Dudley Stories

Hale, Dudley at HAI Show '01Dudley Stories—we all have them.  If there is a particular Dudley Story (or three) that you care to share, please do! Complete stories, including any supporting evidence such as photos, music, doctor bills—are possible for the technically fearless by registering for a Dudley Hale account. If not exactly legal activities where involved, password protection is an available option.

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26 thoughts on “Dudley Stories”

  1. Dudley was truely one of a kind. I have to laugh when I think back on all the things we experienced together. I met Dudley in highschool and was friends with him through all the years since then. Though there is a sadness one feels when a friend passes over, I am very happy for Dudley. He has cast off that old worn out body and now is alive in a way he couldn’t have imagined was possible. I don’t believe this, I know this.
    Michael North Wind, Cherokee shaman.

  2. (This is what I said at his funeral)

    I think a lot of people feel regret at funerals. Regret for the things they said or didn’t say. Then we feel angry because we can’t fathom how God or whatever higher power could let our loved one die so soon. Then we feel sad that they’re gone, off to a better place without us. And finally we feel scared because if it could happen to someone we know and love, it can happen to us too. No one wants to die, but it’s an inevitability that we can’t change or stop. Its eye opening when they go, when anyone goes because it forces us to realize that we’re humans. Humans who eventually leave this world at some point or another. We question the reasons but never find the answer. It just is. Death is inevitable.

    If I had one wish in this life it would be to never regret anything. For the most part I don’t. I have a good life, with a good family, friends and a very supportive boyfriend. I am truly lucky. But I wouldn’t be this lucky if it wasn’t for the people in my life.

    Dudley was one of them.

    When I think of Dudley I think of all the good and bad times through the 20 years we’ve been with him. Everything always seemed to be really good or really bad. I think back on it now and I kind of liked it being one extreme or the other because you always knew how he felt. If he was pissed, he’d tell you. If he loved you, he’d tell you. You could always be sure of his feelings one way or another.

    He also inspired me in more ways than one. Over the years between my crazy teenage years and my not so sure adult years he has always supported my crazy ideas. He never once said they were bad or unattainable even if some of them were. He’d laugh when I got a new boyfriend, always asking me “What number are you on now? 300 boyfriends so far or 400?” But when I found the person I wanted to spend the rest of my life with he was happy. I told him that I found my soulmate and without skipping a beat he said “Good, when ya marrying him!?” with that famous serious look on his face.

    Every hobby I’ve had from rock and crystal collecting, to music, to theater he supported.

    Dudley did those kinds of things not just for me but for everyone he knew.

    Today is a sad day for all of us …but it doesn’t have to be. Today and every day after this can be happy knowing that each of us got to know Dudley Gaylord Hale. He will be missed but not forgotten.

  3. I remember when I worked at a place in West Los Angeles. A new employee and I were talking, and it turned out he was a Nam vet. Since Frank & Dudley were both Nam vets, we struck up a conversation about his experience. He talked about how he had made it through his tour and was headed back to catch a plane home, which involved a short helicopter ride. He said he had never felt so near to death in Nam than he did in that single helicopter ride, and that he shit himself on the ride. He said that crazy (*&%*&^%! pilot kept flying between trees and buzzing at people on the ground, the whole time laughing and singing!!! He said I’ll never forget it…. that guy had H A L E on his helmet, and if I ever see that ()*&$(*^$#(*#& again, I’ll send him straight to hell in his helmet!!! My response was: “YEP, THAT’S MY BROTHER-IN-LAW DUDLEY! I’ll let him know you’re lookiing for him!” 🙂

  4. Dudley was always a bit of a crazy ray of sunshine waiting on our front porch. Love you, Dudley. You will be missed by all. –family forever, Penny

    “Low Flight”

    Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
    And hovered out of ground effect on semi-rigid blades;
    Earthward I’ve auto’ed and met the rising brush of
    Non-paved terrain;
    And done a thousand things you would never care to –
    Skidded and dropped and flared
    Low in the heat soaked roar.
    Confined there, I’ve chased the earthbound traffic
    And lost the race to insignificant headwinds;
    Forward and up a little in ground effect
    I’ve topped the General’s hedge with drooping turns
    Where never Skyhawk -or even Phantom flew.
    Shaking and pulling collective, I’ve lumbered
    The low untrespassed Halls of Victor Airways
    Put out my hand and touched a tree.


