- Cullman, Alabama

September 17, 2013

Dorothy M. Hall


CULLMAN — Dorothy M. Hall

During the night of August 30, 2013, Mrs. Dorothy M. Hall passed peacefully from the cares, joys, and toil of this worldly life at Montgomery, Alabama at the age of 96. She was born May 25, 1917, to Andrew and Della Stone of Sand Mountain in Northeast Alabama into a family which came to include ten brothers and sisters.  Dorothy married Elton A. Hall, also from a large Sand Mountain family, in May 1946 after his service with the U.S. Army in Germany. Three children were born to this union over the next four years. Mrs. Hall is survived by three of her sisters: Audrey Peek of Birmingham, AL, Maxie Lee Rice of Cedartown, GA, and Nell Gurley of Lanette, AL. She is also survived by her three children: Charlotte E. Watts of Greenville, SC, Garland D. Hall of Seattle, WA, and Danny B. Hall of Montgomery, AL, as well as by several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

The farming life with it's dependance on family together with growing up during the hard times of the Great Depression and war years, gave Dorothy her traits of selfless giving, perseverance and innate sense of conservation. Her father had started his work as a teacher at the age of 18, but to raise the family, was a farmer and owner of a string of mercantile stores. This resulted in the the family relocating to Fayetteville, TN, Cedartown, GA, and several small towns on Sand Mountain. Her father was dedicated to the southern tradition of church singings, many times teaching week long "singing" schools and raised his the children in this tradition. In this musical family, Dorothy's talents developed early. She sung on several occasions with her father and sisters on the radio. She was skilled with the piano, self-taught with the accordion, and could play a tune on about any instrument. She graduated from Valley Head High School in Dekalb County. As the next to oldest girl in the family, she early on assumed responsibility for cooking for the family and caring for the younger children. She remained with the family while the older two brothers were away at war and could handle their tasks of plowing with the mules and other farm work as necessary. While still at home, her courtship by her future husband, Elton Hall was "tricky" and resisted at first. She thought it somewhat inappropriate to consider marriage to a "younger" man. As Dorothy later told it, his "good looks and persistance" eventually won her over. 

After marriage, they settled into life at Berry College near Rome, GA, and a future dedicated to education. Mr. Hall began teaching at Berry, but returned to the military for a short time during the Korean conflict. They moved in 1952 with the three young children from Berry to Arkadelphia in southwest Cullman County where he had accepted a position as principal of the junior high school. She always remembered the people there as some of the "finest people on this Earth". They moved to Jones Chapel in 1954, where Mr. Hall became principal of the junior high, then moved in 1956 to Vinemont when he was appointed principal of the junior high school there. Mr. Hall gained a reputation as a dedicated, loved and respected educator in Cullman County and continued public service after retirement as mayor of South Vinemont, until his death in 1997. He could not have achieved his success without her support. They were true partners in life's challenges and achievements. 

With encouragement from her husband to begin a teaching career, Mrs. Hall returned to school and achieved degrees from Sacred Heart College and Saint Bernard College, in Cullman AL, and finally a master’s degree in education from George Peabody College for Teachers, at Nashville, TN, in 1962. Dorothy taught science, English and literature to seventh- and eighth grades at Vinemont from 1960 until she retired in 1977. She had "homeroom" for seventh grade. In the hour at the beginning of the school day, besides the normal administrative duties, a short devotional and social time were often scheduled.

In Mrs. Hall's homeroom, students were often treated to her accomplished playing of the accordion. Students participated in song during this time, both individually and as a group. Many students still recall when an "auto-harp" was obtained by the school. Mrs. Hall, could even play this unfamiliar instrument and tried to interest students in it as well. To this day, students recall with appreciation the science demonstrations which included a volcano, which sometimes..."over-erupted" to the amusement of the class. The English classes were taught with the same enthusiasm by Mrs. Hall. Seventh graders did not always appreciate the value of lessons in "diagramming" sentences; however, as they grew to maturity, they did come to appreciate the quality and enthusiasm of a teacher who taught them more that just rote facts. 

Mr. and Mrs. Hall have been members of the First Baptist Church of Vinemont from the time they moved there. Mrs. Hall's abiding faith in Jesus Christ and her fellowship with the church members has always sustained her. This has been especially true over the last few years since the death of Mr. Hall. Since it was both of their wishes to have their remains cremated, that has been done at Montgomery, AL. 

From the start of the young family at Berry College, both Mr. and Mrs. Hall dedicated their lives to education and were partners in the very best sense of the word. Their connection to Berry College remained strong throughout their lives, and this connection continues on through their children. Because of their belief in the ideals the college has always stood for, "Service to mankind by providing an education to those least able to afford one"; a scholarship fund was set up at Berry College upon the death of Elton Hall. As there is no memorial service planned, and in lieu of flowers, it is requested that contributions be made to this fund at Berry College. Contributed funds will be matched by corporate funds in this account: The "Elton and Dorothy Hall 'Gate of Opportunity Fund'". The children and surviving family members appreciate all the expressions of sympathy given at this time of our loss. Letters of sympathy and cards, as well as contributions, if desired, to the above scholarship fund, may be mailed to: Charlotte Watts, 236 Timbrooke Way, Easley SC 29642.