David A. Hale, 81, a retired professor of theater at Temple University, died Feb. 13, of a coronary event at his home in Chestnut Hill.

Until his retirement in 1998, Mr. Hale had served as chair of the Theater Department, director of theater, and technical director and lighting designer at Temple’s theater in a 30-year career at the university.

Earlier he had been technical director of Gammage Auditorium at Arizona State University and a member of the technical staff at Yale School of Drama.

Mr. Hale had an extensive parallel career as a director of flying effects for the theater and television, both in the United States and in Japan. He had been a flying director for the Broadway productions “Fool Moon” and “Red Shoes, for the Metropolitan Opera and American Ballet Theater, and for more than 100 other nonprofessional productions in schools, universities, community theaters and churches.

He had directed various levitation effects for many TV shows, including “Sesame Street,” “Saturday Night Live” and “The Late Show with Conan O’Brian, and was a flying director for Flying by Foy, a theatrical flying service. Among the celebrities he levitated were David Bowie, Sean Connery and David Letterman.

He had been a co-founder of Theater Circ and an interim managing director of the Philadelphia Drama Guild.

Born in Powell, Wyo., he was a graduate of Pomona College and the Yale School of Drama. He also completed a Summer Institute in Arts Administration at Harvard University.

He served in the Army Signal Corps for two years.

He is survived by his wife, Carolyn; daughters Julie Good and Gretchen Nauman; sisters Margaret Bushnell and Ann Marra; and one granddaughter. He was preceded in death by his brother Maurice P. Hale and first wife, the former Susan Hahn.

Memorial services will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 24, at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 22 E. Chestnut Hill Ave. in Chestnut Hill, followed by a reception in the Parish House. The family asks for friends to support the St. Paul’s Church Rummage Sale and Well Spouse Association in his honor. – WF