James A. Hall, Jr., 82, who lived in Glen Head for 47 years, died at home in Asheville, NC, on March 26, 2017. An innovative and patient teacher, Jim taught science at Roslyn High School for 34 years and advised students in the science research program. He lived courageously with Parkinson’s and Orthostatic Hypotension for 23 years and inspired many with his wit, grace and determination to have the best quality of life possible while living with Parkinson’s. During his time in Glen Head, Jim was active in the community. He was a member of the Sea Cliff United Methodist church and sang in its choir. A resident of Radcliff Manor, he served as president of the Radcliff Manor Community Association. He was co-president of the North Shore High School PTSA and the adult chapter of the American Field Service (AFS). A highlight of every week was when he rehearsed and performed with the Huntington Men’s Chorus. Jim shared his wonder of nature and astronomy with his family, taking them to the Adirondacks for camping and backpacking adventures.
A passionate advocate for biomedical research, Jim was co-president of the Nassau County support group of the American Parkinson’s Disease Association (APDA) and New York State co-director of the Parkinson’s Action Network (PAN), which is now part of the Michael J. Fox Foundation. For more than 20 years, Jim attended PAN national forums and lobbied on Capitol Hill for increased funding for the National Institute of Health (NIH). Ted Thompson, senior vice president, public policy of the Michael J. Fox Foundation said, “Jim was a research chemist with a sharp mind and great knowledge who happened to have Parkinson’s Disease. His scientific background made him an especially effective advocate because he knew the critical importance of research and could go toe-to-toe with any Senator or Congressman, educating them about the iterative nature of medical research and why we need to continue federal investments…Jim left a legacy through his advocacy work, turning opponents of federal spending on research into champions for the cause.”
At the time of his passing, Jim was very concerned about threatened slashes to NIH funding in the proposed federal budget that would be devastating to biomedical research. He had planned to attend the Asheville City Council meeting in April to receive this year’s proclamation declaring April Parkinson’s Disease awareness month and talk about the need to increase funding for NIH biomedical research. Jim was born in Denver, CO, the son of James A. Hall, Sr. and Elda Rehder Hall. He graduated from South High School in Denver in 1952 and from Colorado State University in Fort Collins in 1956, with a BS in chemistry. He served in the Navy Critical Skills Program. During one summer while in Port Washington, he met Nancy Ann Pickett, whom he later married. Jim and Nancy settled in Glen Head, while he taught science at Roslyn High School from 1959 until retirement in 1995. He taught at the University of Liberia from 1966-68. After retiring, Jim and Nancy moved to Asheville, NC, where he led a very active life—classes at the UNCA Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, singing with the Reuter Center singers, star gazing with the Astronomy Club of Asheville and engagement with the Parkinson’s community. Even though he had Parkinson’s and the last few years needed help to get in and out of his wheelchair, Jim focused on what he could do and was an inspiration to many people. Jim is survived by his wife of 58 years, Nancy Pickett Hall, and their four daughters, Linda Hall (Bill Phillips) of San Francisco, CA, Cheryl Gettinger (Glen Gettinger) of Asheville, NC, Lori O’Donnell (Raymond O’Donnell) of Catonsville, MD and Bonnie Hall of Ottawa, Ontario, and his nine grandchildren, William and Derek Phillips, Kelsey and Brendan Smith, James, Claire and Colleen O’Donnell and Medina and Maya Velic. He is predeceased by his parents and sister, Janice Walsh, of Concord, CA.
A memorial service was held at Biltmore United Methodist Church in Asheville, NC. A lifelong learner and educator, Jim directed that his brain be donated to the University of Miami Brain Endowment Bank and his body to Science Care to enable Parkinson’s and other medical research. In lieu of flowers, gifts in Jim’s memory can be made to the Michael J. Fox Foundation.