Hal Rattner, an active resident of the Santa Clarita Valley and author of a weekly Signal column for 11 years, died peacefully on February 23 at the age of 99.
Hal served the SCV community as a Santa Clarita Sheriff’s Deputy volunteer for 16 years. He was the President of the Friendly Valley Homeowners Association and, earlier in life, was President of Triangle Sales Corp. and The National Notions Association.
Hal was editor-in-chief of his college newspaper and, as a student, received an invitation to have lunch at the White House with the First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt, and the American Newspaper Guild. Later in life, he continued to pursue his interest in journalism as a newspaper columnist for the Newhall Signal. Hal wrote about 550 columns, some of which were later published in a book entitled “Getting It Write”.
His articles focused on human nature, observations of current events, personal opinions and universally-shared life experiences. The regular response from readers attested to the popularity of the column.
His cheerful, outgoing personality gained him friends wherever he went. Accompanied by his wife and true love Sylvia, they traveled the globe, visiting China, Russia, the Middle East and Europe, as well as most of the United States. Las Vegas was a favorite destination. His love for music was evident throughout his life, whether serenading his grandchildren on the ukulele, or belting out one of his favorite standards at any moment. Hal’s irrepressible sense of humor had him ready with a joke for any occasion or topic.
He was a lifelong supporter of the police community, serving as a member of the New York City auxiliary Police. Hal was always inspired by the devotion and courage of the military and law enforcement, especially the officers of the Santa Clarita Sheriff’s Department. .
Hal’s philosophy was to seek serenity and maintain a sense of humor. His generous spirit is best expressed in an autobiographical note at age 90, which ends with, “I wish to all my friends and loved ones a long and healthy life such as I have enjoyed”.