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Franklin P. Hall, former Richmond delegate, succumbs at 76

5/29/2015, 11:28 a.m. | Updated on 5/29/2015, 11:28 a.m.
He was considered the “happy warrior” of Richmond politics. Franklin Perkins “Frank” Hall, a silver-haired man with a ready smile ...
Mr. Hall

He was considered the “happy warrior” of Richmond politics.

Franklin Perkins “Frank” Hall, a silver-haired man with a ready smile and warm handshake, made friends with everyone he met — a trait that stood him in good stead during his 33 years in the Virginia General Assembly.

The lifelong Democrat fought for Richmond and left his fingerprints on legislation and funding affecting public schools, affordable housing, higher education and a host of other issues — all while earning the respect of lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.

He was perhaps best known for pushing for the upgrade of community services for the mentally ill and reducing dependence on mental hospitals.

He also was at the forefront in gaining funding to reduce high school dropout rates and in pushing to restore the voting and civil rights of released felons.

During Mr. Hall’s tenure from 1976 to 2009 in the House, he rose to minority leader and also served as the ranking Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, where he helped write the state’s budget.

An expert on family law in his legal practice, he also was the founder of a savings and loan and a community bank that focused on lending to small businesses.

Mr. Hall once described himself as “the luckiest guy in the world. I couldn’t be where I am today without help from a lot of people from across the state.”

His impact as a legislator, attorney, banker and community leader is being remembered following his death Monday, May 25, 2015, following a battle with cancer. He was 76.

A memorial service will be held 11 a.m. Saturday, May 30, 2015, at First Presbyterian Church, 4602 Cary Street Road.

The family of Mr. Hall will receive friends and the public from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday, May 29, 2015, at the Parham Chapel of Woody Funeral Home, 1771 N. Parham Road.

The son of an Amelia County farmer, Mr. Hall ranked among the most powerful figures in the General Assembly before he stepped down in 2009 to briefly serve as a commissioner on the state Alcoholic Beverage Control Board. He was appointed by Democratic Gov. Tim Kaine and removed from the board by Republican Gov. Robert “Bob” McDonnell in early 2010.

At the time of his death, Mr. Hall was still practicing law while also serving on the boards of the Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority, Virginia Commonwealth University and First Community Bancshares, the parent company of the Bluefield-based First Community Bank.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who counted on Mr. Hall as a political confidant, paid tribute to the former delegate as “as a key leader in state budget decisions and a strong advocate for the restoration of civil rights for released felons.”

U.S. Rep. Robert C. “Bobby” Scott, D-3rd, the dean of Virginia’s congressional delegation, recalled Mr. Hall as a “consummate public servant.” In a statement issued Tuesday, Congressman Scott said, “I always valued Mr. Hall’s guidance and counsel.”

During his 17 terms representing the 69th House District, Mr. Hall “was a tireless advocate for the city,” stated Mayor Dwight D. Jones, a former delegate who worked with Mr. Hall in the legislature.