Longtime Muskogee investigative reporter Donna Hales has passed away, family members are telling MuskogeeNOW.com.
Hales worked at the Muskogee Phoenix from the 1980s to just a few years ago, when she retired after a string of health problems for herself and her husband.
Hales’ reporting was instrumental in bringing down corrupt state and local institutions and politicians.
Hales died after long struggles with her health, including several strokes and broken bones. She was in hospice care when she died of what is being called natural causes.
Hales worked at the Muskogee Phoenix from 1985 until after a stroke in 2011 forced her retirement. After her retirement, Hales frequently told family members she was going to get better and come work for MuskogeeNOW.com.
We are getting more information now and will add to this story as we can.
EDITOR’S NOTE: I worked beside Donna — literally the next desk over — for 20 years, and we became close friends. When I started MuskogeeNOW (ten years ago next month), Donna was very encouraging and after she retired, she would frequently provide me with news tips and other information. When my first wife miscarried our only child together, Donna rushed to my house with a homemade lasagna and cried with us for the loss. Though she made many enemies in her time as a reporter, she made just as many friends and admirers — and many times the same people were both. I will miss her.