A Life Lived: Brenda Hale lit the way for her students to live and learn

Published 11:38 am Tuesday, March 19, 2024

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It’s been said that what the teacher is, is more important than what he or she teaches.

Norma J. Morrison wrote on Brenda Hale’s obituary tribute page: “Brenda was a joy to teach with at Keenburg. She had advanced skills and compassion to work with children who had learning differences. Brenda went out of her way to work with all of us teachers and staff to make our world a better place for the families we served. She touched the lives of so many people and will be greatly missed.”

Brenda Kaye White Hale died March 8 at the age of 77.

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Brenda grew up on Stoney Creek, the daughter of the late Frank and Edith White. She met her husband, Richard Hale, while they were students at East Tennessee State University, and soon thereafter were married.

Richard shared that his wife taught one year at Elizabethton High School before she began teaching at Keenburg Elementary – a career that spanned 30 years. “She loved and remembered every student she ever had in class. She remembered things that were special about them, and those students who needed help, she sought to reach out to them. She and the other teachers often would help with school supplies, and even clothing for kids that didn’t have,” shared Richard.

“She was a very compassionate person and loved helping not only her students, but people, in general,” her husband said.

In addition to teaching, Brenda had served as Past President of the Carter County American Federation of Teachers, was former assistant director of the Adult Literacy Program, and was a Past Mother Advisor of the Order of Rainbow Girls and Eastern Star.

In addition to being a teacher, Brenda had also worked as a nurse and as a volunteer with Meals on Wheels.

“She was one of those people who liked to be doing and helping others. That was just the kind of person she was,” Richard said of his wife.

Brenda retired from teaching due to disability.

In her spare time, Brenda enjoyed reading, especially the Bible. She enjoyed homemaking and being a mother to her two children, Richard II and Betsy. She also had four grandchildren, who were her pride and joy.             

“Brenda was a homebody when she wasn’t on the job. When our kids were growing up, we camped a lot during the summer months. We had a boat at Fish Springs Dock, and that was something the family enjoyed,” said Richard. “Brenda enjoyed going to Barter Theater and Six Flags with the kids, but for the most part she enjoyed home and taking care of the children,” he added

Brenda enjoyed cooking for her family. “She could cook about anything, but one thing that I enjoyed was her roast beef and potatoes,” said Richard.

In her later years, Brenda enjoyed watching television. “She loved the cowboys…Gunsmoke and all the westerns,” her husband shared.

Brenda Hale excelled at a lot of things, and although she never forgot a student, the students never forgot her, either. Lesia Wright wrote on the funeral home tribute page: “She was a great teacher and friend to me. Loved her so much.”

Tess Ellison wrote: “Mrs. Hale was and still is my favorite teacher. I’m very fortunate to have been one of her many students. She was kind, supportive, and encouraging.”

Someone has written: “A good teacher is like a candle – it consumes itself to light the way for others.” 

That pretty much describes Brenda Hale…she lit the way for her students to learn and be all they could be in life.