Cover photo for Malcolm Burns Hale's Obituary

Malcolm Burns Hale

November 10, 1933 — August 26, 2022

Charleston, SC

Malcolm Burns Hale

Malcolm Burns Hale, 88 of Charleston, South Carolina, passed away on Friday, August 26.


Born on November 10, 1933, in Flat Creek, TN, he was a son of the late Charles Paul and Alice Sue Haskell Hale.


After graduating from Shelbyville Central High School in 1952, Malcolm attended the University of Tennessee, earning his bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering. Following graduation, he was drafted into the Army and completed his service at the US Biological Laboratory at Ft. Detrick, Maryland. He continued as a civilian at Ft. Detrick for another two years. He then moved to New York to attend graduate school, earning a master’s degree in Biochemical Engineering from Columbia University in 1963. After graduating, he began work as a chemical engineer for NOAA Fisheries in College Park, Maryland.


While in graduate school, he met Ellen (Helen) Kelly from Ireland, who was working as a nurse in Manhattan. They married in 1966 and started a family in Laurel, MD. They moved to James Island, SC in 1978, when the NOAA lab was relocated there. He continued working at the lab until his retirement in 1999. That same year, he joined the College of Charleston Center for Creative Retirement (CCR). From 2008 to 2010 he served as CCR president, and he was a regular member until 2017 when his Parkinson’s disease began making it difficult to attend meetings.


Beneath Malcolm’s gentle demeanor was an expansive knowledge and a quick wit. An avid birder from his twenties on, he eventually led all his family to share his appreciation of birds. He enjoyed listening to a broad range of music, especially classical and classic country, as well as watching golf and college football, in particular the Tennessee Vols and Clemson Tigers. He supported many humanitarian and environmental organizations.


Malcolm is preceded in death by his sister Elizabeth Morfitt, and brothers Homer, Haskell, Edward, and Roger Hale.


He is survived by his wife of 56 years, Ellen (Helen); children, Thomas (Jennifer), Marcella, and Malcolm, Jr. (Beth) Hale; grandchildren Emaline and Violet Hale, Liam Hale, and Caitlyn Malican; sisters Paula Fowler and Roxanna Francesconi, and extended family.


The Hale family wish to express their deep gratitude to Lutheran Hospice for their loving care of Malcolm during his last weeks of life.


The Visitation will be held on Thursday, September 1, 2022 from 6:00pm-8:00pm at McAlister-Smith Funeral and Cremation, 347 Folly Road, Charleston, SC 29412.


The Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Friday, September 2, 2022 at 11:30am at the Church of the Nativity, 1061 Folly Road, Charleston, SC 29412 with Burial to follow at Holy Cross Cemetery, Charleston, SC.


Memorial contributions may be made to Nativity School ( and the National Audubon Society (


Expressions of sympathy may be viewed or submitted online at


Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to McAlister-Smith Funeral and Cremation - James Island, 347 Folly Rd, Charleston, SC 29412, 843-614-8494.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Malcolm Burns Hale, please visit our flower store.

Past Services


Thursday, September 1, 2022

6:00 - 8:00 pm (Eastern time)

James Island Chapel McAlister-Smith Funeral & Cremation

347 Folly Road, Charleston, SC 29412

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Mass of Christian Burial

Friday, September 2, 2022

11:30am - 12:30 pm (Eastern time)

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


Friday, September 2, 2022

12:30 - 1:30 pm (Eastern time)

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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