William Max Hale

William Max Hale Bill Hale was one of those rare people who was willing to, in the words of Robert F. Kennedy, "commit their every resource of mind and body to the education and improvement and help of their fellow man." A passionate civil rights advocate, Bill devoted his life to the pursuit of justice, equality and dignity for all. He died on Friday, March 17, 2006. He was 70 years old. In a career in public service that spanned more than 40 years, Bill used his considerable intellect, leadership and creativity to fight discrimination and support equal protection under the law. A highlight of his early career was his tenure as a director and area coordinator for the U.S. Office of Economic Opportunity's VISTA program. He served as executive director of the Fort Worth Human Relations Commission for more than eight years. He was instrumental in securing the passage of the Texas Fair Housing Act and the Texas Commission on Human Rights Act by the Texas Legislature. Subsequently, he was the first executive director of the Texas Human Rights Commission, a position he held for 17 years. He was widely recognized for his strategies for addressing hate crimes, having secured the first successful enforcement of fair housing law against the Ku Klux Klan. Bill received numerous national and international awards for his work in civil rights, and was honored by both the Texas Senate and House of Representatives for his contributions to the State of Texas. He also served as president of the International Association of Official Human Rights Agencies. After his retirement from public service in 2001, Bill operated a successful consulting practice and served as the chairman of the Austin Human Rights Commission. Bill is survived by his wife, Karen. He is also survived by son, Mathis; daughter-in-law, Donna and grandson, Britton Mathis; daughter, Lisa Coody, son-in-law Jesse, granddaughter, Paige and grandson, Jace; one sister; and two brothers. Bill will be sorely missed by his extended family and wide circle of friends and colleagues, who will remember him for his integrity, humor and charismatic personality; his devotion to his family, and his love of Texas. A memorial service will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Monday, March 20, 2006, at Weed-Corley-Fish Funeral Home, 3125 N. Lamar, Austin, (512) 452-8811. Obituary and guestbook on line at http://wcfish.com In lieu of flowers, contributions in Bill's memory may be made to the charity of your choice. "For a few precious moments ... I'm back in Old Texas, under a high sky, where all things are again possible and the wind blows free." - Larry L. King

Funeral Home

Weed-Corley-Fish Funeral Homes & Cremation Services - Austin
3125 N Lamar Blvd. Austin, TX 78705
(512) 452-8811

Published in Austin American-Statesman on Mar. 19, 2006