Longtime restaurateur dies
James D. Hall, who helped run his father's restaurant for decades, is remembered for having a generous spirit.
By BETSY BOLGER-PAULET
Published July 25, 2006
CLEARWATER - Restaurateur James D. Hall, part of the family that ran Jimmy Hall's Steak House for four decades, died Monday (July 24, 2006) at home under the care of the Hospice of the Florida Suncoast. He was 72.
Born in Zanesville, Ohio, Mr. Hall graduated in 1956 from Ohio State University and moved here in 1959.
His father, James L. "Jimmy" Hall, had moved here the previous year from Zanesville.
Formerly vice president and general manager of David Davies Meat Packing Co. for many years, James L. Hall soon bought a restaurant at 515 Hendricks St. and renamed it Jimmy Hall's Steak House.
Quickly, the restaurant became the lunch spot for bank and business executives and downtown office workers. Especially popular lunch specials were the filet mignon and on Fridays the Manhattan clam chowder, Jimmy Hall style.
From the beginning, the restaurant was a family business. Mr. Hall and his two brothers, Michael and William, helped their father and then operated the business after he retired, until it was sold in 1998.
The restaurant and attached lounge were also popular for meetings, reunions, receptions and business lunches. Over the years it was remodeled, expanded and even rebuilt after a fire on New Year's Eve 1986 did about $100,000 in damage. The Hall family renovated and reopened the restaurant six months after the blaze.
In January 2001, a second fire again charred the inside of the building, which was under new ownership.
In addition to Jimmy Hall's Steak House, Mr. Hall was associated with Surfside Restaurant and Morningside Restaurant and was a member of the board of UPARC, the Clearwater Chamber of Commerce and Baxter Health Care.
Although he was a quiet man who didn't flaunt his acts of charity, Mr. Hall received the coveted Sertoma Service to Mankind Award in 1978.
"He was a committed Christian," said the Rev. Phillip Duncan, pastor at St. John's Episcopal, where Mr. Hall was a member for five decades. "A very, very sensitive man, a very loving man, a man generously interested in helping people."
Mr. Hall was a crusade chairman and longtime member of the board of directors for the American Cancer Society and an active supporter of the Girls Club of Pinellas County.
Survivors include his wife of 33 years, Racine; two sons, Jay Hall and Mark Lambert, both of Clearwater; three daughters, Jenny Hall, Washington, D.C., Kelli Wynn, Tallahassee, and Annie Dorough, Roanoke, Va.; three sisters, Linda Rankin, Palm Harbor, Judy Termin, Miami, and Sally Klein, Homestead; two brothers, Michael, Tarpon Springs, and William, Sapphire, N.C.; and six grandchildren, Jay R. Hall, Timothy Lambert, Ryan Rechnitzer, Jonathan Wynn, Andrew Wynn and Kayla Dorough.
Visitation will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, and funeral services will be at 10 a.m. Friday. Both will be at Sylvan Abbey Funeral Home, 2853 Sunset Point Road, with burial afterward at Sylvan Abbey Memorial Park.
[Last modified July 24, 2006, 20:35:16]
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