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Joe David "Dave" Hale, 75, passed away Friday, Nov. 30, 2012, at the family home at 5-H Ranch near Cape Girardeau.
He was surrounded by his wife of 52 years and the rest of his loving family.
He was born July 6, 1937, on the family farm in Cape Girardeau County, to Joe Wilson and Hazel Williams Hale. He graduated from College High School.
He is survived by his wife Maxine and was the father of Vicki (Todd) Lantz of Cape Girardeau, Pam (Jim) Phillips of Dogwood, Mo., Jim Hale (Karolyn) of Mountain Home, Texas, and John (Elizabeth) Hale of Jackson. In addition, he leaves nine grandchildren: Colt, Tommi, Chance and Caden Lantz; Cody (Cassie) Phillips, Cooper Phillips; Haylee, Waylon and Jolie Hale; and two great-grandchildren, Porter and Roanie Phillips. Also surviving is nephew David Lee Hale; cousins Martha Ann Young, Rob Lamkin, Anne Lamkin Kinder, Jeannie Burkemper and Marcia Edwards; stepgrandchildren Ryan (Carla) Lantz, Jay (Nicole) Phillips, Shawna (Tracy) Rogers; great-stepgrandchildren Corey, Tyler, Rowdy, Camey, Miley and Jhett; and many nieces and nephews, and great-nieces and nephews.
He led a full and interesting life as an auctioneer of everything from airplanes to zebras. He was a farm machinery dealer and a breeder of quarter horses, and later exotic animals, which included importing animals from other countries. Dave touched many lives throughout his 75 years here on Earth by sharing his knowledge of exotic animals, his outlook on life and his sense of humor, which he kept until the end. He may not always have played by all the rules, but he made sure he got to play by his.
The following are a few of Dave's life accomplishments and achievements, which made a lasting impression on everyone he came into contact with throughout his life. His auctioneering career began in high school when he sold watches, etc. in downtown Cape. That advanced to machinery auctions with his brother, Bob, which were held all over the United States. Their airplane got them from one auction and state to the next. They started the first airplane auction, which was held monthly, at the Cape Municipal Airport. He also was a partner in the building and operation of the Fruitland Livestock Auction barn. Dave's first love back then was his registered quarter horses. He held a sale of his yearlings every year. After he became involved with exotic animals, an auction was held at 5-H Ranch twice a year with buyers and sellers coming from all over the U.S. and some foreign countries. What started out as a two-day sale advanced to five days (and nights). Lifelong friends and relationships developed from this, which continue today.
The 5-H Ranch Drive Thru Animal Park was opened in 1976 with Loretta Lynn at the grand opening. People from all 50 states and several foreign countries attended in the 10 years it was open. Dave was the first recipient. In 1980 of the Cape Girardeau Tourism Ambassador Award. Through the years, petting zoos, camel rides, pony rides and pig races traveled the country playing state fairs and smaller fairs as far reaching as Honolulu.
Another feat Dave was most proud of was his eight camel hitch, which he trained and drove. The hitch participated in many state fairs, the Great Circus Parade in Milwaukee for many years, the Orange Bowl Parade in Miami and Christmas parades in Hollywood, Calif., and Palm Springs, Calif. A camel hitch had not been done since Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus back in the 1800s, and has not been done since. He received the President's Choice Award at the Sarasota Circus Festival Parade in 1995.
Liberty camel acts, which appeared at various circuses and venues, including Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey, was one of his dearest achievements. At the present time, an act made up of spotted camels is in training in Florida. Dave's camels also have been used in commercials and one appeared in the movie "The Scorpion King." At this time of year, camels, donkeys and four-horn sheep are being used at churches in Maryland, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee, Missouri and Texas in various Nativity scenes to celebrate Christ's birth.
One of Dave's favorite things was to follow his son John's music career and participate in the annual John D. Hale Band Barn Party held yearly at 5-H Ranch. He had no music talent, but participated by giving a lot of free, unsolicited advice.
But, his greatest achievements in life were his 52 years of marriage, his children and his grandchildren. The laughter of children filled Dave's heart with so much joy. If there was ever a way he could fulfill the wish of a child, he would give everything plus more to do it.
He was preceded in death by his parents; and brothers, Bill and Bob Hale. Also, his "adopted son" J.D. the Super Chimp, and his beloved eight hitch camels -- Pete, Joe, Jack, Charlie, Tom, Jess, Sammy and Louie.
Visitation will be from 4 to 8 p.m. Monday at Ford & Sons Mount Auburn Chapel.
The funeral will be 1 p.m. Tuesday at the chapel with the Rev. Dan Johnson officiating. Burial will be at Cape County Memorial Park Cemetery.
Memorials may be made to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Southeast Hospice or Evangelical United Church of Christ.
Pallbearers will be his grandsons: Cody Phillips, Colt Lantz, Cooper Phillips, Chance Lantz, Caden Lantz and Waylon Hale.
Honorary pallbearers will be Jim Phillips, Todd Lantz, David Lee Hale, Pat Suzuki, Dr. Bud Huck, Charlie Baldwin, Homer Millikan, Montey Grimes, Ryan Henning, Jay Cagle, Larry Smooth Roose, Matt Gumby Michel and Scotty Wilson.
Online condolences may be made at www.fordandsonsfuneralhome.com.