Father Time is still undefeated, but Joan Hall took the game to overtime.
Joan B. Hall, 94, of Park Ridge, IL passed away in peace on June 24, 2021.
Joan Hall would have been 95 in July, were it not for a bevy of life-ending spears thrown her way over the last several years. There were a lot of close calls. A lot. Hospice was on speed dial.
Born in Chicago in 1926, Joan was raised by particularly-doting Fred and Mona Brockhoff. They had no more children because “you never hit the jackpot twice.” Despite hard times, Joan was the princess of the family. She developed into a good student, a fine young lady and a stunning, tall blonde. This latter detail did not go unnoticed by eager suitors who failed spectacularly, according to her diary.
Joan attended Northwestern University on a full scholarship, which lasted a year before marrying Captain Frank Barchard, a recently-returned naval aviator in World War II. The marriage lasted a few years. Joan took a job with A.C. Nielsen and then NBC in Chicago, where she worked with writer and comic Ransom Sherman.
As a Gray Lady volunteer in Chicago’s hospitals, Joan met the eye of one Frank Hall, an engineer and magician who entertained wounded servicemen. Frank’s plan of lifelong bachelorhood was soon stymied and they married in 1957. They had two sons, Brad and Scott.
A full-time homemaker, Joan focused on raising the boys from their two-flat in Park Ridge on Northwest Hwy. Over the years, and starting from a very early age, each son competed with the other in the sport of Pulling Mom’s Leg. The competition fierce and relentless — and very successful. So much so that court papers should have been filed to change Joan’s middle name to “Really???”
“The best part of mom being at home was mom being at home,” eldest son Brad remembers. “If we were sick, or bleeding profusely or just wanted an audience for a gag, Mom was there. It was Leave it to Beaver-esque.”
Her volunteer time was spent in local Republican politics, where she served a long term as Maine Township Committeewoman as well as president of the Park Ridge Republican Women’s Club and chairwoman of the Suburban (Cook) Republican Organization. She was also a right hand and best friend for many years to State Rep. Penny Pullen.
When both sons left for college, she created Joan B. Hall and Associates, a speaker’s bureau where she booked local impressionist Bill Mellberg, as well as motivational speakers such as Dick Rutan.
In 1988, she ran for election as Maine Township Supervisor, a position she held for four years, earning praise from President George H.W. Bush for exemplary community service. During her tenure, Joan led a massive relief effort for the victims of Hurricane Andrew. She spent 20 years as an elected trustee of Oakton Community College. She was chairman of the board for six years and became trustee emerita in 2005.
Survivors include sons Brad (Cathy) of Park Ridge and Scott (Kerry) and grandchildren Katherine and Alexandra of Colorado Springs. Joan joins Frank, who has been waiting patiently for 16 years, brimming with excitement and a handful of new card tricks.
Burial was private. The family is planning a celebration of life at a later date.
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