Reverend William Thomas Hall, Jr. left this earth for his heavenly home on June 10, 2008 . His health had deteriorated after the loss on April 14, 2008 of his wife, Joyce Adair Hall. He just could not face life without her. He served the United Methodist church from 1947 to 1970.
Rev. Hall was born in Natchez , Mississippi , the son of William Thomas Hall and Mary Gracie McCreight Hall. His father's grocery store at the corner of Woodlawn and North Union Streets was a familiar sight to Natchez residents for many years. Rev. Hall's sister, Lillie Mae Hall Franklin, was married to Rev. Charles Ray Franklin. His sister preceded him in death.
Rev. Hall graduated from Natchez Senior High School in 1942. After high school, he served with the U.S. Army during World War II. In his own words, “I served a short while in the Quartermaster, then the Ordinance, and was in England for a year before the invasion. I went through two campaigns with the Second Infantry Division, 9 th Regiment, serving as an infantry scout. I prize highest my combat infantry badge. That was really what I signed up for – to fight for my country.” He achieved the rank of Sergeant.
After returning from his military service, he attended Millsaps College in Jackson , Mississippi . It is there that he met his wife, Joyce Adair. They were married on March 15, 1946 while students at Millsaps. Their first son, William Thomas, III was born there in Jackson . Later, they were to be blessed with another son, John Edwin, and three daughters, Joyce Evette, Glenda Sue, and Neva Cheryl.
While attending Millsaps, Rev. Hall took his first charges, serving first Harrisonburg , Mississippi (1947-1949) and then Huntington – Wilkerson , Mississippi (1949-1950) as a supply pastor.
While serving in Oil City , Louisiana (1950-1952), he entered Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University in Dallas , Texas . He was admitted to the United Methodist Church on trial in 1951, was granted Deacon's Orders in 1952, and full Elder's Orders in 1954. He earned a Bachelor of Divinity degree from SMU on August 29, 1952 . This degree was later upgraded to a Master of Divinity degree, since the prerequisite for the program was a bachelor's degree.
He continued to serve at Wesley, Shreveport (1952-1953), where he first held services in the parsonage and then led the church in the building of the chapel. After that, he served Pleasant Hill (1953-1955), Montgomery (1955-1956), Urania (1957-1958), Zwolle (1958-1962), Choudrant – Douglas (1962-1963), Brownsville , West Monroe (1964-1965), Elton – Basile (1965-1967), and Waterproof (1967-1970).
In 1970, he retired from the ministry, though he served several churches on a temporary basis after that. In the words of his wife, Joyce, “When the schools integrated in Louisiana, white teachers left the public school system, leaving the school boards desperate for good teachers. Even though Bill was working hard to keep the Waterproof church working, he was asked to teach a couple of classes in the Concordia Parish schools. The next year, he was asked to teach full time. This necessitated going back to school to get certified. It was hard to return to school, preach, and teach. Since the school system was so desperate for qualified, Christian teachers, Bill chose to retire from the ministry and to teach. Eighteen years later, he retired from teaching. I have no doubt that there are many people who were his students who are better people because of him.”
He had been a Master Mason since 1953. After he retired from the public school system, he and his wife moved to El Paso , and he joined the El Paso Scottish Rite, where he attained the 32nd degree and was a Noble at El Maida Shrine Temple. In addition, he was a member of El Paso York Rite body, where he reached the 9th degree of Knight Templar. He also was a member of the Ysleta Eastern Star Chapter. He served as secretary of Fraternity Lodge 1111 AF&AM for eight years. He then retired again to enjoy time with his family.
During his ministry, he was instrumental in the United Methodist Church summer camps in Louisiana , serving as the director of many camps during the 1950's and 1960's. Also, as an amateur radio operator, he served for many years in the Military Auxiliary Radio Service (MARS), helping to provide emergency communications during times of need. He was an avid amateur photographer and operated his own darkroom for many years.
Rev. Hall led a full life of service to God. In the words of his wife, Joyce, “Bill learned to talk with farmers and to listen to their problems. Honesty and sincerity are so much a part of his moral fiber. There were some really rough times, but there were also many good times. We made good friends that have stayed in our lives.”
William T. Hall, III
|Source: Louisiana Conference Journal, 2010|