Thank you Hal B. Howard, Jr.  A great, most generous and kind man. He will be missed by all who knew him.

June 1925 – February 2015

Last month Memphis Heritage lost a very dear and loyal friend, Hal B Howard Jr. Hal, who gave MHI its beautiful headquarters, Howard Hall in 2006, passed away at his home in Palm Beach, Florida.

From that first phone call in May of 2005 where he asked me to tell him more about our organization, what we stood for and how we functioned, I knew I was talking with no ordinary person. Memphis Heritage having been around since 1975 and during my tenure as executive director beginning in 2002, I had spoken with many people about Memphis Heritage.

As with many other callers, I did not know this man or the ultimate purpose of his call, but I could tell he had a great interest in Memphis’ history and in its preservation. We discussed our memories of people and places that we both knew. At the end of our 45 minute conversation, Hal ( he told me early on that calling him Mr. Howard made him feel old) told me about a property that he owned and that he was considering giving to Memphis Heritage for a new headquarters and offices. I hung up the phone and took a deep breath. Could this be for real?

As the transfer process from Hal to Memphis Heritage got underway and continued through the year, I was amazed and thrilled that one person could be so generous and have the vision about the importance of Historic preservation that Hal did. The reality sunk in when on my birthday in August of 2006, the deed was transferred to a very grateful Memphis Heritage, and Hal made the gift of this spectacular historic property now known as Howard Hall official.

Hal’s legacy lives on at Howard Hall and through our actions preserving the history of the City he loved so dearly.

June West