  5. Diann and family,

    Lon and I both have great memories of Dudley, having met him around the late 70’s when we all worked at Airwest Helicopters. I personally had never met a wilder group of guys than the pilots and mechanics there! Dudley led the pack.

    When Dudley would break into “Danke Schoen” you felt like you were the only girl in the room.- Besides the fact, watching him brought me to tears with fits of laughter. Dudley, we hope you are crooning to the crowd and enjoying a big, juicy steak! You are unforgettable.

    In Sympathy and Friendship,
    Lon Carlson and Kacy Murray

  6. It’s hard to choose between which stories to share about Dudley, but a couple related to his singing come to mind.

    I visited him in Page Arizona many years ago to pick up an Airstream trailer he sold me. He didn’t have the title to it, but that’s another story.

    Anyway, after indulging in some intoxicants we went to a local bar where Dudley was scheduled to perform. I was a little concerned about how Dudley’s music style would fit with that particular crowd because the only people that didn’t have cowboy hats were us and some of the ladies. Dudley ordered a drink, broke out his guitar, and opened up with a Jimi Hendricks (All along the Watchtower) song. The typical loud bar noise slowly died down until the only sound was Dudley’s booming voice and the hammered out bended cords only he could do.
    It could have gone either way… some of the crowd wasn’t too pleased with that particular genre.

    But after Jimi Hendricks, Jim Morrison, and a Dudley Original, there was a paradigm shift. those cowboys were rockin & rollin, and Dudley was their ‘rock star’. Free drinks were lined up and they wouldn’t let him quit until the bar closed.

    1. The bar was the Wagon Wheel, definitely country. I was there the night he led off with Purple Haze. The cowboys didn’t react well to that one.

      1. I got Dudley some air time for GI Joey. I took a copy to the only country station in the Keys; this was just after Desert Storm started and they were close to NAS Key and they catered to the Navy. I was driving past the airport in Marathon when it came on and I called Dudley and put the phone on speaker so he could hear it too.

        I understand the station got some requests to play it again. Dudley’s luck being what it was the station went all news two days later.

  7. I met Dudley and brother Frank in Glendora, California in the eighth grade. They were recent transplants from Sacramento and were, “Bad Dudes”……which meant, of course, that we would soon be best friends, (I was “straight arrow” ………emphasis on WAS as that all changed after Dudley)!!

    Dudley was a “Legend in His Own Time”, even then……..life was never the same after meeting Dudley………danger, excitement, and always great fun accompanied all adventures with Dudley……..after each new narrow escape from our latest escapade I would always seek the safety of my room and vow never to go with him again, (these vows usually lasted a few hours, or at most, until the next day)!!

    Dudley and brother Frank became actual brothers when they lived with our family during Junior/Senior year in high school…………..never a dull moment!!

    I could never move fast enough to suit him, “Come on, we’re burnin’ daylight”!!

    I consider myself extremely lucky to have known him and enjoyed his friendship. No one lived life with Dudley’s intensity or had more fun……….life will never be the same without him!

    Chris Alford

  8. Many thanks to Baden, for setting up this website. I have only known Dudley since the 90s and it’s so good to see the old photos and to read these stories. I know in this difficult time it helps everyone to recall the earlier years of Dudley’s life, and know that he lived so fully.


  9. One must always be careful when admitting to knowing Dudley Hale, which is true of most people I’ve known. But with Dudley everything was just a little bit different. If you knew him then you know what I mean. I think I knew Dudley as well as anyone else on this planet.

