Percy Foster Hall II
March 06, 1928 ‒ May 30, 2019
Mansfield: Percy Foster Hall II, of Mansfield Ohio, age 91, died peacefully at home on May 30, 2019, surrounded by his loving family.
A deeply beloved father and grandfather, Percy was an inspirational teacher to thousands of students, and an ambassador of the arts. He touched countless lives by sharing the joy of music for over 65 years in North Central Ohio and around the world as an educator, performer, and composer.
Percy was born March 6, 1928 in Beltsville, Maryland, to Reginald Foster Hall, an Episcopalian minister, and Lily Hambleton Hall, a church organist. Percy and his two brothers were active in music, each playing several instruments and teaching themselves to arrange music, but since their school was quite small, there was no opportunity for them to participate in school music ensembles. This dearth of musical resources inspired Percy’s lifelong mission to enhance the lives of young people by providing meaningful musical opportunities.
Percy attended the University of Maryland for a year before enlisting in the U.S. Army, where he played trumpet in the 2nd Constabulary Regiment Band in the post-WWII Army of Occupation in Germany for two years. Having completed his gig with Uncle Sam, he enrolled in Westminster College, where he earned a Bachelor of Music degree and met Nancy, who would eventually become his wife of 68 years. After marrying, Percy went on to earn a Master’s Degree in Music Education from the University of Michigan, before moving to Mansfield, Ohio in 1952.
Over the next 63 years, Percy served as music director of bands, orchestras and other ensembles at Madison High School, Mansfield Senior High, and eventually served the entire Mansfield City School System as Supervisor of Music. Percy was also Adjunct Professor of Music at Ashland University. In addition, he led and guided many other musical ensembles including the Mansfield Symphony Youth Strings, the Mansfield Symphony Youth Orchestra, the Musicians’ Union Local 159 Concert Band and Jazz Band, the Mid-Ohio Brass Quintet, the Mansfield Symphony Woodwind Trio, and his own dance band, “The Percy Hall Dance Orchestra.”
Percy was a long-time member of the Mansfield Symphony, for whom his instrumental versatility served him well for over 50 years, playing flute, piccolo, bass clarinet, viola, trumpet, tenor saxophone, and serving as principal percussionist for many years.
When he retired, the Mansfield City School Board honored Percy by naming the Mansfield Senior High music annex the “Percy F. Hall Music Annex” – a fitting name for the building where he spent decades teaching and inspiring countless students.
Percy was the recipient of many awards recognizing his dedication and significant contributions to the field of music education, including the Outstanding Music Educator Award (1987) and the Distinguished Service Award (1995) from the Ohio Music Education Association, the Richland Academy of the Arts lifetime achievement award (1994), and the Westminster College Alumni Citation for Distinguished Accomplishment (1997).
In 1995 Percy was inducted into the Ohio Band Director’s Conference Hall of Fame. He was named “Renaissance Person of the Year” in 2009 by the Renaissance Performing Arts Association in Mansfield “for his commitment to improving the quality of life in our community.”
A prolific composer and arranger, Percy Hall has over 300 published pieces to his credit, many of which are standard repertoire for school bands, orchestras, and ensembles.
Despite his many accolades and awards, Percy was modest about his accomplishments and never sought attention for himself. His passion was to elevate others through music, helping them to tap into and more fully realize their own creativity, inspiration, and potential. Said Percy, “My greatest reward is the joy of seeing the pleasure that young people receive from their participation in music, and the feeling that I may have had something to do with their success and happiness.”
Behind Percy’s success was Nancy, his loving wife and partner, who supported Percy and their five children through every twist and turn, and never missed a beat.
In retirement, Percy and Nancy enjoyed traveling and visited over 40 countries. Some of their expeditions were with performing groups such as the Westminster College Alumni Choir, performing Percy’s choral compositions in legendary spaces such as the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris and St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican City. Other tours were cultural or educational, such as Elderhostels where they studied art, history, and even marine biology.
Percy was a man of great faith, instilled by his parents and grandparents and evidenced throughout his life of generous service. He was a member of the Linden Road United Presbyterian Church in Mansfield for over 65 years, where he served as Elder, Sunday School teacher, and Choir Director, and where Nancy served as organist for 65 years.
Percy was predeceased by his brothers, Reginald Hambleton Hall, and William Jackson Hall. He is survived by his wife Nancy, his five children (David, John, Marcia, Barry and Kathy), nine grandchildren, and one great grandson.
Percy’s legacy lives on – a popular Facebook group called “Percy Hall Fan Club” has hundreds of members, including many former students and friends, who enjoy reminiscing about Percy and music in the Mansfield area. Those who knew Percy loved and respected his wisdom, his infectious sense of humor, and his generous heart.
A memorial celebration of Percy’s life and legacy will be held August 17, 2019 at 2 p.m. at the Linden Road Presbyterian Church in Mansfield.
Percy’s family requests that flowers not be sent. A memorial fund has been established in Percy’s name to support the Mansfield Symphony Youth Orchestra and Youth Strings, furthering Percy’s lifelong mission to provide musical opportunities for young people. Donations can be made online at https://donorbox.org/percy-hall or by writing a check payable to “Mansfield Symphony Orchestra”, notating “Percy Hall Memorial Fund” in the memo line, and mailing to Mansfield Symphony, 138 Park Avenue West, Mansfield, OH 44902.
A more extensive biography of Percy’s life and legacy, including information on some of his published music, is available at www.PercyHall.com
The Marion Avenue Snyder Funeral Home is assisting the Hall family with end of life services and online condolences to them may be made by visiting:SnyderFuneralHomes.com
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