Robert Hall died last week. This article about him appeared in the Forks Forum in July 2015.
Former Forks resident Robert Hall, who now resides in Bellingham, will be honored with a ride on the Forks Old Fashioned Fourth of July float in the Grand Parade on Saturday. You might say that Hall is the guy that is responsible for the fact that the town of Forks has a stoplight today. Hall is a former Marine, teacher, and Forks city councilman.
Hall was born in Grand Island, Neb., in 1925. His father worked as a policeman for a while and after residing in Los Angeles, the family moved to Washington, living in Anacortes, Lynden, and Orcas Island.
Many who attended Forks High School had Mr. Hall as a teacher and some would be surprised to learn he was a bit of a prankster when he himself was in high school.
On Dec. 7, 1941, Hall was attending high school. Later a former island grad came to the school and told of his role with the Marines on Guadalcanal. Hall said, “I joined the Corps with the reluctant permission of my parents.”
After boot camp, Hall was sent to Oahu. He recalled, “I can still remember that night when someone listening to the radio received word that the Japanese had surrendered. The barracks erupted in cheers.”
After the war Hall attended the University of Washington earning a bachelor’s degree in education. One day he noticed a booth that was set up urging veterans to join the inactive reserve. Hall thought that sounded good. Within a few weeks, the North Koreans crossed the 38th Parallel and invaded South Korea.
Hall once again found himself a Marine. After serving in Korea, he returned to Washington and enrolled at the University of Washington, and ultimately received his secondary teaching certificate.
Hall met Bill Brown, Forks School superintendent, in the employment office. Brown felt Hall’s former Marine experience was just the thing FHS needed and Hall was hired on the spot to be a Forks teacher.
It was 1952 and Hall remembers driving through Sappho, on a hot September day. It was a bustling community.
He recalls his first look at downtown Forks and the drug store with a soda fountain, Ruel and Vedder, a tiny post office, a meat market, Huggins’ store, and Groffman’s.
In Hall’s first class at FHS, U.S. History, he says he found no disciplinary problems that Superintendent Brown had warned him about!
In 1960, during Christmas vacation Hall married his wife Mona Erickson.
Hall is not sure when he was appointed to Forks City Council but he served one term and then was elected to another. It was during that time that he became concerned with the traffic at Main Street and Division Street. With the help of Sen. Paul Conner, a stoplight was finally installed at the dangerous intersection in 1974.
In 1980, Hall and his family left Forks for Bellingham. Where he became active in city council activities there. In August 2003, Hall’s wife Mona lost her battle with cancer.
Since he left Forks, Hall has returned almost every Fourth of July. He actually was thinking about skipping this year until he was nominated for the Home Town Hero honor. Hall said, “I want to express my thanks for this high honor and magnanimous gesture. I am embarrassed too, as I am aware that I have never done anything heroic.”
“I do plead guilty to wearing my ‘I Love Forks’ button everywhere I go. People used to ask, where is Forks? but, not so much anymore, thanks to Stephenie Meyer. I still keep in touch with numerous Forks friends, I didn’t leave my heart in San Francisco, but probably in Forks and the West End. When some of my friends tell me people must be the same everywhere, I say, but you just don’t know Forks.”
I told Mr. Hall to accept this honor on behalf of every teacher that ever put up with an unruly bunch of students, sometimes being a teacher is a heroic act!
Robert Hall is survived by his children Alan, Sheri, and Curtis. Cards may be sent to the family at 3827 Fraser St. Bellingham, WA 98229