Stephen P. Hale, 77, former Deseret News columnist and past public relations director for the Utah Education Association, died Nov. 16, 2008, at his home in Salt Lake City.

For about a decade starting in the early 1960s, he wrote several popular columns for the Deseret News — "Hale and Hearty" and "Steve Hale's People."

With eight children, his columns often focused on raising them.

Don C. Woodward, former Deseret News managing editor, said Mr. Hale's columns were people-oriented and had an easy voice to them.

"It was a great, personalized Utah-based column," he said. Mr. Hale was also the inspiration behind the newspaper's Sterling Scholar program, he said.

J Malan Heslop, another former Deseret News managing editor, said, "Steve was one of a kind. He had a real knack for human interest. He was top rate. I was disappointed when he left (the paper)."

Mr. Hale served as spokesman for the UEA from 1969, until his retirement in 1996.

Born in Savannah, Ga., he spent his first 17 years there. He served as cryptographer for the U.S. Army in Germany during the Korean War. That was where he was introduced to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He was also a correspondent for the United Press.

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He attended Brigham Young University and graduated in 1956 with a major in educational journalism and minors in English and political science. While at BYU, he was editor of the Daily Universe student newspaper.

It was also at that time that he met his wife of 55 years, Afton G. Hulet. He then returned to Georgia and wrote a column for the Savannah Evening News.

As a member of the LDS Church, he served in many callings over the years.

An open house in his honor will be Wednesday, Nov. 19, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the 27th East Ward chapel, 185 P St. Funeral services will be Thursday, Nov. 20, from noon to 1 p.m. at the chapel