Lyle (Hal) Halpin
Lyle (Hal) Halpin went Home to the Father, and to rejoin his Precious Janet on Sunday, November 20, 2021. He was 85 years old. A Mass of Christian Burial is planned for Saturday, December 4, 2021 at 11:00 a.m. at Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Frenstat, with Father Melvin Dornak as Celebrant. The Family will receive guests Friday evening form 6-8:00 p.m. at, Strickland Funeral Home in Caldwell for a Celebration of Hal’s Life, all are welcome.
He was the youngest child of Harold and Rosamond Van Houten Halpin of Elmira, New York. He once told Janet the reason he was the youngest was that his mother took one look at him and said “Ahh! That’s what I’ve been looking for!”
He met the love of his life in tenth grade history class. He often quoted the Wise Old Owl from the movie Bambi saying that from the first moment that he saw Janet he was “Twitterpated.” Janet preceded him on her journey Home after several years of declining health. They were a couple for 65 years and married for 61 years when she went Home.
Hal was a genuine Space Pioneer. In 1959 he left Elmira and joined RCA Service Co. at Cape Canaveral Florida at the very dawn of American space endeavors. He was responsible for the computers on several remote tracking stations and tracking ships that supported the Atlantic Missile Range. After Project Mercury, the first American manned missions he and his young family moved to Houston at the start of Project Gemini. With a brief hiatus after the Challenger disaster, he remained with the space program until his health forced a retirement in 1996.
In 1979, Hal and Janet bought a run-down, six hundred square foot farmhouse, built in 1895 in the Frenstat community. The front door was held shut with a rope, most of the windows were tar paper and the floor was like a rutted cow pasture. After years of work, it came to its present state of habitability. When friends called the project a restoration, Hal would object. “No, not a restoration, a resurrection!” This remained their home for the rest of their lives.
While not a “Cradle Catholic” Hal was a devout member of the Catholic Faith. He was active in parish activities being a gifted “Proclaimer of the Word” (his term, he thought the term Lector not descriptive enough.) at St Christopher’s, St. Frances Cabrini’s, and St Bernadette’s Catholic churches in Houston as well as St. Ann’s in Somerville and Holy Rosary in Frenstat.
Hal devoted much of his free (and sometimes no-so-free) time to volunteering. He was a “Big Brother” with the Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Houston. He spent several years working with the Harris County United Way, and he was a Girl Scout. He and Janet were leaders of a Girl Scout troop. Hal was the first male member of the San Jacinto Council of Girl Scouts of America. One can only imagine the kind of scrutiny he went through before the council consented to him taking 33 teen age girls camping. He has volunteered at St. Joseph Manor in Caldwell since Janet first became a resident in 2014. He led devotional Sing-alongs and was a favored BINGO caller as well as assisting the Catholic Chaplain in conducting Communion services.
Hal was preceded in his journey Home by his parents, his sister Esther, and by his Precious, Precious Janet.
He is survived by his brother, Harold Halpin of Rochester New York, his daughters Elaine LaBorde of San Antonio, Patty Halpin and Linda Loredo of Frenstat, his grandson and wife Kenny and Shannon Carpenter and their children Jordan and Jaxton of Caldwell, by his “Little Brother” Michael O’Brien of Austin.