Lois Hill Hale dies at 78; pillar of L.A.-area civil rights movement

Marisa Gerber (Los Angeles Times) | August 18, 2013

Lois Hill Hale, a longtime congressional aide whose Rolodex of influential contacts and outspoken presence on the school board in Inglewood helped make her a pillar of the local civil rights movement, has died. She was 78.

Hill Hale, who also worked in public relations and published a Los Angeles community newspaper called the Scoop for more than three decades, was found dead in her Inglewood home Aug. 8, apparently of a heart attack, said her nephew Pete Thomas.

“She was a moving force in our community,” said Hill Hale’s longtime boss, former Rep. Diane Watson (D-Los Angeles). “She knew all of the ministers that really drove equality, drove the integration of our schools, drove fairness.”

Before and after her eight-year stint on the Inglewood Unified School District board, which began in 1987, Hill Hale worked for Watson. Although Hill Hale often fulfilled the duties of a press secretary, Watson said above all else she relied on her for on-the-ground perspective.

“Regardless of who was chief in my staff, it was Lois that was on the streets,” said Watson, who was a member of the state Senate before serving in Washington.

Born Sept. 17, 1934, in Michigan, where her father was a pastor, Hill Hale eventually moved west, got a degree from Cal State L.A. and taught at Russell and Wadsworth Avenue elementary schools.

After a parent accused the school board of cronyism at a meeting in 1992, The Times reported, Hill Hale quickly responded by saying her priorities hadn’t changed since her teaching years.

Read more at: http://www.latimes.com/obituaries/la-me-lois-hill-hale-20130819,0,5275077.story

Photo credit: Los Angeles Times

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