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Liberty mourns mayor
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The town of Liberty is mourning the loss of its mayor, 95-year-old John Edward Hale, Jr.Hale passed away last Wednesday at DeKalb Community Hospital at the age of 95, after serving as mayor of Liberty for 42 years.The son of John Hale and Sadie Bratten Hale, the mayor was born in Liberty in the old Bratten House near Salem Baptist Church.He graduated from Liberty High School, then earned an education degree from Cumberland College and a Masters Degree at MTSU.Hale joined the U.S. Air Force in April 1942, and was honorably discharged in December 1945.He spent a brief period in the fruit tree business in Danville, Virginia before coming home to Liberty where he and Gloria Hobson were married in 1950.Hale returned to the teaching career that had been sidetracked by his military service, instructing students at the Dismal School and later at Liberty High School, where he later became principal.Hale also served for some time as a rural carrier for the post office.After the county high schools were consolidated, Hale taught at Liberty Elementary School, where he also coached basketball.He also retired as attendance supervisor for the DeKalb County School System, and was a deacon at Salem Baptist Church.When he was first elected mayor of Liberty in 1971, he made the restoration of the old Liberty High School, which had fallen into disrepair, one of his main goals.Hale was preceded in death by his parents and two brothers, Dr. Jerre Hale and James Hale.He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Gloria Hale of Liberty; two sons, Tom Hale of Kentucky and Jamie and wife Carol Hale of Liberty; one daughter, Sally and husband Randy Baskin of Mount Juliet; four grandchildren, Jacob Hale of Liberty, Leah Schitter of California, Anna Baskin of Mount Juliet, and Jonathan Baskin of Mount Juliet; two great grandchildren, Lucas Hale and Livy Schitter; one sister, Betty and husband Harry Henderson of Martin, Tennessee; and five sisters-in-law, Betty Hale of Smithville, Mary Herbert of Nashville, Judy Sandlin of Alexandria, Jo Hobson and Barbara Hobson of Nashville.Several nieces and nephews survive along with a large loving church family.