Viola Hale Hathaway died on June 3, in Clare, Michigan. She was 93 years old. Until moving to Michigan in 2021, she had been a long-time resident of the Hudson Valley, having spent 26 years in New Paltz, before moving to Poughkeepsie in 2003. Her husband of 42 years, Richard Hathaway, died in 2020.
Viola Rose Sabia was born in 1929 in Passaic, New Jersey and grew up in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Her father, Ray Sabia, owned a diner in Passaic. Viola was the valedictorian of East Rutherford High School’s class of 1947 and was the first in her extended family to attend college. She chose Syracuse University, where she double majored in Journalism and Political Science and worked on the Daily Orange. After college graduation, she married Edward Hale, an attorney, with whom she had three daughters. They lived in New York City; Montclair, New Jersey; and Fairfield, Connecticut. They divorced in 1976 and she married Mr. Hathaway, a professor of English at SUNY New Paltz, in 1978.
Professionally, Mrs. Hathaway was able to reinvent herself many times. She began her professional life as an editor at World Family, the magazine of the Presbyterian Church’s world mission. In the late 1960s she went back to school in education and was a substitute teacher in the Montclair and Newark school systems. The mid 1970s found her back in church publications, where she edited the internal organ of the American Friends Service Committee until the early 1980s, when commuting to New York City from New Paltz proved too taxing. Mrs. Hathaway then enrolled in a technical writing program and was quickly hired at IBM in Kingston, New York, as a technical writer, a job from which she retired in 2000.
Mrs. Hathaway was, with her husband Richard, a long-standing member of the Poughkeepsie Friends Meeting, where she served as Clerk of the Meeting. She also volunteered with the Friends as a hospice volunteer in the prisons and was a member of innumerable committees over the years. She and her husband were regular attendees at New York Yearly Meeting at Silver Bay, where she ran the book table.
In her earlier life, Mrs. Hathaway enjoyed travel, camping in National Parks across the country with her daughters and tour-camping for two and a half months in Europe in the summer of 1973. Mrs. Hathaway was also fond of classical music. She was a long-time season ticket holder at the Metropolitan Opera and was a member of the Mid-Hudson Cappella Festiva Choir into her 80s.
Viola Hale Hathaway was predeceased by her husband, Richard Hathaway; her parents, Ray and Mildred DeWitt Sabia; and her brother, Ray Sabia, Jr. She leaves her daughters, Allison Hale-Rude (Ken) of Red Hook, New York, Cynthia Hale Albrecht (Tony) of Philadelphia, and Rebecca Schultz (Dale) of Harrison, Michigan; grandchildren Adam Hale-Rude, Jamie Albrecht, Sarah Hale-Rude, Emily Hale-Rude, and Anna Albrecht.
A memorial service will be held in the Hudson Valley at a later date. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to Medilodge of Clare, Whispering Willows Unit, 600 S.E. Fourth St., Clare, MI 48617.