W. Hale Armistead was born January 27, 1911 in Cumberland City, Tennessee. He is the son of the late Wilbur H. and Kate (Dunbar) Armistead. His life has been enriched by the companionship of eight brothers and two sisters. His father, a rural mail carrier, was a Fifty two year Mason in Tennessee. Five of the nine boys are Masons, one each in West Virginia,, Tennessee, and Georgia, two in Alabama. He attended High Schools at Cumberland City and Tuscaloosa Senior High after moving to Tuscaloosa in 1928.
In 1931 he married Johnnie Marie Laycock, daughter of the late John and Lola Laycock of Tuscaloosa. They are the parents of two daughters, Barbara Ann Armistead Chopp of La Plata, Maryland and Jeanne Marie Armistead, a Junior in the University of Alabama. Their lives are blessed with five grandchildren, three girls and two boys of La Plata, Maryland. He worked at Gulf States Paper Corporation from 1929 to 1946. He and his brother Carl, who also worked at Gulf States, started, a grocery business in 1935. Both resigned to expand into a supermarket the business which is still operating as Armistead Brothers Super Market in Tuscaloosa.
He is an active, dedicated church worker, being one of the founders of his present church, Druid Hills Methodist, in the eastern section of Tuscaloosa. Prior to his founding activity in
Druid Hills, he was a lay leader in Alberta City Methodist Church, serving practically all offices.
He received his Entered Apprentice Degree in Von Bayer Lodge on July 13, 1936, was passed to the Degree of Fellowcraft on August 10, 1936, and was raised to the Sublime Degree of Master Mason on September 14, 1936. He was elected Junior Warden in 1944 and served as Worshipful Master 1946-1947. He was elected Secretary in 1948, an office which he still holds.
He was appointed District Lecturer of District 15, serving from 1950 until 1964 when he was elected Junior Grand Warden of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Alabama.
Grand Master Armistead was Exalted a Royal Arch Mason on September 10, 1946 and served Tuscaloosa Chapter No. 1 as High Priest 1952-1953, Greeted a Royal and Select Master December 17, 1946 and served Tuscaloosa Council No. 4 as Illustrious Master 1954-1955, Knighted on May 9, 1951 and served Tuscaloosa Commandery No. 13 as Eminent Commander 1956-1957. He is a life member of all York Rite Bodies of Tuscaloosa and still actively participates in all rites and ceremonials. He became a member of Birmingham Priory No. 31, KYCH in 1957. In 1953 he became a member of Zamora Temple AAONMS. He was taken into St. Dunstan’s Conclave, Order of the Red Cross of Constantine in 1966. He is also a member of the Order of the Silver Trowel and the Anointed High Priesthood.
Brother Armistead was initiated into Druid Chapter No. 421, Order of the Eastern Star on January 15, 1945 and served as Worthy Patron 1947-1948. He was elected to receive the Degree of the Order of the White Shrine of Jerusalem in Tuscaloosa on October 3, 1967. He completed the Scottish Rite Degrees on November 16, 1967.
Brother Hale’s term as Grand Master climaxes a notable Masonic career. His early and continuous exposures to the Fraternity have indelibly imprinted service and devotion upon
his life. The benchmark of W. Hale Armistead upon the finished works of Masons with whom he has taught, encouraged, inspired, and led implies excellence.