T. William "Bill" Hall September 20, 1921 - October 24, 2016
Bill was born in Kansas; during the dust bowl days and Great Depression they lived in small towns where his father was a minister. At Kansas Wesleyan University in Salina he majored in history and music, working his way through college as an itinerant preacher and teaching music in nearby schools. In college he started dating Ruth Fisher, wooing her through song; they married in 1943.
During World War II, he attended the Iliff School of Theology in Denver, and Bill sought conscientious objector status. When he graduated from Iliff in 1946, he offered to serve as a military chaplain, but the war was ending. Bill accepted a job at Kansas Wesleyan, and decided that teaching was his calling. That meant earning a Ph.D, so the family moved east. Bill attended Boston University where he and Martin Luther King, Jr. became friends.
A series of academic positions followed: Pittsburgh (Kansas) State University, Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri, and for 20 years at Syracuse University. Bill and Ruth traveled widely, lecturing and studying the origins of Christianity, Buddhism and Hinduism. He published three books and many articles. Bill's commitment to liberal religion was the foundation of his concern for justice for all people regardless of race, religion or sexuality.
Bill and Ruth moved to Davis toward the end of the 1990's. They were active in Dos Pinos Housing Cooperative before becoming two of the first residents of Carlton Senior Living Davis.
Shortly before his passing, Bill said, "As I grow older, my passion for knowledge about religion has shifted to a more inward spiritual quest... Life has become more simple, but I have many soul-enriching memories. Moreover, my one good eye and a single hearing aid give me incredibly beautiful sights and sounds. So in this more simple life, I am trying to listen and see more. And in some rare moments, I feel I am connected to everyone and everything in this mysterious universe. And I am thankful."
Survivors include wife Ruth, daughter Jane McKendry of Davis, daughter Kris Meier of Connecticut, son Doug Hall of New Jersey, five grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.