    I first heard his name mentioned in 1977 in conversation with Roger Olson while sitting in a mud hut in South Sudan. I met him the winter of 1979 while sitting in Jim and Jackie Hatten’s motor home in Provo. He was carrying a large paper grocery bag and had a desperate look in his eye. After sitting in a mud hut in South Sudan for weeks on end with Roger Olson I had heard a lot of Dudley stories none of which had prepared me for the real thing.

    I’ve been around Dudley Hale through a lot of changes in both of our lives and I’m having a hard time coming up with a Dudley story. I suppose it has something to do with the statute of limitations and not wanting to expose family or friends (let alone myself) to examination by any lifestyle police that might be reading this. After all, this is the internet and, as I said, “one must always be careful when admitting to knowing Dudley Hale.”

    I could make him fall down laughing by asking if he had seen any bears and no one else knows why, they might think they do but they don’t. Only three people knew what happened at the summit of Rabbit Ears Pass on the way from my house in Boulder to Ogden, UT. Now there are just two. It was during that trip when a person who shall remain nameless, Dudley and I walked into a 7-11 in Heber City.

    It was 3:55 AM and we needed coffee. I didn’t notice that the Mormon at the counter was nervous but Dudley, who was wearing a black leather trench coat, picked up on it right away and engaged her in conversation. I was too focused on getting coffee to notice but Dudley understood going in what the effect would be when three men in their early 30’s invaded her space at that hour of the morning. She was backing for the phone and her eyes when wide when the short one in the leather trench coat walked toward her and began to speak.

    It wasn’t until I headed for the counter with the coffee that I realized we had been the cause of an Alfred Hitchcock moment in this woman’s life. It’s never a good thing to attract attention in Heber City, UT, not in January 1981. Not if you don’t want to explain some of the things in your car and we certainly didn’t need to be explaining ourselves to anyone that night. Dudley charmed the clerk and had her telling us the local gossip as we sipped our coffee.

    I got married in September 1980. We moved to Boulder and as a married couple we were invited to parties with other couples, always couples who were in the helicopter business. The universal advice to my wife from the other wives was, “Don’t let Dudley Hale know where you live.” She heard it so much she made me promise to never reveal our address to him. She had no idea he didn’t have to know your address to come knocking at your door; unannounced and usually at an odd hour. It was in 1980, just after Christmas, that Dudley and Tom McConnel were staying at our apartment in Boulder. Dudley went with me to drive Jeanne’s car home when I had to tell her that her father had died. Tom and Dudley watched the apartment and fed the cat while we flew back for the funeral.

    When he was working for Rocky he drove a light blue Rambler with a “Happiness is a Family Home Evening” bumper sticker. He abandoned it in short term parking at the airport in Salt Lake City when changing employers. Back in those days short term parking was a couple of rows in front of the terminal. You could see every car in is when you stepped outside the terminal for a cigarette. Several months later it was still sitting there on four flat tires and no tag. Dudley would always remove the tag and leave a signed title in the glove box of every car he abandoned so he could claim he had sold the car and the new owner is the one responsible for the tickets/towing fees and anything else.

    When jogging with Tom McConnel he was stopped and got a pat down from the Highway Patrol. They were coming to the end of the run and Tom had sprinted ahead so the cop only noticed Dudley and figured there was only one possible reason this guy was running.

    He is the only person I’ve ever seen get the bag of burgers passed out of the window of a drive through before giving the girl the money.

    The world was a more interesting place when Dudley was around.

  10. The Dudley! The mention of his name always brings a smile to my face. When we were in the jungle of Guyana and Dudley showed up it was always a good time. We had hysterical fun playing music, he on a guitar, me playing the harmonica and spoons. When the crap hit the fan and all communications broke down I was on my own in the jungle for over a week. It was Dudley who came looking for me! He set up a plan to pluck me and equipment out of the jungle and in a few days he kept his word. When he flew into the clearing he had that huge shit-eatin grin on his face that was unmistakeable. Thanks for being there. I will continue to look for you on the horizon. See you then.

