DAVID F. HALL
by Wilmer B. Flory
With tragic suddenness, another of
the pioneer stalwarts of the horticultural world is gone. On
July 24, Dave Hall, while walking across a railroad crossing
in Wilmette, was struck by a train and died instantly. On August
15 he would have been 93 years young (young is the only way to
describe him), nothing senile about Dave in spite of the fact
that the years had left his physical health somewhat impaired.
....Dave was a man of innate modesty.
In all the years I knew him, not once did I hear him brag about
his horticultural achievements, impressive as they are. He had
a rare sense of humor-droll, and at times earthy, but never coarse;
and "gab" sessions with Dave, punctuated as they invariably
were with amusing anecdotes drawn from his long and varied experience
as trouble-shooting attorney for the AT & T, were occasions
his friends will treasure and chuckle over for years to come,
all the more so now that they have come to an abrupt end. I think
the other quality that impressed me about Dave was the solid
integrity of the man. In this sophisticated modern age, to say
that a man's word is as good as his bond is to be branded old
fashioned and 'square' and childishly unrealistic. Dave grew
up in a different environment where one's personal integrity
was as zealously nurtured and guarded as one's religious convictions.
....Dave was born in Blenheim, Ontario,
Canada, on August 15, 1875. Thus his life span stretched an incredible
distance from the horse and buggy days and all the term connotes
to our own sophisticated modern age of space ships and projected
trips to the moon and beyond. When he was but five, his father,
then only 32 years old, was thrown from a wagon by a team of
runaway horses and killed. Some four or five years later, Dave's
mother married again; this time to a widower with three children,
and the combined families made quite a houseful! A year later
Dave went to visit his Grandfather and Grandmother Hamil and
stayed on with them until he was fifteen. These were formative
years for Dave, and Grandfather Hamil seems to have been the
chief influence in shaping those rugged traits of character that
made Dave so successful in later life. In 1896, at the age of
21, Dave started working for the American Telegraph and Telephone
Company, and stayed with them for the next 44 years, retiring
in 1940 at the age of 65. Since retirement he had devoted full
time to the breeding of irises and daylilies, with the result
that now well over 300 Hall varieties of irises and daylilies
grace the gardens of discerning horticulturists all over the
....Dave Hall does not need a memorial.
The great store of floral beauty he left to us is memorial enough,
and the only one he would have wished.
And now, farewell to a great horticulturist, a devoted husband
and father, and a loyal friend.
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Photo furnished courtesy Schreiner's Gardens--Dave
Schreiner -- photo taken by Robert Schreiner.