Reverend Dr. Claude B. Hall died at the Mennonite Home in Lancaster, Pennsylvania on September 26, 2021, following a brief hospitalization at Penn Medicine Lancaster General Hospital. Claude was born March 14, 1930, in Chattanooga, Tennessee, the son of Claude A. and Mary Ellen (Dootsen) Hall. He was a 1948 graduate of Chattanooga Central High School and one of his great achievements there was playing fullback on the Purple Pounders football team. His high school nick name was “Trippi” after the great Georgia Bulldog fullback Charley Trippi, but Claude was known to his Tennessee family as “Buddy.”
Claude went on to Tennessee Temple College earning a B.A. in 1952 followed by earning his B.D. at Temple Baptist Theological Seminary. He earned his Ph.D. from the Graduate School of Religion, Bob Jones University, in 1958. In his later life, he received Clinical Pastoral Training at the Altoona Hospital in Altoona, Pennsylvania. It was at Bob Jones University where Claude fell in love with Mary Lou when she was an undergraduate. They married on August 12, 1957, in Berwick, Pennsylvania. On February 21, 2021, Claude lost Mary Lou to complications of COVID-19.
Surviving are three children: Tamara Hogan of Lancaster, Pennsylvania (Joseph Hogan), Jonathan Hall of Stephens City, Virginia (Cassie Hall) and Melanie Wallace of Sidney, Maine (Sean Wallace). Also surviving are four grandchildren, Erin Stouffer, Ashley Yingling, Michael Wallace, and William Wallace, and one great grandchild, Leon Alexander Yingling. Also surviving are two brothers, Fred Hall (Joan) and Eugene Hall (Carol), as well as numerous nieces and nephews who were very dear to Claude. Claude was predeceased by his brother James A. Hall.
Claude felt the call to serve the Lord at an early age, and he had a long career in the ministry. He pastored churches in Penn’s Creek, Pennsylvania, Memphis, Tennessee, and Harrisonburg, Virginia. While in Harrisonburg, Claude had a tennis buddy who encouraged him to become a pastor with the Church of the Brethren which he did moving to Martinsburg, West Virginia where he pastored at the Mohler Avenue Church of the Brethren. Claude next served at the Curryville Church of the Brethren in Curryville, Pennsylvania and he did an interim pastorship at the Pine Glen Church of the Brethren in Lewistown, Pennsylvania. In 1990, Claude and Mary Lou moved to Bedford, Pennsylvania and Claude pastored the Bedford Church of the Brethren for fifteen years until he retired. Retirement did not last very long however, and he and Mary Lou became joint interim pastors for the Dunnings Creek Church of the Brethren in New Paris, Pennsylvania. After two years, both Claude and Mary Lou retired again but Dunnings Creek did not wish to see them go and took the unusual step of making them Pastors Emeritus. Claude and Mary Lou especially loved their church family at Dunnings Creek who treated them like royalty. In August of 2018, Claude and Mary Lou moved from their home in Bedford, Pennsylvania to Cross Keys Brethren Village near Hanover, Pennsylvania where they made new friends and enjoyed the many programs and bus trips to various venues to see musical plays until the pandemic came and made for a hard year of isolation. After losing Mary Lou, Claude moved to the Mennonite Home in Lancaster, Pennsylvania to be near his daughter Tamara who brought him home with her every Saturday for a home-cooked meal, the chance to play with his three furry grandkids, and watch sports on TV through his eyelids while sitting on his favorite reclining chair. Claude made fast friends at the Mennonite Home particularly enjoying his meal-time companions and his nursing staff who he nick-named his “line backers.” In addition to serving as a pastor, Claude served as an instructor for the Center of Biblical Studies, Mid-Atlantic District and as an instructor for twelve years for Licensed Ministers and Lay Speakers in the Middle Pennsylvania District which was a three-year training course. Claude served on the Middle District Board and Middle District Committees of Education and Continuing Education. Claude loved being able to help others become licensed so that they too could serve the Lord.
Throughout his years Claude enjoyed camping, tennis, reading, gardening, and of course his pastoral ministry. He was an avid Penn State football fan. What most described Claude was his love of giving to others, whether of himself or by purchase of what he thought you may like. If he saw you admiring something in a store, he would buy it. His congregants and family described him as “Santa Claude” because Christmas provided him with the biggest opportunity for unconstrained gift giving. He loved planning Christmas services and singing Christmas carols at the top of his voice with his child-like enthusiasm making up for his inability to carry a tune.
A funeral service will be held on Saturday, October 2, 2021, 11:00 a.m., at the Dunnings Creek Church of the Brethren, New Paris, Pennsylvania. Pastor Vaughn Loose and David Stiles will co-officiate and at Claude’s request, Barney Holland will provide special music. Friends and family will be received from 9:00 a.m, until the hour of the service at the church on Saturday. Interment will be at the Lower Claar Church of the Brethren. Arrangements by the Timothy A. Berkebile Funeral Home, in Bedford. Our online guestbook is available at www.berkebilefuneralhome.com.
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