My dad, Larry Hall, passed away on Jan 26, 2017. He had a very aggressive type of cancer that moved rapidly through his body over his last two years. On February 18, 2017, his family and friends gathered to celebrate his life. Below are the words I shared that day.
Memorial to my Dad
On behalf of the Larry Hall family, I’d like to thank each of you for being here today. Some of you are here because you encountered my dad at some point in your lives. I suppose some of you never met Dad but are here to support someone else. Whatever your reason, thanks for taking time out of your life to be with us in honoring and remembering him. We also want to acknowledge there are several good friends and family members that wanted to be here but couldn’t make it today. Their presence is felt even in their absence.
My dad was a big man in many ways. I knew that before he died… and since his death I’ve been reminded again of his significance. We found out a couple of years ago that he had cancer. Part of the beauty of the last two years has been getting to watch my dad fight his cancer. He really had an extraordinary outlook throughout the process. Even when the end seemed obvious to those of us around him… he kept looking beyond his diagnosis. He kept putting events on the calendar. I’m really not sure how he was able to do that.
I have many stories I could tell about my dad, but today I feel compelled to talk about grief a bit. That’s where I find myself this morning. It’s where we all find ourselves at some point. As awful as dad’s cancer was, it did allow us all to grieve a little bit during each season over the last two years.
Grief is an interesting friend. I been trying to find a good analogy for grief. I think it is a type of friend. I suppose we’ve all had a real friend that acted like grief. You know, the one that shows up unexpectedly at your front door… comes in… cleans out your fridge… and stays well past their welcome.
This type of friend is exhausting.
I’ve hosted grief before… and each time it visits I’m reminded how much energy it takes just to keep it company. My dad did have his moments of frustration over his last two years, but I was amazed at what a gracious host he was for his own grief. That may be the last lesson dad had for those of us who anxiously await grief’s next knock at our door.
A couple of weeks ago our family bought a dog. Its purchase was proposed to me, by my wife, as a “therapy dog”. I often refer to it as our “grief dog”. Not surprisingly, the dog keeps us up at night too. It also poops on the carpet. There’s probably another analogy in there somewhere. But, I must admit our new dog, Winston, has been a great addition to the family. In the same way we’ve created space in our lives and come to appreciate Winston… we also see the value in allowing grief to stay as long as it needs to. It hurts… but it’s healthy.
Well, enough of that.
In closing, I feel the need to mention a couple things about dad. He had a couple quirks. First, he was the king of tearing out newspaper articles that he thought you should read. At the end of each of my visits there was a pause… then he would point to the small pile of papers by the door that he expected me to take. It was one way he made connections with those he loved… and everyone in the family got them.
Second, not everyone he loved dropped by the house to pick up newspaper articles… so at some point my dad started forwarding emails to large lists of people. Not one of them was an original from him… they were emails he had received that contained jokes, sometimes political statements, and even a few “unverified urban legends”. Perhaps you were on one of his email lists. That just means he loved you too.
Some of you may have a short memory of my dad to share. I’d like to invite us into a time of open sharing. The family will enjoy listening…
Larry Hall was 78 years old when he passed away in January of 2017. He was born in Seattle on November 4th, 1938 to Grace and Glenn Hall. His older brothers Orrin and Vernon also welcomed him into this world. Larry had another brother, Leroy, who passed away in infancy prior to Larry’s birth. Larry grew up in Seattle. He graduated from John Marshall Jr. High and in 1956 from Roosevelt High School. He played football in high school with a leather helmet with no face mask. He broke his nose several times.
He attended Seattle Pacific College where he met Eleanor on a blind date in 1958. There were two girls available that night from which Larry could choose for his date. He didn’t know either one… so Larry asked for the taller of the two… that was Eleanor… at 5’4”. It was Eleanor’s first date… ever… with anyone… and she knew immediately that he was the one. Eleanor had prayed that she would meet her husband in college. They met in the fall of her freshman year. She quickly latched on… and they were married two years later.
After graduating from Seattle Pacific College and the University of Washington, Larry taught marketing and accounting at the high school and community college levels in Seattle. During the 12 years he taught, Larry also sold real estate in the summer months. He moved his family of four to Salem in 1975 to begin working as the Executive Director for the Oregon Student Leadership Center and oversaw Oregon’s Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) and Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) at both the high school and college levels. The family started attending Salem Alliance Church shortly after arriving in Salem.
In 1991 Larry took the position of Director of Member Services with the Oregon Independent Telephone Association where he worked with telephone companies and affiliate members developing training seminars, annual meetings and golf tournaments.
His outside interests included golf, fishing, and working at a security company covering special events at the fairgrounds and OSU athletic events. In 2001, Larry retired and he and Eleanor began traveling in their 38’ Teton 5th-Wheel pulled by their International 4700 truck. They bought a small lot in the Desert Air Resort in Indio, California. Larry served 3 terms as the President of the Desert Air Homeowner’s Association. Larry was a social butterfly in the RV park. He and Eleanor bought a golf cart… not to golf… but just to drive around and talk with friends.
There are many people that survived his passing who will remember Larry. His wife Eleanor, daughter Jodi, son Greg and daughter-in-law Lisa. His two grandsons, Jacob and Nathan, will also remember their grandpa for the rest of their lives. There are many extended family members that will remember Larry including his older brother Orrin, many cousins, nieces, and nephews. The Celebration Sunday School class at the Alliance Church was an important source of friendships for Larry. Many of those people will also fondly share his memory.
Larry Hall is… and will be missed.