Hale was born Helene Eleanor Hilyer in Minneapolis, Minnesota on March 23, 1918. From 1955 until 1963 she served on the County of Hawaii Board of Supervisors. From 1963 until 1965 she was the County's Chairman and Executive Officer (a forerunner of the mayoral position). In that position, she was the first woman to serve as a mayor in Hawaii.
In 2000, at the age of 82, Hale won a seat in the Hawaii House of Representatives as a Democrat. She served six years representing the 4th district in the legislature before retiring in 2006 following a stroke.
Hale was multiracial, her grandfather was the first African-American to graduate from the University of Minnesota and her uncle Ralph Bunche was the first African American to win the Nobel Peace Prize. She was pictured on the cover of Ebony in 1963.
- "Former Big Island lawmaker Helene Hale dies at 94 - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL". Hawaii News Now. Retrieved 2013-02-03.
- John Burnett (February 3, 2013). "State’s first woman mayor dies at 94". West Hawaii Today. Retrieved February 23, 2013.
- "Hawaii's Top Woman Politician". Ebony: 1, 51–56. April 1963.
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