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Dr. John Watson Hall

Dr. John Watson Hall, 92, died Friday, July 16, in Farmville, where his son and daughter live.

Born Jan. 30, 1929 to Eleanor Watson Hall and Lawrence Fenor Hall in Manhattan, Kansas, Dr. Hall spent much of his professional career in service to the students, faculty, and administration of Georgia State University.

Dr. Hall joined GSU in 1956, after developing Kansas University’s first comprehensive insurance education program. He continued that same dedication to program and institution development at GSU, chairing or supporting multiple committees, programs, and initiatives focused on the academic rigor, internal management and industry linkages of GSU’s Robinson College of Business Administration. Among his GSU recognitions, Dr. Hall was awarded Outstanding Faculty Member of the Year in 1968; inducted into the GSU Risk Management and Insurance Hall of Fame in 2016 and awarded Chairman Emeritus of the Robinson College’s Department of Risk Management and Insurance, after serving as the Department Chair from 1969 until his retirement in 1988.

Dr. Hall assumed the same specialist and leadership roles with the insurance industry, among them Director of the IBM Advanced Insurance Institute; administrator of several regional, national and international conferences; and associations and expert consultant to numerous legislatures, industry leaders and affiliates. Dr. Hall was also a long-time Member of the Board of Deacons for Clairmont Presbyterian Church, in Atlanta. Constantly attentive of those who worked for and with him, Dr. Hall dictated his last letter during the final days of his life: a note to the families of the staff at The Woodland’s Moore Center who tended him during his last week, sharing how important and appreciated was the work that their loved ones did.

The vision, dedication, and care necessary to build and maintain so many institutions were also evident in Dr. Hall’s personal life. At age 12, he started dating Barbara Jean Givin (born May 20, 1929). The two knew they had to graduate college before marrying and so skipped their high school senior year to begin undergraduate studies (Kansas University for Barbara and Kansas State University for John, where he earned a BS in Economics); they married right after college graduation, on June 11, 1950. John received a full graduate scholarship to the University of Pennsylvania, and earned his MA in Applied Economics from UPenn in 1952 and PhD in1960.

John’s wife Barbara died Feb. 5, 2005 in Farmville. On Aug. 26, 2006, he married Virginia Wynne Jones; she died on April 14, 2017 in Hendersonville, North Carolina. Following her death, Dr. Hall moved back to Farmville, where his son, Dr. Robert Givin Hall (born January 25, 1953 in Manhattan, Kansas) lived with his wife, Dr. Jacqueline Anderson Hall. John’s daughter Miss Kathryn Jean Hall (born June 20, 1956 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) moved to Farmville in 2020 to help support her father.

Dr. John Watson Hall is survived by his brother, Lawrence Barrett Hall and family; children, Robert (wife, Jacqueline) and Kathryn; his grandchildren John (wife, Rebecca), Kristin (husband, Shane) and Nathan (wife, Laura) and five great-grandchildren, William, David, Peter, Stephen and John.

A funeral service will be held at 4 p.m. on Sunday, August 15, at College Presbyterian Church, Hampden-Sydney (masks required). In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to College Church or to the Southside Virginia SPCA.