NORMAN — Bill Hall’s glasses were at least 10 years old. They were scratched, too. But he didn’t care. The only thing that Bill Hall really cared about were his kids.
In November 2010, Hall was diagnosed with acute leukemia. He knew his time on this earth was limited and wanted to take his children — Calista, 13, and twins Nicolas and Aubrey, 11 — on one more family vacation. Bill Hall wanted to take his kids on a trip to Disney World.
Hall wrote a letter to Memories of Love Foundation, a Florida organization that grants vacations for parents facing life-threatening illnesses, asking for help in making his dream come true. Memories of Love arranged for Hall and his children to spend five days in Florida.
The catch was that Hall had to make arrangements for their transportation. Due to his illness, Hall was unable to work, and with medical bills beginning to mount, he worried that his dream was going to be put on hold — until members of the community stepped up and helped Hall and his family.
Thanks to donations, from Jan. 7-15, Hall and his family didn’t have to think about his illness. Instead, they went on the Florida trip and made memories.
“He was up, doing well the whole time. He had his chemo treatments the week before. He got plasma before we left to make sure he could handle the trip. He was doing things all day with the kids,” said Denise Mullins, a friend of the Hall family.
At about 3 a.m. Wednesday, Bill Hall, who turned 60 in July, finally lost his fight with leukemia. Mullins said that he asked for no funeral services and Hall’s body has been cremated. Hall’s ashes will be buried in Ohio with his mother and father.
“We’ll do that sometime in the spring when the kids can be out of school. That was his wishes. Whatever money that he does have, he wants to go to the kids. He doesn’t want to be a burden on them for having a service and then dealing with a service. We are doing a memorial at the cemetery when we go up there,” Mullins said. “He got to spend an extra year and a half longer then what they really thought he would.”
Prior to his death, Mullins said Hall was in good spirits.
“He managed to keep himself together until Friday night. We did Christmas in August. He had to take his kids to that. Saturday afternoon, he left to go to the hospital,” Mullins said. “He was very upbeat, he was making jokes. He cared more about those kids than he did about anything. And he didn’t want the kids see him like that.”
Before he went to the hospital, Hall requested that his children spend the weekend at a friend’s house.
“When they came back on Monday, they all went to the hospital to see him. He was asleep basically the whole time and they talked to the kids and explained to them one-on-one what was going on,” Mullins said. “They knew what was going to happen, but it still hurts.
“They are holding up very well. They are keeping them busy. For example, the whole family is sleeping in the living room where Bill slept. They are going to do that for about a week, and then the kids will have to go back to their rooms, and then they will try to get the living room back in order.”
Bill’s oldest daughter, Teresa Hall, recently quit school so she could obtain guardianship of her younger siblings.
“She did not enroll this semester because she knew she was going to have to devote her time to the kids. She had recently gotten a job with the state working with mentally handicapped adults. And that’s the field she was going to school for. She just got this three weeks ago, and he (Bill) was so proud of her for getting that,” Mullins said.
Mullins said that she would like to get plaques made for the children and charms for them to wear as a memory to their father.
“He made sure they got everything they needed. He had no teeth, no dentures. He didn’t care about him. He was always putting their medical and dental ahead of his needs,” Mullins said. “He would do anything for anybody. He was very giving.
“I’ve never seen a man devote his whole life for his kids. When he got custody of his kids, he moved his whole world for his kids. It’s not about him going out on a date. If he had something to do, his kids were involved with his whole world. He had to do it with the kids. He put them first.”
A fund at First American Bank under the name of William Hall Special Account is still open for those wishing to contribute. Checks can be made out to the William Hall Special Account. First American Bank locations in Norman include 801 12th Ave. NE, 4925 SE 44th St. and 570 24th Ave. NW.
Shana Adkisson 366-3544 sadkisson@ normantranscript.com