Hall Jr., Robert Allen

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June 12, 1950 ~ February 8, 2011 Robert Allen (Big Al) Hall Jr., one of the City of Radford’s most outstanding citizens, passed away Tuesday, February 8, 2011. Born on June 12, 1950, Hall was preceded in death by his father, Robert A. (Bob); and mother, Minnie Miller Cord Hall; and aunt and uncles, Kathleen and William T. (Bus) Snead, and Jim Cord.

Known as “Big Al” to anyone who knew him, Hall was one of the most passionate, loyal, hard-working, and confident individuals the City of Radford, Va., has ever known. Through his dedication “Big Al” had become a “Favorite Son” in the City of Radford for the many community service projects that he either helped start or funded.

“Big Al” founded the Dana Palmer Foundation. This two-day event raised money for scholarships in the name of RHS graduate and football player, Dana Palmer, whose life was cut short because of cancer. Not only did he begin this foundation, but he called upon professional and college basketball players to attend the affair and play in an All-Star Basketball game against the local Radford High School youth. Fans would come out to these games and support the events, because they knew the proceeds were going to the Palmer Scholarship program. Hall also gave to the St. Jude Research Hospital in Memphis. “Big Al” helped establish the Radford High School Sports Hall of Fame in 2008 and was chairman of the board.

In 2010, “Big Al” was inducted into the Hall of Fame along with eight other members. Hall’s name along with those individuals, who have been selected to the RHS Hall of Fame the past three years, will be remembered on a red brick wall near Bobcat Stadium.

Hall was a member of the Radford Recreation Commission. During his years on the commission, “Big Al” helped solicit funds for the fireworks each year. He was responsible also for the increased crowds when Jimmy Fortune of Statler Brothers fame arrived in B. David Bisset Park for the Fourth of July celebration.

When he wasn’t celebrating the Fourth of July, “Big Al” could be found on the city league softball fields where he coached the Lynchburg Foundry Streakers, a team composed of many of the region’s best softball power hitters. He was also a good score bookkeeper of games played in the area. Hall’s efforts (coaching, keeping score books or funding events in Radford) did not go unnoticed. He was presented a key to the City of Radford for his love of his community.

radford_bobcatsAs much as he liked the Fourth of July, Hall had a passion for high school football. Hall was a member of “The Chain Gang” at many Radford Bobcat football games when Norman G. Lineburg was coaching. “Big Al” often struck up conversations on the sidelines with visiting athletes and coaches. He would wish them the best of luck and encourage them to “reach for the stars” after the football contest in Bobcat Stadium was completed.

He was sincere in this matter when speaking with young athletes and future leaders. As a lifelong resident of the City of Radford, “Big Al” never requested anything for himself. He was always seeking funds, if not for a scrimmage football game at RHS then perhaps funds for the Senior Sports Banquet in late spring.

“Big Al’s” easy manner drew people of all walks of life to give. Those that knew him well would give without asking, and those that were contacted only once or twice a year knew if “Big Al” was involved that the cause was worthy indeed. “It means a lot to so many not just here in Radford but those outside of Radford. They have helped us. I can’t thank them enough,” said Hall.

What set “Big Al” apart from so many other fund-raisers was his knowledge of the games and his pure love for sports. Hall had a gift to push others, who either needed a helping hand or deserved recognition. Hall was instrumental in having five high school athletes recognized in “Faces in the Crowd,” which is a prominent feature of Sports Illustrated.

“Big Al” was a 1968 graduate of Radford High. He played varsity tennis, track, and golf. He was co-captain of the golf team. He was a member of the Varsity Club and a member of Fellowship of Christian Athletes. He also had perfect attendance at Sunday school for 17 years. Hall held a degree from New River Community College. He was employed at Radford Community Hospital, Radford University and Norwood Station Apartments.

There is no one like “Big Al” who gave it his best day in and day out, year after year so that others could be recognized for a job well done. He made each athlete feel “important” about their accomplishments. Yes, “Big Al” was part salesman, part publicist, and part booking agent. He was a great friend. “Big Al” will be missed for his dedication, his loyalty, his love for sports, and his warm smile that always seemed to brighten the day.

The City of Radford and the surrounding area will celebrate “Big Al’s” life not with a tear of sadness, but with knowledge that Hall earned an ultimate victory for a job well done on the Good Earth.

A community celebration and memorial service at the Radford High School Bobcat Gymnasium will be held in early Spring. “Big Al” is in the care of Mullins Funeral Home & Crematory in Radford, Va. www.mullinsfuneralhome.com