  11. Short in stature, bigger than life,
    that was Dudley.
    Singer, songwriter, jungle man,
    Velvet voiced, guitar playin’, wild man.
    Father, husband, livin’ the life man.
    His kind of energy never dies.
    It just passes into legend.

  12. Dudley was an incredibly talented speaker, comedian, singer…We met up at the Helicopter Association convention in Anaheim……after migrating to the hotel bar and sharing many stories, folk at the bar crowded around us as Dudley provided and incredible Jim Morrison (The Doors) medley interlaced with comical satire. The entire bar began filling as folks came in to listen. People were laughing and crying and Dudley earned a huge applause. After that night I always urged him to step into the stand up business… he had a tremendous voice….he could ad-lib comedy and satire…so talented…

  13. GOD BLESS DIANN and MAHRI for all the loving support and very personal loving care they provided Dudley through the toughest, most difficult, challenging of times…..

  14. I’ve only known Dudley for a few years buy will always remember his easy spirit – he always had a hug and a smile. The few times we shared were full of laughter. We have some wonderful memories of a day out on the Salmon River catching Sturgeon and drinking beer, Dudley serenading us with his voice and guitar and some special family times in the backyard when he and Diann made the trip to Idaho. We shared a wonderful Thanksgiving feast in Payson with all the family. I’ll never forget his wanting to take a picture of Matthew with his Uncle Dudley. He was a strong man to have endured all his struggles and to have made such an impression on so many. Be at Peace Dudley – you will be missed. Diann thank you for being the strong woman you are to have given him so much to live for… Love, David & Denise

  15. A safety officer, Dean Taylor, from the helicopter company went out to check on a job and evidently was not impressed when Dudley flew in to land the helicopter. Dudley was barefooted, wearing a loin cloth, no shirt, with a bandana tied on his head in the four corners like an old wash woman, with his headset over it. Evidently not an approved company uniform. Dudley spotted the safety officer and pulled pitch and flew away before being confronted.

  16. Dudley and I worked together at Rocky Mountain Helicopters and Airwest Helicopters. While on the road, we’ve shared the same motel room, and we’ve slept in the same tent out on the job right next to the helicopter. There are too many stories to tell. Some of my most fun ones have been over the last 10 years with the two of us stumbling around Topaz Lake together. One time he stumbled into a sagebrush and couldn’t get out. I saved his ass.

    One story in earlier years:
    I received a phone call when I was chief pilot of Airwest Helicopters from a hysterical woman in Naturita, Colorado telling me that she had just read a note on her kitchen table saying that her 16 year old daughter had left in a helicopter with helicopter pilot Dudley Hale, who was well out of his teens and she wanted her daughter back NOW! When I finally reached Dudley in Jackson, Wyoming, I asked him to put the girl on an airplane and get her home. Instead, Dudley put her with another pilot, who was also well out of his teens and asked him to drop her off in Fort Collins, Colorado since he was on his way back to the home base. Now we have two adult males that have taken an underage female across state lines, but when the girl arrived, she looked like a 16 year old Ann Margaret. Bill Browder and I had to admit it was a foolish move, but probably worth it.

    Dudley Hale was an individual with a different viewpoint than most, a great guy, wonderful friend, straightforward / honest, and a very adaptable and brave helicopter pilot. I learned alot from Dudley and will always be indebted to him. I hope he’s saving me a nice spot wherever old helicopter pilots go…and I don’t want 62 virgins, I want some more experienced girls.

