PALMDALE — LeeRoy Halley, the former owner and operator of Halley-Olsen-Murphy Funerals and Cremations, and a former Antelope Valley Fair Director, died Tuesday from complications of pneumonia. He was 76.
Halley was born on his grandparent’s farm near La Vernia, Texas, on July 29, 1942.
A Valley resident for 53 years, Halley owned and operated Halley-Olsen-Murphy Funerals and Cremations. He retired from the mortuary business about 23 years ago.
Halley got acquainted with the funeral business when his father Alexander worked nights and weekends at a funeral home to supplement his income and put his children through school.
Halley graduated from high school in Scottsdale, Arizona, in 1960, and served in the National Guard, including 5½ months of active duty as a combat medic.
Halley thought he wanted to be a doctor. But after he completed one year of college he went on to mortuary school instead. He graduated in 1963. He worked for a mortuary in Riverside for a while and for another in the greater Inglewood area.
In 1966, Halley learned of a job at Emmerson Olsen Chapel on Date Avenue in Lancaster. He interviewed with J. Henry Olsen, got the job and moved to the Antelope Valley that June.
Olsen, who had no children, told Halley if he worked hard and kept his nose clean the business would be his. Olsen was true to his word.”
Halley served as a member of the Antelope Valley Fair Association board from 1998 until his retirement in 2013. Before becoming a fair Board director, Halley was a longtime fair volunteer who served as chairman of the annual livestock auction and represented the Kiwanis on the fair Board’s livestock committee. He was a longtime member of the Kiwanis Club of Antelope Valley, which sponsors the livestock auction.
Halley also served on the 50th District Agricultural Association board, whose seats are appointed by the governor.
Halley is survived by his children: Brian Halley (Karen); Clinton Halley; Deanna Halley Mallick (Darren); his 9 grandchildren: Carl Jones; Thomas Halley; Mikayla Halley; Alexis Halley; Hayley Mallick; Ashley Halley; Jacob Mallick; Austin Halley; Connor Mallick; one great-grandchild Cameron Jones; his sister: Jerri Halley Boggess (Richard); his father: Alexander (Charlotte) Halley; and numerous extended family members.
His mother, Vernese Halley, preceded him in death.
“My dad always made it a point to always go and see all of the children. Family was important to him,” Deanna Mallick said.
Mallick added Halley was always active in their lives.
“Boating was a huge part. … Every summer he always came to the lake with us, just couldn’t wait to see his kids ski or tube,” she said.
Visitation will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at Halley Olsen Murphy Funerals & Cremations, 44831 Cedar Ave., Lancaster.
Services will be held beginning at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday in the H.W. Hunter Pavilion at the Antelope Valley Fairgrounds, 2551 West Ave. H, Lancaster.