It was sad news last week when Alan Hall called me to share that his father Robert “Bob” Hall had passed. Mr. Hall was many things, a veteran, a teacher, a city councilman, but mostly, after he moved to Bellingham, he was a longtime Forks Forum subscriber. (He would always let me know when his paper did not arrive.)
I first got to know him when he was my Forks Jr. High English teacher and after high school, he had been my neighbor on Leppell Rd. He was thrilled when I became the editor of the Forks Forum, but also the English teacher in him let me know, via an email, when my somewhat casual use of the English language bothered him … a biggy was the use of “who and whom.” I had told him that my style was sort of chatty, friendly … like talking to someone while shopping at Forks Outfitters … He said …no room for error! Use words correctly! I assured him I would try to do better.
More recently we argued over the use of the word “weedeating” he told me to not use it as it was not a word …use instead “trimming the weeds.” I explained that one can trim the weeds with a lot of different tools but that a weedeater was specific to the task of weedeating …he sort of dismissed me, not buying my argument!
Over my years here at the newspaper he has shared stories and letters in the Forks Forum and written about his life experiences. One that stood out was as a veteran he went on an Honor Flight back to DC and shared how he went to the Vietnam War Memorial and found the names of the Forks ‘boys’ that didn’t make it home …some of his former students.
A few years ago he began writing something he called “Odds and Ends” where he contemplated short little bits of information that he had read in different publications. He ‘instructed’ me not to publish his Odds and Ends column as a Letter to the Editor …so I didn’t. (I always listen to my teacher, unless it involves the word weedeating, I am fighting for that one.)
It was just a few months ago he wrote me an email to say that he was not going to write his Odd and Ends column anymore because nobody ever commented on what he wrote. I replied back to him that I hoped he would reconsider and that I write thousands of words every week and very seldom do I get any kind of feedback …he wrote back … “Good Point.”
A few weeks later I got another email from him telling me he had some health issues and he probably wouldn’t be sending much more for publication. Then the last email I got from him was on March 8, he was commenting on what I had written about his fellow Forks teacher Jack Smith who had died.
In 2015 I nominated Mr. Hall to be our “Home Town Hero” and ride on the Forks float on the 4th of July. He loved Forks, the 4th, and had been a veteran and a teacher for almost 30 years, so I thought he was a perfect candidate.
On Friday his son Alan told me that being in the parade had been one of his Dad’s most cherished experiences. Alan said that after the parade, his dad had asked him, “Do you know what it is like to be on a float and have everyone cheering for you?” and then added, “I guess you don’t.” I think he had a great time!
Goodbye Mr. Hall
Christi Baron, Editor
Rainforest Council for the Arts celebrates Rainfest 2022 for the week of April 18-22. In place of in-person activities, the Forks library will have art kits to send home. The kits will have a watercolor set, crayons, cut-outs and supplies for two braided friendship bracelets.
Please visit the Forks branch of NOLS to see artwork by Forks artists in the display case and the front windows.
Thomas J. Kraft, Sr of Hermiston was born January 29, 1944, in Salina, Kansas. He passed away in Hermiston on October 16, 2021, at the age of 77.
His Celebration of Life will be held Saturday, April 16 at 1 p.m. at the Forks Elks Lodge, 941 Merchant Rd., Forks.
There will be food and a no-host bar available.
Please come share your memories and fun stories with friends and family.