  17. This story telling could go on and on but some of my favorite memories of Dudley was when he was playing and singing. What a power house. He is the only person I have ever seen that could pick up his acoustic guitar and turn a raging drum circle into his rhythm section . One late night of jamming we were trying out a talk box and using a bottle with bleach solution to dip the talk tube in as we took turns with it. All of a sudden Dudley is humped up heading for the door with the Pale Ale bottle in his hand growling in a deep guttural growl, ” It was bleach”. We do have some recordings we hope to locate and share.

    Great love brother, you are now in my heart and love to the family.

    1. I loved Dudley’s guitar playing also, especially when he borrowed one from a right handed guitar player, flipped it upside down, and played it better than they did.

  18. I knew Dudley was a special person from the first week of his life when he kicked the blanket off leaving the hospital on a very cold January day in Newport, Vermont Never far from his spirit, I have cherished his enthusiasm for life and family and loyal friendships. I recall the times he would visit my home in Dallas while in helicopter training at Ft. Walters, bringing some of his trainee cohorts with him. They were a high-spirited unit that left for “Nam from that location. His singing and guitar flair were a special memory for our family. Every occasion to be with him has been a continuation of the party of life. He has handled with dignity and a fierce will to win his battles to regain health and though he has had to surrender this time, his example of strength is exemplary. He will a;ways hold a special place in the heart of “Uncle Ray”.

  19. Dudley was my adopted Brother-in-law. Married to my former sister-in-law, now my sister. He was family by choice, and I have always referred to him as my brother-in-law, the only one I ever had. Dudley and I laughed, butted heads, ate and drank, and shared his roof at one time. He renamed my cat ‘Mehitable’ after the cartoon character, and she adored him in return, spending late nights with him by the light of the television, enjoying the aroma of his ever present ‘herbal’ scent. That herbal scent almost brought me a second career, as his California cannabis license allowed him to grow for medicinal purposes. I helped bring in the harvest, cutting buds until I was gum covered from head to foot. My former life as a stylist had given me scissor skills and my trimming work was coveted enough to earn me a place at the cutting table and a steady supply of Baileys.

    I will not recall Dudley’s recent decline, as I have not seen it happening, but I can keep the memories I love the best: Sitting close to the Chimenea, feeding it with wood in the chilly Sacramento air while talking about the world. Hearing his vocalization skills take on one of my favorite rock songs, All along the Watchtower, and blowing me out of the water. Watching a Condor pass once overhead while we sat in the back yard, enjoying the sun, the grapes and the roses, and acknowledging that here was someone who truely loved life. All of it, the good and the bad, as long as he was living it.

    Once, in a moment of family joking he used the word ‘cognizance.’ Diann laughed and said ‘Oh Dudley, you don’t even know what cognizance means!’ Eyes wide with indignation, chest puffed out with pride, he answered, ‘I’ll have you know I have been released on my own recognizance several times!’

    Well Dudley, you’re released on your own recognizance again, and I know, whatever that may be, and whatever it means, you’ll make sure you enjoy it, all of it, the good and the bad. For now, the rest of us will remember all the good. Thanks for bringing it with you.

    Love, Laurie

  20. Dudley’s lived the life the rest of the world goes to the movies to watch. I’m proud to have been a comrade in arms in the 12th Special Forces and served along side him. The truth is that his stories I know fall into three categories: The legal, the illegal and the still classified. When I arrived at the 12th Dudley had recently departed for Vietnam and I have the lifelong honor of taking his place on the A team. A sergeant waved me towards a row of lockers with the remark that Dudley’s locker was now mine and to treat it with respect. Looking down the row I asked which one it was. “The one with the bullet hole” was the only reply.

    If you are reading this you no doubt have heard some of Dudley’s stories. I can only say this: They are all true. Dudley didn’t need to make up anything.
    Let me close this memorial with a meditation for a fallen comrade —

    Though today our hearts are as empty as a beggar’s cup
    on a rainy day
    or a soldier’s folded sleeve,
    we, like they, have dreams of better days,
    those days we spent with you.

    Godspeed Dudley Hale. Take our love to Carl. He’s been waiting a long time for you.

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