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Ross Hume Hall Ph.D.

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RICHMOND -- A man of distinguished, scientific research, Ross Hume Hall worked tirelessly in fields of the public’s interest. Earning a doctorate at Cambridge University under Nobel Laureate, Lord Todd, his post-doctorate work followed under Nobel Laureate, Gobin Khorana.

In 1971, Columbia University Press published Dr. Hall’s original findings in “The Modified Nucleosides in Nucleic Acids.” His work in the farthest reaches of cell biology continued at Lederle Laboratories and Roswell Park Cancer Institute. Dr. Hall was ultimately asked to chair and initiate a new department of biochemistry for Canada’s pioneering medical school at McMaster University in the early 1970s.

There he delighted students with a “cell’s-eye view” of nutritional biochemistry. During his tenure, Dr. Hall was honored twice as “teacher of the year.” Adding her developing specialty in energy and endurance, Dr. Hall’s nutritionist wife Anne would later prove his strategy for dynamic health and performance at the highest levels in sports.

Dr. Halls’ renowned cousin, Marshall McLuhan (a Canadian icon), encouraged Dr. Hall’s nutritional view that addressed the whole individual. In his ground breaking text “Food For Nought: The Decline in Nutrition” (Medical Division of Harper & Rowe, 1975), Dr. Hall critiqued the well established, but untenable approach of emphasizing single nutrients. Still regarded a classic, Dr. Hall’s wide ranging expertise led to hundreds of advocacy articles published in scientific journals as well as in the public press. He published numerous scholarly papers and gave invited presentations around the world from Paris, Izmir and Prague to Tokyo and Moscow, often in the host language of the country.

Dr. Hall functioned as an advisor to the minister of the environment in Canada, also as a member of the Great Lakes Advisory System. Following Dr. Hall’s retirement as professor emeritus, Polity Press (England) published his book “Health and the Global Environment” (1990), an effort that connects the start of human health to the way we treat the world around us. Ross’s range of avocational interests was unbounded. He was a voracious reader, fitness enthusiast, avid gardener, gourmet (organic) cook, adventure traveler and opera buff.

Dr. Hall and his wife Anne adopted Danby as their full-time residence. Twice he accepted the post of Danby’s water commissioner to defend “some of the best water left on the planet.” This most recent position would advocate against bureaucratic control and contamination on a most personal level. His last project was an account of his father’s World War I experiences based on a diary written on the battlefield of France and Belgium.

Dr. Hall’s relationship with Vermont began when he was invited to speak at a conference held at Green Mountain Junior College that aligned itself with the efforts of the U.S. Senate Subcommittee On Nutrition and Human Needs. Also the purpose of improving the quality of school food and nutrition education. Much of Dr. Hall’s special wisdom concerning the hidden power of positive food choices can be found in his currently available book, the “Unofficial Guide to Smart Nutrition.”

Dr. Hall passed away at his home on Oct. 9, 2003. He is survived by his wife Anne and their combined family of six children. His Ontario children are Don (of Ottawa), Stewart (of Port Credit), and MaryBeth (Of London). They were raised and reside in Canada. His children Jim (of Kiev, Ukraine), Meg (of Virginia Beach, Virginia) and Anne (of Arlington, Texas) grew up in Danby. Above all, Ross loved, and was loved by, all those around him, especially his family.

Memorial services for Dr. Hall will be held at The Mt. View Baptist Church in Danby (Danby Four Corners) on Thursday, Oct. 16. The Rev. Ralph Stone will officiate. Family and friends will assist. With the gift of his trained voice, Mark Madison will close the service with a selection to honor Dr. Hall’s love of opera. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the NOFA, The National Organic Farmers Association, Richmond, VT 05477.
Published in Bennington Banner on Oct. 14, 2003
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