Hal Colebaugh passed away on Wednesday, August 22nd , 2018. A Memorial Service will be held on Saturday, November 3rd at 3:00 p.m. in the Sanctuary. A receptions will follow in Acker Hall.
A Service of Celebration will be tomorrow, Saturday, November 3rd, 2018. Reception to follow in Acker Hall.
For those wanting to honor Hal Colebaugh’s memory we suggest making a donation to Garden Grove United Methodist Church or to a charity that provides assistance to veterans, ex-offenders, or those looking for employment.
Harold Franklin Colebaugh was born November 3rd, 1938 in Hollywood, CA to Harold Sherman and Pauline Colebaugh. His mother had an unfortunate early passing after Hal was born. Later Hal’s dad married Thelma Marie Burgess, who would adopt Hal. Hal had step siblings who pre-deceased him, Beryl Colebaugh, Norman Colebaugh, and Doyle Colebaugh.
Hal went to Montebello Jr. High and High School. Upon graduation, he was accepted to Whittier College and earned his Bachelor of Arts.
Hal later joined the Armed Forces in January 1963 where his career began in Fort Bragg, NC. Hal would go on to study political science (foreign trade) as an Intel Specialist in Berlitz Vietnamese. He was a First Lieutenant in the Military Intelligence department.
Hal served our country for 18 years.
Hal married Lucy Henry Southall on December 19th, 1970 and later divorced September 2nd, 1976. There were no children born out of this marriage.
While serving in the military, Hal travelled abroad and spoke numerous languages, including Spanish, Vietnamese, Thai, Arabic, and Farsi. Hal earned the Army’s Commendation Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal Vietnam, and a Navy Superior Civilian Service Medal. In 1973 Hal served on the Staff Commander Task Force 78 during Operation End Sweep which was to clear U.S. mines from the waters of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. While in Vietnam, he was utilized as an interpreter for the Armed Forces, as well as to then Senator Richard Nixon. Hal also worked for the U.S. Embassy of Bangkok, Thailand. He was a liaison to government officials and the military regarding problems with the insurgency and economic development of Thailand. During his tenure, he oversaw the American Consulate in Songkhla, Thailand. He was tasked to maintain relations with both the Thai and American communities by promoting a favorable image of the United States. It was stated that Mr. Colebaugh was the sole American at that post. Hal was always highly regarded as a linguist specialist. He was outgoing, with a great sense of humor. Hal had a deep interest in what was going on around him and in the world. He was highly regarded by his peers and was well spoken and persuasive. Hal was an attendee and translator at the Paris Peace Talks that brought about the end of U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War.
As a government employee, Hal resided in many nations and cities, including the U.S. cities of Virginia, Miami, Washington D.C. and San Francisco.
One of the true passions for Hal was his philanthropy. Although he was giving to so many people and organizations, Hal started working with Goodwill Industries in June of 2007 where he made several important contributions. Hal worked as a job developer and business Coordinator in the Human Services Division. He was an original member of the Volunteer to Work Innovations program which still exists to this day as an important of the Goodwill Employment Works program.
Hal saw a need to connect his military experience with Goodwill Industries to ensure assistance and transition for his fellow Veterans. In 2011, Hal lent his expertise to the Veteran’s Program Launch Committee which was the forerunner of the Tierney Center for Veteran’s Services. His ideas, creativity, and need to help those most vulnerable after active duty led to an incredible outreach to those in the Orange County community. Hal was a wealth of knowledge and always took the time to share with others and mentored many younger employees of the years.
Hal passed away at his home in Garden Grove on August 22nd, 2018 after a year-long battle with cancer. He was just shy of his 80th birthday. And that is why we are gathered here today, to celebrate, embrace, and remember the historic life of Hal Colebaugh.