Alden H. Halsey, who during his 37-year career with Harford County public schools worked in various roles, including deputy superintendent, died Nov. 5 in hospice in Bel Air. The longtime Havre de Grace resident was 88.
Although he was born in Colora, Maryland, when he was 5 his parents, Bayard Albert and Zenna Bly Halsey, left the state during the Great Depression to return to their native North Carolina to be near extended family.
At the age of 6, Mr. Halsey began taking over many responsibilities on the family farm in Grassy Creek, North Carolina, because his father suffered from a severe case of rheumatoid arthritis.
Mr. Halsey flourished in elementary and high school, where he excelled in everything from academics and agriculture to sports such as basketball and baseball. He graduated from Virginia-Carolina High School in Grassy Creek in 1949.
Fond memories from his younger years included working on several farm properties with his grandfather Waddell, hitting a home run at the only game his bedridden father attended, and winning a statewide Future Farmers of America contest, which resulted in his taking a trip to Kansas City, Missouri, where he finished second and third place nationally.
Mr. Halsey went to Appalachian State Teachers College in Boone, North Carolina, where he majored in social studies and physical education, with a minor in English.
While in college, he earned money as a tobacco auctioneer, square dance caller, and plumber’s helper in his uncle’s business.
“He worked and he served. And he took care of his family,” said his son, Craig Halsey, who lives in Dickinson, North Dakota.
Mr. Halsey finished college in three years and began his first teaching job in Charlotte, North Carolina. Shortly after, Mr. Halsey was drafted into the Army during the Korean War. He completed his basic training in Fort Jackson, South Carolina, attended Infantry Leadership School and became a corporal in eight weeks. He eventually advanced to the rank of sergeant. It was during this time that he met his eventual wife, Ruth Elizabeth Inscore, at a square dance in Marion, Virginia, while he was on weekend pass. They married in a 1954 and remained together until she died in 2013.
After the war. Mr. Halsey returned to Appalachian State on the GI Bill and earned a master’s degree. He was then recruited to accept a job at North Harford High School. From there he ascended throughout the school system, working as a social studies and English teacher, high school assistant principal, supervisor of physical education, director of secondary schools, assistant superintendent, and deputy superintendent, a position he held for 20 years.
“He was extraordinarily respected in the Harford County School System,” Craig Halsey said. “His colleagues viewed him as a mentor who influenced thousands of teachers and students.”
William Seccurro, the former principal at Harford Technical High School and supervisor of vocational education for the Harford County Public School System, worked with Mr. Halsey from 1976 to 1993 while he was deputy superintendent.
“Mr. Halsey was a great educator. He was a wonderful person. He was knowledgeable and a great supporter of comprehensive education,” said Mr. Seccurro. “He was just a calm person who could bring a lot of resolution to any situation. There are so many issues to deal with in education. He was always pretty analytical about the issues. … He always brought a great perspective to situations.”
Mr. Halsey never stopped teaching, according to his son.
“Dad constantly taught lessons,” he said. “Everything that he did was a way to teach us.”
Craig Halsey fondly remembers his father bringing him and his siblings to do volunteer work early on Saturday mornings to help the less fortunate.
“He could not understand how anyone would not do anything to help people in need,” he recalled.
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When he wasn’t at church, Mr. Halsey enjoyed spending time with his wife. The two enjoyed traveling after he retired in 1993. They traveled the country, and to parts of Canada and Mexico, his son said.
“They most enjoyed driving back to where they were raised,” he added.
In addition to his son, Mr. Halsey is survived by two other sons, Mark Halsey, who lives in Eldersburg, and Brett Halsey, who lives in Bel Air; his sister, Carolyn Halsey Little, in Boone, North Carolina; 17 grandchildren and 23 great-grandchildren.