When Alan Hale Jr. passed away, the Coast Guard offered to hold a funeral at sea for the Skipper

Hale kept his illness a secret.

To his fans, Alan Hale Jr. was and always will be, The Skipper. It's a title that Hale wore with pride and a role that felt more true to his personality than fans might have known. While the Skipper was usually mostly bluster and gruff, he had a soft side that Hale shared, along with a love of the ocean. He brought his viewers and fellow actors great joy whether he was in a starring role, or whether he was just being himself.

This is why it's so heartbreaking to learn that when Hale became sick, he went to great lengths to keep it from friends and family. According to Russell Johnson, better known as The Professor, Skipper's fellow castaway on Gilligan's Island, Hale was able to keep his illness, cancer, a secret for roughly two years, even hiding it from his wife for a bit of time before she discovered it on her own.

In his book, Here on Gilligan's Isle, Johnson revealed that one of the last times he saw Hale was at a Gilligan's Island event, where he noticed that Hale had lost a significant amount of weight. While Johnson and his fellow castmates weren't aware of how serious the issue was, they certainly could tell that Hale was sick with something. Even Bob Denver, who played Gilligan, seemed to notice a change in Hale, but when Johnson pressed him, Denver responded, "I don't know. He won't discuss it."

After Hale had passed away, the anguish from the loss was felt throughout his circle of friends and family. Johnson discovered Hale's passing from another fellow Gilligan's Island star, Dawn Wells. Johnson wrote, "Dawn called me in the morning when she found out that Alan had died. Dawn was like another daughter to him, and I know it was crushing for her. She had been to the hospital to see him the day before, and she said she knew it wouldn't be long. All of us felt the loss of a dear friend."

Even after his death, many of those impacted by Hale were determined to honor and celebrate him as best they could. Johnson revealed that the Coast Guard had reached out to Hale's widow, Naomi Ingram, and offered "a full military service at sea," a beautiful service fit for such a man as Hale. While Ingram appreciated the effort, she declined and instead elected to follow through with one of Hale's final wishes. Johnson wrote, "He was cremated and his ashes were scattered at sea."

Watch Gilligan's Island on MeTV!

Sundays 3 & 3:30 PM

*available in most MeTV markets
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?


Runeshaper 4 months ago

That was truly wonderful of the Coast Guard to make such an offer.
harlow1313 4 months ago
>"...the Coast Guard had reached out to Hale's widow, Naomi Ingram, and offered "a full military service at sea,"..."<

I see that Hale served in The Coast Guard, but I would find it demeaning to the honor, if it was offered mostly based on his television fame. That is what I suspect.
MrsPhilHarris harlow1313 4 months ago
According to Wikipedia he served with the coast guard during WWII.
harlow1313 MrsPhilHarris 4 months ago
Yes, that was my source too.
MrsPhilHarris harlow1313 4 months ago
I think it was offered as a nice gesture. I hope it was.
harlow1313 MrsPhilHarris 4 months ago
This is how my mind works. He should be held to the same standard as all Guardsmen. If he did something special as a Guardsman, perhaps special honor is deserved. If he received the special honor for being famous for appearing on television, I believe it demeans the honor.

C'est la vie.
MrsPhilHarris harlow1313 4 months ago
Oh for sure because he was on tv.
LoveMETV22 harlow1313 4 months ago
Good for you! If that's your opinion so be it! That's your prerogative! However not everyone shares your viewpoint! What you choose is your right regardless of how your mind works!
harlow1313 LoveMETV22 4 months ago
I tried to clearly state my position. I enjoy expressing my thoughts, and I am content when others disagree. If they have an interesting reason, I might learn something to consider.
cperrynaples 4 months ago
Wonder what happened to Bob Denver? I suspect his ashes ended up in a bongo, but that would have required WORK...LOL!
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?