish School for elementary and middle school. He started playing chess in kindergarten and competed nationally throughout those years, including playing in the US Open Chess Championship. He was a cub scout with Pack 82 at St. Patrick's and also played t-ball, baseball and earned a brown belt in Tai Kwon Do. It was as Chris started high school that he discovered rock climbing. He took his first trip to climb on real rock in North Carolina with the Troop 164 Venture Crew in the summer of 2001. While Chris was at Eastside High School, he was in the IB program but spent much of his time on the stage in multiple theatrical productions. He was a member of Thespian Troupe 6380 and participated in District and State Festivals. In 2003 he joined the Thieves Guilde and participated in the Hoggetowne Medeval Faire for several years. He graduated from Eastside in 2004 and was a Bright Futures Scholar. He studied theater at Santa Fe Community College and worked at Gators Dockside, but left to pursue his love of rock climbing.
In 2006, Chris moved to Chattanooga, TN the closest rock climbing destination to Gainesville. He worked at Olive Garden and climbed as much as possible to be ready for his goal of climbing around the country. In the fall of 2008 he returned his residency to Gainesville. He returned briefly to Chattanooga and then traveled to Boulder, CO to join friends and begin his climbing journey. From Colorado, he moved to Texas to work for a season as a volunteer and commercial rock climbing guide at Hueco Tanks State Historic Site near El Paso, TX. In the spring, Chris traveled to Bishop, CA to climb there briefly before continuing on to Yosemite where he arrived the first part of May. Chris stayed with friends in Yosemite Valley climbing and bouldering before beginning training to work for the summer for DNC Parks & Resorts at Yosemite, Inc. at the White Wolf Lodge in the high country of Yosemite. Chris had plans to continue climbing after the summer in Canada, Thailand and New Zealand. Chris made many friends and touched many lives along his journey.
Chris was preceded in death by his great-grandparents Ernest and Virginia Collins, Irene Newman, Helen T. Hale and Josephine Gullo and his grandmother Carmela "Millie" Hale. He is survived by his parents, Melony Gay Collins Hale and Gerard Hale Jr., his brothers, Gerard Hale III and Charles J. Hale, his grandparents Gerard Hale Sr. and Patrica Hale, Ernest and Sue Collins and Marilyn Collins.
A memorial mass will be celebrated on Tuesday, June 23, 2009 at 12 noon at St. Augustine Catholic Church and Student Center 1738 W. University Ave. Gainesville, FL.
The family prefers any expressions of sympathy to be made to the: Christopher Hale "Follow Your Dreams" Memorial Fund ; which will be established to help Chris continue to encourage others to follow their dreams. A donation box will be available at the ceremony on Tuesday. Please do not send donations to the Hale home. Another address will be available as soon as the fund is established. Please contact Milam Funeral Home for further information. MILAM FUNERAL AND CREMATION SERVICES 311 South Main Street Gainesville, FL. 32601 (352) 376-5361.
Milam Funeral Home and Cremation Services, Inc. of Gainesville
311 South Main Street
Gainesville, FL 32601-1803
Published in Gainesville Sun from June 22 to June 23, 2009