On August 18, 2016, the Reverend Dr. Thomas Hartley Hall IV died in Asheville, NC. He was 87 years old.
Mr. Hall was born in Macon, Georgia on July 1, 1929, the only child of Thomas H. “Jack” Hall, III and Mildred Baird Hall. He attended Lanier High School in Macon. A natural leader, Hartley served as President of Key Club International and Cadet Lieutenant Colonel for the Junior ROTC.
Mr. Hall graduated cum laude from Davidson College in 1951, was inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa honor society and served as Commanding Officer of the ROTC.
He served as a 1st Lieutenant in the US Army, Infantry Division, in the Korean War, and was a Platoon Leader, Company Commander and Headquarters Commandant for the 32nd Infantry Regiment. Mr. Hall was awarded a Bronze Star with Oak Leaf Cluster and a Silver Star for gallantry in action.
After returning from Korea, Mr. Hall attended Union Theological Seminary (now Union Presbyterian Seminary) in Richmond, Virginia, graduating cum laude in 1957.
During his time at Union, Mr. Hall was staff photographer for the American School of Oriental Research in Israel and Jordan as part of an archeological expedition that located the biblical city of Gibeon. He was awarded a scholarship to Yale Divinity School, receiving an STM degree in 1958.
Mr. Hall was ordained as a Presbyterian minister and for the next 23 years served in pastorates at First Congregational Church in Branford, CT, as Presbyterian Chaplain at NC State University, at First Presbyterian Church in Lenoir, NC, First Presbyterian Church in Tyler, TX and Westminster Presbyterian Church in Nashville, TN.
Mr. Hall then served as President of Union Theological Seminary in Richmond, Virginia, from 1981 to 1994, when he retired to Asheville, NC. He received honorary doctorate degrees from both Davidson College and Austin College. Mr. Hall was a member of the Society of the Cincinnati and a longtime member of Sam’s Club.
Mr. Hall is survived by his four children, Aurie Hall (Marcy Wilder) of Washington, DC, Grace Hall (Kathy Theoharis) of Asheville, NC, Hartley Hall (Carolyn Griffin Hall) of Nashville, TN and Leigh Hall (Michael Smith) of Carrboro, NC, and his six grandchildren, Ellis and Graham Wilder, Nicholas Hall, Grace Hall and Emma and Walker Smith. He was married from 1957 to 1997 to Ann Hartzog Hall, currently of Black Mountain, NC.
T. Hartley Hall was a man of singular intellect and Calvinist sensibility. He had boundless intellectual curiosity and an irrepressible, irreverent sense of humor. His engaging conversations could range from religious and theological issues to canning recipes; and from history and politics to the recent discoveries of the Hubble Space Telescope.
Never one to suffer fools gladly, Mr. Hall established long lasting and rewarding friendships with a wide range of people who became family to him. He will be deeply missed by those who knew him well.
For many years, Mr. Hall has supported the Verner Center for Early Learning in Asheville, NC, where he established a scholarship fund for the children of single, working mothers.
Donations can be made in Mr. Hall’s honor to the Verner Center for Early Learning, vernerearlylearning.org, Davidson College, davidson.edu, or Union Presbyterian Seminary, upsem.edu.
Published in Tennessean from Aug. 20 to Aug. 22, 2016