Charlie Herbert Hall was born on December 9, 1934 in Palestine, Arkansas – the youngest of 7 children born to the late James Hall and Clotel Barnes Hall. He was the youngest brother of Mack Hall, John Hall, James Hall, Ollie Hall, Clolena Brooks, and Iola Hall – all of whom preceded Charlie in death. Charlie’s mother died when he was two years old and he was adopted and raised by his aunt Mattie Barnes and grew up with another sister, Peoria Mitchell (deceased). Charlie accepted Christ at an early age and remained a faithful servant until he was called home. God, family, and education were prominent themes in the home upon which he built his life.
Charlie attended grammar and high school at Christ Church Episcopal School under the direction of the late Rev. James Henry King in Forrest City, Arkansas. He graduated from high school in 1955. That fall, Charlie continued his education by attending Philander Smith College in Little Rock, Arkansas on a scholarship provided by an anonymous donor. Charlie graduated from Philander Smith College in 1959 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics. While at Philander Smith, Charlie met and dated Lola Mae Williams – also from Forrest City, Arkansas.
Charlie pledged The Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. on July 18, 1958 at Philander Smith College in Little Rock, Arkansas, Beta Chi Chapter. FIRST OF ALL, SERVANTS OF ALL, WE SHALL TRANSCEND ALL. Charlie was a life long servant to all.
Charlie entered the U.S. Army in 1959. After Basic Training at Fort Benjamin Harrison in Indianapolis, Indiana, he attended Data Processing training and was assigned to a permanent station at the White Sands Missile Range in White Sands, New Mexico upon completion. Charlie worked as a unit record Operator for approximately one year at White Sands. He attended a five-month Computer Programming class from November 1960 to March 1961 at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey. During his travel from New Mexico to New Jersey, he was able to get enough leave time to stop in Chicago to marry the former Miss Lola Williams. He arrived the day before their wedding, they secured a marriage license, and were married the next day on Lola’s lunch hour at the Cook County Courthouse… no, Lola didn’t go back to work (until the next day). They spent the rest of the day on their honeymoon then Charlie departed at midnight to continue his travel to Fort Monmouth.
Upon completion of the training, Charlie worked as a Computer Programmer at White Sands until honorably discharged from the Army in 1962. Charlie returned to Chicago and embarked on starting his long career in the Computer industry. In the early 1960s, it was not illegal nor uncommon for companies to reject job applicants on the basis of race. Charlie had experienced this many times where companies would express interest based on credentials then rejecting his application after meeting him in person. In the interim, he was a bus driver for the public transportation system until finally being able to secure a position with The Service Bureau Corporation (formerly a subsidiary of IBM).
Charlie transferred his church membership from St. Phillips in Little Rock, Arkansas to St. James in Chicago.
In September 1964, Charlie and Lola were blessed with a baby daughter (Karen).
Charlie and Lola remained in Chicago until 1966. As a result of Charlie’s job transfer, they relocated to Cleveland, Ohio. Charlie transferred their church membership from St. James to Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Cleveland – which later became Transfiguration Episcopal Church and is currently Transfiguration Anglican Church. Charlie was a humble servant-leader. He served in many leadership roles – including Senior Warden of the vestry (a committee elected by members of a congregation to serve with the churchwardens in managing the temporal affairs of the church).
In June 1970, Charlie and Lola were blessed with a baby son (Charles – known to the family as “Chuckie”).
Charlie continued working for The Service Bureau Corporation – which IBM eventually sold to Control Data Corporation (to settle a lawsuit which charged anti-competitive behavior on IBM’s part) – until his retirement in the late 1980s.
Charlie embarked on his second career – this time as an educator. From 1990 to 2000, Charlie was an instructor at Lakeland Community College in the Computer Science department. In advance of this career change, Charlie was a member of Toastmasters International (a volunteer public speaking organization). Charlie credited Toastmasters with boosting his confidence with public speaking. For 10 years, Charlie enjoyed the opportunity to educate students, share his experience and expertise, and learn about going on Spring Break vacations (which he had no concept of prior to going into the education field).
