“Why in the world would you want Bub and me to be Grand Marshals?”was Mary Hale’s initial question as she was approached for this honor. Albert “Bub”and Marilyn Hale are lifetime Sparta residents, both proud products of Sparta Area Schools, and have made a mark throughout their work and civic lives in Sparta Township.
Albert, named for his father, also got the nickname ‘Bubby’ from his dad. “Some people don’t even know my real name,” Bub laughingly reflects. He worked for Carnation Milk Co. from the age of 16 until the plant in Sparta closed. Over that time, Bub also served our country in the army, stationed in Korea 1956-58. After a short stint in trucking, he then started work in 1967 for our Village Water Department, retiring after 28 years. Bub has also been the sexton for our township’s four cemeteries- 50 years in duration. To coin a phrase-of all Sparta folk, Bub indeed knows where all the bodies are buried! He was a member of the Sparta Fire Department for 17 years, named Fireman of the Year in 1975. He used his inventive skills to develop a drafting hydrant located at the Union St. Nash Creek Bridge as well as a water flow tube to fill a pool with water from which the department can draw. Bub and Mary also designed a ‘fire check’ sticker to indicate the location of bedroom windows in a home. Along with Jay Dean and Gale Taylor, Bub helped organize Sparta’s Civil Defense in the 60s.
Bub and Mary have one biological son, Stacy, and are very close with four of the boys they fostered-Toby, Jeff, Jim-Bob, and Corey-who know and describe them as Mom and Dad. Because of their love for children, the Hales fostered over 60 children for 38 years. The first ten years was traditional foster care, then they went through training to foster severely emotionally impaired children.Mary has also been involved in numerous organizations- a Cub Scout Den Mother, president of the Friends of the Library, and secretary of the Sparta Band Boosters. She and Bub were instrumental in starting the Sparta Township Historical Commission after acquiring the one-room Myers Schoolhouse in 1990. With the help of fellow commissioners, they created the Myers Schoolhouse Museum, open to the public to this day. Active couple, the Hales.
Mary resigned fromthe Historical Commission this year as its last founding member. Her celebration of 25 years in that post, along with a 50th wedding anniversary (which is September third-feel free to offer early congratulations to the faithful couple), and their Grand Marshaling duties, make 2016 a very special year for the Hales. If the township handed out Lifetime Achievement awards, the Hales would be at the head of the line.Their low-profile demeanor, love for the township they’ve called home their entire lives, and civic-minded service are qualities worthy of emulation. And that,Mary, is why we want you two to be our Grand Marshals!