Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Celebration of the Life of Tim Stewart Hall

Tim Stewart Hall
This weekend my husband, sister and I traveled to DeWitt, New York to attend the funeral of our cousin Tim Hall.  Tim's mother and my father were first cousins. That made Tim my third cousin.  Our two families had a lot of fun times together.  Even though Tim was 14 years older, I still have fond memories of how kind he was to a little squirt like me. 

My first memory of Tim was when I was probably three.  We were visiting and Tim (or his dad, Albert) had a tape recorder.  He encouraged me to sing a song or say something so I could listen to my voice.  I think I sang some little song about the little duck leading the others with his "quack, quack, quack."  When I heard my voice it almost scared me because, of course, it did not sound like me at all.
This is my mom and dad with Tim
and his sister, Susie.  I can't believe Mother
let Tim and Dad have their picture taken
with such wrinkled pants.

Most of my other memories of Tim were at family reunions, but he was soon off to college and did not get to attend each year.  I was always aware of what was happening in Tim's life.  He graduated form Hanover College in Indiana and later graduated from Nashotah House Seminary.  He married a woman who had the same name as my sister, Linda!  They had a little girl, Leah.  Tim became an Episcopalian Priest, and an activist for the poor and the misunderstood.

There was great sadness when Tim's wife died from cancer at a young age.  His faith brought him strength and peace....and later, he met Jackie...who became his wife. (Yes, his first wife had the same name as my sister...and his second wife and I share the same name.)  She was also an Episcopalian Priest.  So, you can imagine how busy this household was.  They had four children, Stewart, and then twins, Seth and  Laura... and a few years later Simon was born.
St. John's Church
Imagine this church packed with friends and family.  What a wonderful
tribute to such a loved man.

My plan was to take pictures to share on the blog, but after getting to the church I felt taking pictures would be intrusive and instead I spent time listening to the stories of how Tim brought happiness to the lives of so many. As you  can see from the picture above...the church was beautiful.  Sitting through the service I felt a great sense of family.  Mark, Tim's brother was comforting Leah's two young daughters with a gentle hand on their shoulders.  Susie, Tim's sister sat next to me sharing childhood stories.  I can't write about everyone, but each cousin is part of the web of our family.  It reminded me of the small church, Ebenezer United Methodist, where our great-great-grandparents (not sure how many 'greats') planted the seeds of this congregation.

Inside Ebenezer United Methodist where generations of
our family worshiped, wed, were baptized and memorialized.
Tim's son, Seth Thomas Schmitt-Hall spoke at the memorial.  He wove words from his grandfather, Albert Hall, with memories of his dad.  He spoke with grace...a balance of sadness and humor.  He began with the line, "Isn't it wonderful how close Tears are to Laughter?"  The whole tribute can be found at Remarks about my Father

Below are two short slide shows of pictures of the two churches.  They are like bookends to a remarkable life...a chapter in our family history that threads through past, present and future.

Tim Stewart Hall


  1. I am sorry for your loss. The stories and memories speak loads as to what a wonderful person Tim was. As a priest I am sure his life was extremely busy ministering to his congregation.

    I did have to smile when I read about the tape recorder. I don't know of anyone who thinks that their recorded voice sounds like them. I know in my mind I sound much better than a recording of me. I am sure that the tape must distort my voice. Surely I don't sound that bad.

    My thoughts and prayers are with you.

  2. Jackie, I'm sorry for the loss of your cousin. How nice that you were able to attend with your sister and husband. Your cousin sounds like a very good man and you have a supportive family.