Charlie’s third career venture was that of an entrepreneur. He and Lola formed Halls Information Systems in the early 2000s. Their business focus was on computer programming / networking and church administration. They were also resellers of church software and offered associated installation and networking services. Charlie and Lola also broadened their entrepreneurism to include real estate. During the 2000s, they worked as a team to purchase and manage several rental properties.
In the late 1970s, Charlie took up running as a way to keep from gaining weight after he quit smoking cigarettes. Initially, Charlie was barely able to run around the block without exhausting himself. He continued to run and his endurance increased significantly over the years. Being the disciplined person that he was (which Lola referred to as “sticktoitiveness”), he ran every weekday morning at the same very early time of day. Eventually, he would run in local annual marathons (26.2 miles). Charlie and Lola both loved being members of the Over The Hill Track Club (OTHTC). They enjoyed meeting and traveling with other adults who were interested in competing in track and field events. Charlie was inducted into the OTHTC Hall of Fame in 2010.
Charlie LOVED his Arkansas roots and spoke about them frequently… and to anyone who would listen. He was passionate about maintaining ownership of family land which was purchased and owned by the family for several generations. Although many of the original land development plans – created in the 1970s – did not come to fruition… it did not stop Charlie from envisioning possibilities for developing the land. Even though Charlie retired from active employment, he always let it be known that he would (and could) be involved in farming for as long as he lived… and he was. It pleased him immensely that his nephews Overtis (known to the family as “Phillip”) and Overtis’ son Cedric were interested in and enthusiastic about carrying out some of his visions for his latest venture – Hall Grower Farms (initially raising chickens and selling eggs). Charlie envisioned expanding the business to include growing and selling vegetables, operating a fish farm, etc. At the center of all of Charlie’s ideas was trying to make a way for his family to be self-sufficient and to support the grandchildren’s educational and life plans.
Charlie’s passion for family was evident to anyone who met him. Up to the end of his life, he maintained a very close relationship with many family members and enjoyed making phone calls to check in on everyone… sometimes at any hour that he thought about them…
Growing up, Charlie was very close with his sisters, Lena and Iola, both of whom he visited in Cleveland while he was a college student. Charlie was a constant figure in the lives of Iola’s children – Leonard, Kim, Tim, LaRita, Burdett, Erik, and Monique. Among many other things, Charlie is credited for sharing and instilling a long-time fan devotion for the Cleveland Browns. Charlie was very grateful that his nephews and nieces wanted to be actively involved in supporting him after the loss of his beloved Lola. Specifically, Burdett’s willingness to become Charlie’s full-time caregiver – which enabled Charlie to remain in his own home – was something for which Charlie was extremely grateful.
Charlie LOVED his grandchildren – Kalia, Winston, Aubree, Cree, and London and they loved him. Known to them as “Papa H”, he had a special relationship with each grandchild. When they spoke, Charlie always wanted to know what they were studying in school and invariably always tried to figure out how it could be used to benefit agriculture in general and / or farming specifically.
Charlie was preceded in death by his parents James Hall and Mattie Barnes, and his loving wife of 54 great years, Lola. He leaves to cherish his memory daughter, Karen (Wayne) of Charlotte, North Carolina; son, Charles (Stacee) of Cleveland, Ohio; grandchildren, Kalia Hall Workman, Winston Hall Workman, Aubree Monet Hall, Cree Charnae Hall, and London Charles Hall; devoted caregiver (& nephew) Burdett Howard; and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.
Charlie left very big shoes to fill. Although he will not be with us physically, his wisdom, passion for family, and innovative spirit will continue to inspire those of us who knew and loved him. Anyone who had the pleasure of knowing him has been truly blessed!!
Humbly Submitted, The Family
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Charlie H. Hall, please visit our floral store.