Richard Samuel (Sam) Hall Jr.
1940 - 2018
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Richard Samuel (Sam) Hall, Jr.

Salem - April 13, 1940 - July 1, 2018

Sam Hall, Ph.D., came to Salem in 1972 with his spouse at the time, Gretchen, and daughter, Diana, as the James T. Matthews Chair of Mathematics at Willamette University. He was part of the Willamette community from 1972 until 2005, both as professor and Vice President of Academic Affairs. He also taught in the university's general education program and developed a course in peace and non-violent social action.

Following retirement from Willamette University, Sam co-mediated civil lawsuits with his spouse of 27 years, Susan Leeson. He appreciated the partnership and friendship of other volunteers for many decades at Neighbor-to-Neighbor Community Mediation and Fellowship of Reconciliation. Sam believed in civic engagement. He was an active leader on the Salem Public Library Board of Directors, Salem Public Library Foundation, and Oregon State Library Board of Directors. He also served on the boards of the Guadalupe Clinic and Neighbor-to-Neighbor.

Sam worked tirelessly as the managing member of Sustainable Fairview Associates in its effort to transform the former Fairview Training Center into a model of a sustainable, walkable community.

Sam appreciated the power of language and found poetry a particularly profound way to convey meaning. Among his favorite poet/activists were William Stafford, Joseph Brodsky, Wendell Berry and Aracelis Girmay. Nikki Giovanni occupied his interest, free time and bookshelves in the months before he passed.

Sam will be remembered for his integrity, humor, kindness, generosity, and mentorship of countless students.

Sam is survived by spouse, Sue Leeson; daughter, Diana Hall; grandson, Asher Hall; and brother, Bill Hall and family.

At Sam's request there will be no service. Instead, he asks that anyone who would attend a service think of him and do something kind for someone else. The family requests no flowers.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in The Statesman Journal on Jul. 8, 2018.
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10 entries
February 3, 2019
Dear Sue, Diana, and Asher,

It was my great privilege to know Sam beginning in 2004. Working with him at Fairview was great fun. What a positive and upbeat person and I always enjoyed seeing and visiting with him. We were both, in the past few years, grandfathers and he had a great love and joy for his grandson as I have for mine. Being a grandfather seemed to spark a new joy in his life. I spoke with him on the phone what must have been just days before he passed away. I am so glad that I got a chance to talk to him. I will always remember him with such affection and have a sadness knowing I won't be able to see him again or talk to him. I am sure he is missed by so many people. How could he not be?

December 29, 2018
Dear Sue
I have lived in AZ for the past 5 years and hadn't heard of Sam's passing until now. I am so sorry for your loss. I know this has to have been a hard year. I wish I were there to hug you and tell you I care for you very much.
Love to you
Roxanne Livingston
August 23, 2018
As a Willamette grad and a Salem resident for over 35 years, I am grateful for Sam's contributions to Willamette and the Salem community. He has left a legacy with the Fairview project that will benefit future generations both as a practical example for sustainable livability today and as a place to educate us all on the critical environmental issues of the present and the future. He will be missed but he has left his imprint (but a smaller carbon footprint than most).
Lindsay Partridge
July 23, 2018
I was so sorry to hear of Sam's passing. I have prayed often for him, for God to be good and merciful to him. I was extremely lucky to know Sam. I hope that you are embraced by love and warmth during these difficult days. Love Maria
Maria Gallo
July 19, 2018
Sue, I am deeply saddened by Sam's death. I know how devoted and wonderful you have been for him the last few years and I admire that very much. Much sympathy to you and Sam's children.
John Morgan
July 18, 2018
Sue - Sam was a gentleman - in the best sense of the word. He probably did not know how much I and others admired and respected him. I will be forever thankful that our paths crossed. I hope you will know that I and others have the same admiration and respect for you.
Patrick Pine
July 13, 2018
Dear Sue,

We are so sorry to learn of the passing of your dear husband, Sam. When you are hurting, we are hurting. It seems like just yesterday that I took a class from you my first semester at Willamette in 1973, met my future husband there, Ernestus, and met up with you and Tom Berczynski in Zurich the following summer.

Very fondly,
Lorelei and Ernestus Schnabler
Lorelei Schnabler
July 8, 2018

Please know that I am very sorry for your loss. I know Sam will be missed.

Chuck Austin
CHUCK Austin
July 8, 2018
I have fond memories of meetings with Sam about how to address hunger, a big concern for him. I hope the family gets strength from memories and lessons learned.
Chuck Sheketoff
July 6, 2018
Im so sorry for your loss! In the days ahead, may loving memories of Richard bring you peace, comfort & strength. Please take comfort in the promise God gives that we may see those whom weve lost again!
- John 11: 25 & 26
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