Published in The Washington Post on Apr. 5, 2020
JOHN HALL Sr. (1937 - 2020)
John Franklin Hall, Sr. (82) of St. Peter, Minnesota, died following sudden cardiac arrest while
in rehabilitation care at Benedictine Health Services on 30 March 2020.
Born in Washington, D.C., in 1937, John was the son of Albert G. Hall and Mattie Cathale Neal.
John was raised in Washington, and enjoyed a youth filled with Boy Scout activities and various
occupations, including lawn-mowing, grocery store bagging, paper routes, and small-time
publishing on his father's printing press, known as "Hall Brothers Printing". He pursued many of
these exploits together with his younger brother, Albert G. Hall, Jr. John then followed his father
into forestry. When John was 13 years old, his father, who had been the Chief Forester for the
American Forestry Association, established a forestry consulting business along the Atlantic
coast - from North Carolina to Pennsylvania. During this time, John worked with his father in the
forests, running compass lines, hauling paint cans to mark trees for harvesting, and taking field
notes. At 18, John enrolled in the Pennsylvania State University's School of Forestry. He also
married his first wife, Betty Lou Leapley, during his time at Penn State.
Following graduation in 1959, John worked with his father's organization, while studying law at
George Washington University School of Law, from which he graduated in 1963. While working
for his father's company, John took a 6-month temporary assignment with a client, the National
Lumber Manufacturers' Association, which ended 25 years later with John as Senior
Vice-President and Secretary of the by-then National Forest Products Association. John
subsequently served as President of the American Preservers' Institute, and then Executive
Vice-President of the American Wood Preservers' Association, from which he retired in 2003.
An accomplished magician, John never failed to entertain his friends and family with complex
magic tricks. His musical talents were also on display from an early age, from steel guitar and
trumpet in his youth, to concertina, piano, and lifelong choral performances, including dutiful
service with the Riverblenders of Mankato, Minnesota.
Following his own active youth in the Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts, John was active in Scouting
as an adult, serving as a Scoutmaster for several Scout troops. He additionally coached girls'
youth softball, and supported each of his children in their athletic and avocational pursuits.
John was married three times during his life, and he raised three children.
John was preceded in death by his parents, his second wife, Mary L. Hauck, and his third wife,
Ruth Elise Scheibel.
John is remembered by his brother, Albert G. Hall, Jr, and Albert's wife Margaret; John's first
wife, Betty Lou Leapley, and by his adoring children: his daughter, Catherine Ann Brown and
her children, Robert, Jessica, and Melissa; his son, John F. Hall, Jr., and wife, Malgorzata, and
their son, Jan K. Babiuch-Hall; and his second daughter, Jennifer L. Munson, and her husband,
Jeffrey, along with their children, Tyler and Connor.
John will be interred in Maryland.
Memorial services await an appropriate time. Contributions may be made to the St. Peter Area
Food Shelf, the Mankato Riverblenders, First Lutheran Church of St. Peter,
Minnesota, or your favorite charity.
Remembrances can be left at: www.saintpeterfuneralhome.com