Wade Hall of ‘Conecuh People,’ native of Inverness dies at age 81

Published 3:00 am Tuesday, September 29, 2015

On the door of the Red Door Theater in Union Springs is posted a note of sadness at the death of Wade Henry Hall, Jr., 81, on Saturday, Sept. 26, 2015.

It was upon Hall’s life that “Conecuh People,” the first Red Door Theater production was based.

The note read: It is with profound sadness that we share the news of the passing of Wade Hall. He encouraged, challenged and loved us as we labored at the theater. He was an author, poet, playwright, historian and a great collector. He loved Bullock County and its people …. his people.

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Xan Morrow, Tourism Council of Bullock County, said Hall will be greatly missed as a talented and dedicated son of Bullock County.

Hall was a native of Inverness and attended school there. He entered Troy State Teachers College in 1950 when he was 16 years old and graduated at age 19. He served in the U.S. Army in Germany, earned a master’s degree from the University of Alabama and a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois. He ended his teaching career after 30 years at Bellamine University in Kentucky.

Hall was best known locally as the inspiration for the Red Door Theater’s first production, “Conecuh People”

Dr. David Dye, retired dean of Troy University’s College of Communication and Fine Arts, said he knew Hall through his association with “Conecuh People.”

“Wade visited me at the university to talk about his book, ‘Conecuh People,’” Dye said. “He was interested in making a connection with the university in an effort to find a place to celebrate the history of the area. His book was a wonderful source for a play about the people of that Bullock County.”

Ty Adams, also a local writer, was tapped as the playwright for the dramatic version on “Conecuh People.”

“Adenna Moree at Troy University took the play and staged it for the first time at the university,” Dye said. “Later the Tourism Council of Bullock County wanted to create their own version of the play and it continues to be popular at the Red Door Theater today.”

Dye said Hall was an extremely smart man and as generous as he was smart.

“Wade loved his alma mater, Troy University, When he retired and came back to Bullock County, he made many donations to benefit the students through scholarships,” Dye said. “He was said to give large tips to working college students. He called the tips ‘direct charity.’ He was very caring and giving.”

Dye said Hall was a collector of first edition book, quilts, post cards, Civil War memorabilia and other items of interest to him. He was very generous in sharing his collections with the University of Alabama and Troy University,” Dye said. “He donated his Alabama post card collection and the plans for a Frank Lloyd Wright house to Troy University.

“Wade Hall shared what he learned and what he collected through the heart and soul of who was.”

Kenny May, also a native of Bullock County, said although Hall was older, he knew Hall as a generous, welcoming, smart guy.

“What I appreciated about Wade the most, though, was that he wanted to come back home – back to where he grew up. He cared about the people of Bullock County and he wanted to be among them.

“He wanted to tell their story because it was also his story. Wade wanted to come home because that’s where his heart was. He did a lot of things that benefited a lot of people. He will be greatly missed.”