Wrangell Sentinel -

By Sandy Poulson
Sitka Sentinel Writer 

Piano tuner retires after 51 years traveling Alaska


James Poulson / Sitka Sentinel

Virgel Hale has been traveling to Alaska to tune pianos across the state - including Wrangell - since 1959. At age 81, he is retiring. This photo is from a piano assignment in Sitka in 2016.

Upright pianos in Skagway bars dating from the Gold Rush. Grand pianos worth tens of thousands of dollars in Anchorage and Sitka. Bob Hope's piano while he was on a USO tour in Alaska.

Plus private, church and school pianos in Wrangell.

Virgel Hale has tuned them all in his 51-year career traveling around Alaska.

But now, at age 81, he's retiring, and will be staying home with his wife, Patsy, who has health problems, in Mountain Grove, Missouri, closer to kids and grandkids.

"I hate to call it quits," he said. "I'll miss Alaska."

Can he estimate how many Alaska pianos and piano owners he's...

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