Donald Ray Hall
October 18, 1939 – January 30, 2021
Donald Ray Hall was born on 10/18/39 in Earlimart, California to loving parents Reverend TW and Thelma Hall. In his early years the family moved to McFarland, California, where Don attended school through 8th grade. It was there that he found his love for music and became an accomplished trumpeter who played for hours with his brother Wonnie in the church where their father was a pastor. After the family moved to Bakersfield, Don married Phyllis, his wife of almost 62 years and a loving mother of three sons.
As a young man, Don had many jobs, including a baker and delivery man for Brock’s department store, where he occasionally brought cigars to Mr. Brock. In 1959, Don began his lifelong career in the oil business, starting running the refinery at the tender age of 19. Through hard work and an exceptional commitment to learning, he rose to many levels of leadership at Tosco, Mohawk. Getty and Texaco. He ended his career as a manager at the Texaco (Equilon) Wilmington Refinery in Los Angeles before retiring in 1999.
To those he worked with, Don was a mentor and friend. He was a tough cookie too and cared a lot for those who worked for him. When you worked for Don, you learned to pay attention to details and develop a sense of urgency. Don invested heavily in those he saw as potential and challenged everyone to achieve their highest level of performance. He was particularly proud of the business success and many of his young executives became executives in many companies.
Don loved the beach, and he and Phyllis spent his early retirement years in Cayucos and Morro Bay before returning to Bakersfield. He loved having a project to work on and focused on building and remodeling his homes. He was an voracious reader with a particular interest in history and science. His mind was always sharp and he had incredible memories of people, places and facts that he had often referred to to tell stories about his life and career.
After losing Phyllis in 2019, Don was blessed to be happily married a second time when he and his childhood friend, Peggy Sue Atchley (Strawn), reconnected after many years. Although they only had a brief 6 month marriage, their days were full of travel, love, and laughter.
He left this earth on 1/30/21 for his heavenly home. Don was preceded in death by his parents and brother, wife Phyllis, and grandson Joshua. He is lovingly survived by his wife, Peggy Sue Strawn Hall, their family, and his three sons and their families.
Posted in Bakersfield Californian on February 28, 2021.