Rev. James D. “Pastor Jim” Hall, affectionately known as “Poppa,” died peacefully Thursday, June 20, 2019 at Autumn Care of Marshville. Pastor of Lamp Light Church in Charlotte, NC for more than 30 years, he has left a legacy of deep and abiding love.
A citizen of the world, but a native of Pocomoke City, MD, he was born on May 21, 1933 to the late Willis & Virginia Hall of Maryland. Jim was fond of telling tales of growing up on his parents’ farm and the life lessons he learned there. In later years, as the father of a young family he delighted in family car trips where they could pass farm after farm and he would roll down the window, delighting in both the aromas of farming and the groans of his own children over those same aromas. He could provoke laughter a thousand different ways.
Jim was steeped in a love for Jesus from the time he was born. By the age of 16 he was already serving as a circuit preacher for the Southern Baptists, traveling to very small congregations spread out among the marshlands he loved. His first mission trip was to Brazil while still a teenager. Those experiences had a lasting impact on the course of his life. Although in young adulthood he tried resisting the call to be a pastor through work in radio and theatre, as a policeman, and a plant manager, he always came back to his first and last true love, Jesus Christ, and his calling to shepherd God’s people.
One of his favorite ways of expressing that love was through song. His rich baritone could often be heard joyfully singing the old hymns he so dearly loved. Whether in a choir, as a soloist, or walking down the street, his voice in song was a joy to hear. At the request of many, many people he finally recorded an album of hymns called “The King’s Kid.” If he wasn’t singing, he was often whistling as though there was just too much joy in his heart for no music to be heard.
A man of boundless curiosity, Jim was interested in everything and everybody. He never did “meet a stranger” as he could find common ground to talk with anyone. A man of genuine good humor, deep intellect, and patience that seldom grew weary, he served as a spiritual adviser to not only those within his church, but other ministers, seekers and believers, politicians, doctors, students, and even folks who struck up conversations with him in the grocery store. Each one of them would use the words wise and wisdom in their descriptions of him.
He was a talented raconteur, holding audiences of one or a thousand in the palm of his hand. He loved laughter and it didn’t matter to him whether it was a pun, a shaggy-dog tale, or something culled from life, the chance to tell a tale was a joy. He could also impersonate Jackie Gleason and Jimmy Durante for all they were worth.
As his decades of ministry unfolded, he went wherever he was called to preach and teach the Gospel, always beginning and ending with how deeply God loves each one of us as individuals. He was invited to teach for weeks at a time in Trinidad and Tobago, New Zealand, Belarus, and of joy for him, Israel. He passed this passion for sharing God’s love to so many people who sat under his leadership and there is no way to count all the lives that were changed as a result.
No story of his life can be told without mention of the love he shared with his wife, Barbara Hall, who preceded him in death. Their commitment to one another and the fun they had together was an inspiration to many. They will always be remembered together, holding hands. Their three children, each of whom can clearly articulate why they were their father’s favorite, will need some time before fully adjusting to a world that does not have their father in it.
The family that survives Pastor Jim includes Pastor Don Hall and his wife Bobbie, of Monroe; Robert Kent Hall and his wife Cynthia, of Charlotte, and LisaRose Barnes and her husband Pat, of Asheville; 6 grandchildren and 6 great-grandchildren and one great-great-granddaughter; his brothers Will Hall of Salisbury, MD and Edgar Hall of Pocomoke City, MD, beloved nieces and nephews, and all those who called him Poppa.
The celebration of his life will be held on Saturday, June 29th at noon in the sanctuary of Immanuel’s Church, 6010 Mill Grove Rd., Indian Trail, NC., 28079. The family will receive friends Friday evening, June 28th from 6:00 to 8:00 pm, also at Immanuel’s Church.
The family invites you to join them in wearing bright colors in honor and celebration of Pastor Jim’s love of flowers and bright colors. And considering how he felt about neckties, you’re welcome to leave those at home, too.
Flowers are welcome or memorial gifts can be made by planting a tree in Israel through IsraelTrees.org
Donations may be made to:
PO Box 241, Cedarhurst NY 11516