Lowvelder of 26 and 30 May 2017 (via Mpumalanga Heritage): The recent death of Hugh Hall brought an end to a last generation of true Lowveld pioneers. He was laid to rest on Saturday after a morning service in the Anglican Church in Nelspruit during which a special ceremony of the Moths was performed.
Born on August 11, 1923 on Mataffin farm west of Mbombela, he died on Saturday on the same farm, a mere 100 metres from his place of birth.
Hugh Hall was the grandson of Hugh Lanion Hall, the founder of the well-known Hall’s & Sons agricultural operation in the Lowveld, once hailed as one of the largest commercial farming operations in the British Commonwealth.
He was the son of Dickon Hall, a South African food- and fruit-processing pioneer.
The family moved to Durban in about 1931 to set up the Tomango fruit-processing company. He went to primary school at Highbury from 1934 to 1936 and Michaelhouse from 1937 to 1941.
During the war years he was trained in Barberton for the Armoured Cars Division and he left for the Second World War in December 1942. He spent time in Egypt with the 8th Division and then moved on to Italy until the war was over.
He returned to Durban in 1945 and started working in his father’s fruit-processing plant. Due to his father’s ill health, the family moved to England to get better medical attention. Here Hugh started working at a food plant and gained valuable experience.
He met his wife, Dorothy Lowe in Winchcombe and they got married in Rugby on Oct 23, 1948 and returned to Durban as a young married couple. Their daughters, Diana and Brenda were born in Durban. The family moved to White River in 1955. Janet and Andrew were born there.
He set up Dickon Hall Products in 1954 on Mataffin, fondly known among South African consumers as the “factory in the orchard”. Hugh and Dorothy subsequently moved to live on Mataffin farm in 1971 and to Nelspruit Macadamia in 2004.
He loved cricket and rugby and was a top sportsman in his school years. All his life he watched these sports avidly. His son Andrew describes him as a real gentleman, full of integrity, never saying a bad word to anyone or about anyone. He was loved by all he came into contact with. He had a sense of humour, was so kind and generous to many people. He was a great story-teller and had lovely stories about his life’s incidents - especially during the war years. He was proud to be part of Nelspruit’s heritage and a 2nd generation descendant of one of the original pioneering families of the Lowveld.
After the service his fellow Moths came up and bid their dear friend and comrade farewell. They conducted a special ceremony as members of the society surrounded Hall’s coffin, and honoured him with a salute, saying a few words in tribute. This was followed by all of them proceeding down the aisle, as the bagpipes sang out their mournful tune, played by members of the Stevenson-Hamilton Pipe Band.
His old Moths comrades stood to attention outside, as the pallbearers carried out the coffin. They saluted Hall for the last time as he was gently put into the hearse. The family thanked everyone for all the love, caring support and prayers.