Chester Drugstore owner Bill Hale, wife Joanne die week apart

Bill Hale, center, with Barb Gammon, left, and Jackie Haskell at the Chester Drugstore.

Former Chester Drugstore owner Wilbur “Bill” Hale Jr. died on Sept. 15, 2017, at the Lower Cape Fear Hospice in Bolivia, N.C. He had been battling leukemia for several months.

His wife of 64 years, Joanne Rawson Hale, died on Sept. 22, 2017, in Bolivia, N.C. Both were born in 1930.

Born in Blakely, Penn., Mr. Hale was raised in Scranton, Penn., where Mrs. Hale was born and raised.

In 1952, after earning his Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy at the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science, Mr. Hale joined the U.S. Navy. Mrs. Hale had graduated from the Moses Taylor Hospital School of Nursing of Scranton in 1951 and she was a registered nurse. They were married in 1953.

Upon completion of the Navy’s Officer Candidate School, Mr. Hale served on active duty as a surface warfare officer for six years,  then transitioned to the Navy Reserve. He worked as a pharmacist at various stores in central Pennsylvania while Mrs. Hale worked as a nurse in several hospitals.

In 1973, Mr. Hale retired from the Navy Reserve as a commander after 20 years of service and he and his family moved to Chester, Vt., where he was the owner of the Chester Drugstore. Mrs. Hale worked as the school nurse at Green Mountain Union High School in Chester, before retiring in 1991. Mr. Hale sold his business in 1992 and the couple retired to their log cabin on Terrible Mountain in nearby Andover.

Mr. Hale enjoyed meeting people in his part-time jobs at Okemo Mountain Ski Resort in Ludlow and at the Vermont Country Store in Weston. He was an active volunteer for the Community Care Network in the Chester-Andover  area. Mrs. Hale was a talented woodworker and gardener. In 2015, the couple moved to Southport, N.C., to be closer to family.

Throughout his life, Mr. Hale was active in the Navy, the Rotary Club in both Pennsylvania and Vermont, the Chamber of Commerce in Vermont, the community and the couple’s churches no matter where they lived. Mrs. Hale was an inspirational teacher and was also active in their churches.

They are survived by their daughter Wendy and her husband Phil, of St. David’s, Wales, United Kingdom; their son Tom and his wife Marybeth, of Southport;  granddaughter Nichole of Pennsylvania; grandson Christopher and his wife Tori and great-grandchildren, Keira, Chet and Declan, all of Oregon.

The family will bury the couple’s ashes in the future in Andover.

Donations can be made, in lieu of flowers, in the Hales’ name to either the Lower Cape Fear Hospice Foundation at or the Coast Guard Foundation at Online condolences can be made at

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  1. Kimberly Farrar says:

    Dear Tom and Wendy, What fabulous people your mom and dad were. They were beyond kind and wonderful to me and I loved then dearly. How sweet that they went within a week of each other…not surprising really. God bless you all. Kimberly Amidon Farrar