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Have You Met?

Retirement? Terry Hale tried that once and it didn’t last long. After thirty years in the practice of dentistry, Terry decided to retire and went down to Puerto Vallarta. Sitting around wasn’t an option for him, so before long he bought some land and created a development company. Building began right before 9-11, and will culminate with the completion of twenty high-end homes in a gated community. He also owns La Casa De Tequila, a bar and restaurant in Acapulco, which is based on a wine tasting room in Napa Valley. Terry returned to Aspen after 9-11 and started a construction and consulting company, Hale & Associates, which specializes in residential, commercial and remodeling construction.

Terry has had many interesting twists occur in his life. When he was practicing dentistry in LA, many of his patients were celebrities. One of his Burbank patients, a drama coach at Fox, told Terry about going to Acapulco to teach English at an orphanage and convinced Terry that he should get involved. “I thought I would send them a check. My patient called two weeks later and said they needed a dentist. I hemmed, hawed, and finally said I would do it if they had the equipment. They sent down the dental equipment and I figured out how to use CO2 gas to run a high-speed drill. We were called the “Foreign Friends of Acapulco.” I started with one orphanage and soon I had four. I spent one month there every year for fifteen years.” He later turned the practice over to Loma Linda University and they continue to run it.

During his sojourns to Mexico, Terry met everyone from the “mobsters to the movie stars.” He loves the culture, the dancing and the people and continues to spend about four months a year in Mexico.

Terry moved to Aspen in 1985 and immediately engrossed himself into the community. “I ran the Friday Men’s Lunch for seven years. We were able to attract incredible speakers from the Aspen Institute. I felt like Johnny Carson. I was able to meet the top men in the world.” He was very involved with the Aspen Institute, the Aspen Community Forum and served on the Aspen Chamber board of directors.

Terry loves the fact that although Aspen is a small town, it attracts many celebrities and international guests. One of his favorite stories involved Mikail Gorbachev. “My beeper went off while I was having lunch and I thought it was a dental emergency. It was a friend who worked at the Aspen Institute who wanted to share the latest happenings. It seems the Soviet Ambassador to the United States was meeting there to discuss what would happen if someone kidnapped Gorbachev…and in the middle of the meeting, someone had. They gave a brief statement to the press and the public and then the ambassador went into hiding until the situation could be clarified.”

While Terry was serving his term on the Aspen Chamber board, the Superfund discovered Aspen and decided the whole town was a toxic site. Terry was a leader in the fight against them and it took almost fifteen years to prove them wrong. “I testified in front of the House, the Senate and the EPA. It was such a waste of time and money for the community. No one in Aspen had ever been treated for lead poisoning and there we were going through all of this muck.”

What’s important in your life? Integrity, life-long learning, family and excellence

What’s in your future? Real Estate development in Mexico

Which social event is your favorite? Small Mexican comidas, which are late lunches from noon to 5pm. I like small lunches with small groups of people. I don’t like the big events. My favorite Aspen event is the Jazz festival, love just sitting on the grass and listening to great music. I’m a big fan of our 4th of July celebration; I get a hug about every two feet from everyone in town.

Favorite restaurant? In Denver, Tamayo is the best Mexican restaurant and I like Vesta Dipping Grill. Hacienda Los Morales in Mexico City

Favorite trip? The one I took to Thailand, Bangkok, Cambodia, Ankor Wat, Vietnam and the Mekong Delta. I was there 25 years after our pull out. Southeast Asia is one of the most fascinating places for interesting sites.

Who is the most interesting celebrity you have ever met? Lannie Riefenstahl, a highly regarded movie director, who made all of Hitler’s propaganda films. She’s 92 and still filming, diving at 80 feet with an underwater camera in hand.

What’s your favorite dive spot? Kembe Bay New Great Britain just east of Papua New Guinea.

Do you have any pets? Had a dog who is now deceased

When you move, what will your home tell its next owner about you? We’re not home much. Lots of traveling and dive trips.

What word describes you best? Honest, focused, interested

How would you like others to describe you? Honest, creative

What was your first job? Newspaper route

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? I take politics too seriously

What trait do you most deplore in others? Taking politics too seriously

What is your greatest indulgence? Chocolate chip cookies

What type of clothes do you like? Casual. The lack of formality in both Aspen and Mexico suits me.

What’s the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning? Work out

What’s the last thing you do before bed? Read

Favorite comfort food? Wine and cheese

Tell me something about yourself that people would be surprised to know about you. I rode horses and bulls in rodeos when I was young and stupid.

What is the best gift you have ever given? My time in Acapulco

What is the best gift you’ve received? In my early thirties, I received some books on spiritual enlightenment

What or who is the greatest love in your life? My wife Joanne

What is your current state of mind? Enthusiastic, excited, focused

What do you consider your greatest achievement? Having remained honest and committed to excellence in all of my endeavors.

What is your most treasured possession? My integrity

What is the quality you most like in a man? Honesty, integrity, expertise

What is the quality you most like in a woman? Honesty, integrity, expertise

Favorite books/writers? No Boundary by Ken Wilbur

Do you have a motto? The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to his commitment to excellence

What’s the funniest thing that’s happened to you? I was attending USC in LA during the Watts riots. USC is located very close to Watts. I was in a friends wedding party and we had already been fitted for our tuxedos when the riots took place. They looted the shop and we had no tuxedos for the wedding. We couldn’t do formal wear, as everyplace was empty or sold out.

What were you like while you were growing up? I was really into athletics. I played football, rode horses and was a gymnast. Mostly I was interested in athletic “thrills.” It was a way to release my aggressions and get a scholarship to college. I was student body president in high school.

What are your hobbies? Other interests? Skiing, hiking, riding horses and travel

Who is your mentor? I get a new one for every new thing I do

What would you most like to be remembered for? Having remained committed to lifelong learning and integrity in everything I did

If you could go anywhere and do anything, what would it be? I would like to float the Nile and dive the Red Sea. I had to cancel that trip after 9-11.

What do you like about the town you live in? I get a hug about every 500 yards everywhere I go. Aspen is a community highly committed to learning and personal growth.