In remembrance of the 40th anniversary of his passing, the family of Tarleton State University Police Officer W.A. Hail will present a portrait of the fallen officer to campus police in a Dec. 13 ceremony.
“We feel that this honor is long overdue,” said Hail’s daughter-in-law, Lynda Hail. “He was not one to seek attention. He was a gentle giant, a humble man. He was a man who loved God, his country and his family. Lived with honor, served with pride. That says it all.”
The ceremony will be in the University Police Department parking lot at 1 p.m. The public is invited. Parking will be available on the north end of P20 and shuttles will run to UPD. In the event of bad weather, the ceremony will be moved to one of the ballrooms in the Barry B. Thompson Student Center.
“Hail died exemplifying Tarleton’s core value of service,” said Tarleton Police Chief Matt Welch. “The officers of Tarleton are honored the Hail family will be presenting an oil painting to display in our lobby as a reminder of his service.”
Hail was 56 years old when he died. A World War II veteran, he was on the Tarleton police force nine years. He was also a reserve officer for the Stephenville Police Department and the Erath County Sheriff’s Department.
He suffered a fatal heart attack in December 1978 while pursuing several male students following a report they were congregating around a female residence hall.
Officers Wade Daniels and Jack Bennet attempted to revive Hail, who was transported to a local hospital and died later that night. Hail’s partner, Kathy Ward, as well as former co-worker Lt. Don Miller, now with the Stephenville Police Department, will attend the dedication.
Miller hopes that Hail will be remembered as a widely respected officer who worked hard for his family and the students of Tarleton. “Dub was a great guy ... just a laid-back country boy. He was hard-working and made sure everything he did was right.”
The family commissioned artist Sheryl Cozad to do the painting.
“As I painted this portrait, I had such a feeling for the kind presence of this policeman,” she said. “It is as if he was patiently urging me to finish. I could almost hear him saying, ‘I’ve waited such a long time to be remembered.’”
Cozad has created portraits in oils, water-based media, pastels and graphite for four decades. A retired college art professor, she maintains her studio in Norman, Okla. For more information about her portraits, view sherylcozad.com.
In May, Hail’s name was added to the Texas Peace Officers’ Monument located in Austin on the grounds of the capital. In addition, his name was placed on the National Law Enforcement Monument in Washington, D.C. Officer Hail served from 1969 until his death in 1978.