Longtime Baptist pastor Bill Hall dies

September 26, 2003|BRENDA S. EDWARDS

The Rev. James William "Bill" Hall, a well-known Baptist preacher who spoke his mind and encouraged many young men to follow in his footsteps, died Thursday at Ephraim McDowell Regional Medical Center.

He was 77.

Hall, pastor at Gethsemane Baptist Church for 22 years before his retirement in 1993, is remembered by friends for his brilliance and for his loving and giving personality.

"He was a brilliant man and very astute in every area of the Bible and history," said the Rev. John Cato, who had known Hall since 1957 when they lived in Virginia.

"He was a terrific man of God."

Cato said although Hall retired after being in the ministry for 48 years, he never stopped preaching.

In the 10 years since he retired, Hall had served as interim pastor at Mitchellsburg Baptist Church and had preached in revivals and services.


He had preached more than 800 revivals in the United States and overseas.

"Bill was to preach at the homecoming at Gethsemane Baptist in a couple of weeks," said Cato.

"He was No. 1 in my book, said Everett Stafford, who served as deacon under Hall. "He stood on the word of God. He was a good pastor."

Stafford said Hall also was a good fishing buddy. They fished together and spent a lot of time talking.

Hall was well known around the state and had served as assistant moderator for the state pastors conference, on the Foreign Mission Board and various committees of the Southern Baptist Convention. He was a trustee at Cumberland College and Clear Creek Baptist School and was on the Board of Overseers at Criswell College.

He also was president of the Danville-Boyle County Ministers Association.

He was evangelist at the "Crusade of America" in Alaska in 1969 and in 1981.

He had a radio ministry in Mount Vernon and Danville, and his Sunday morning service at Gethsemane Baptist was broadcast for 17 years over the local cablevision channel.

A graduate of Eastern Kentucky University, Hall had studied at Liberty Baptist University, University of Kentucky and Berea College.

Cato said Hall earned a doctor of divinity degree but never talked about that.

"He just wanted to be called Bill. I was amazed at his knowledge when I met him the first time. He had many accomplishments, but he was not one to ring his own bell," said Cato.

"He was very outspoken in what he believed and on moral issues, and he was encouraging, too," said Cato.

He was helpful to young pastors and loved young people.

While in the ministry, Hall led many young men to the ministry, said Cato. "He cared about young people, and he loved Danville."

While at Gethsemane, Hall baptized 651 people and received 454 members to the church.

An article in The Advocate in 1993 quoted Hall as saying: "I've kept my own code of ethics, and I incorporate them in my preaching. I preach the word of God just as it is. I've never based my ministry on what people like."

Born Aug. 6, 1926, in Alton, Ill., he was the son of the late Homer and Ora Bridges Hall.

He was an Air Force veteran of World War II and lived on Hustonville Road.

Survivors include his wife, Ginnie Hall; two daughters, Belinda Morgan of Lexington and Amy Byrd of Rockwall, Texas; a sister, Barbara Stanley of Fredricksburg, Va.; a brother, Charles T. Hall of Richmond, Va.; and seven grandchildren.

Services will be 2:30 p.m. Sunday at Hedgeville Baptist Church by Jack Bruce, Stafford Berry and John Cato.

Visitation will be 5-8 p.m. Saturday at Preston-Pruitt Funeral Home.

Memorials may go to Hedgeville Baptist Church building fund or Gideons International Bible Fund.

Brenda S. Edwards can be reached at

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