Santa Fe Living Treasures – Elder Stories

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Jim & Ruth Hall

& Ruth


Honored October 1984

Jim & Ruth Hall

Jim Hall Jr. remembers his father as a giant of a man. He had a "forty-six inch chest and a thirty inch waist," and "looked like a cowboy."

Jim Hall Sr. was a Presbyterian minister, deeply involved in Christian education in the Southwest in the 1950s. He inherited his looks and his calling from his father, Ralph Hall, a cowboy missionary who "rode the countryside on horseback and then in old cars, bringing the word of God to the ranches and outlying areas in the New Mexico territory."

With his father on the road all the time, Jim Hall Sr., the oldest of three children growing up in Albuquerque, "took on a lot of responsibility pretty early. When he was twelve," his son relates, "he took a schoolteacher out to the Navajo Reservation and drove back, a round trip of 250 miles." He studied for two years at McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago. He married Ruth Hall, of Fort Davis Texas --who shared his birth date, May 3, 1918-- and whisked her off to Ketchikan, Alaska, where he was pastor of a mission church for three years.

In Ketchikan he worked in the fishing industry. In San Francisco, in 1944, he worked in the shipyards while finishing seminary. His first churches were in Morenci, Arizona, Arlington, Texas and Hobbs, New Mexico, where he worked in the oil fields. All that hard outdoor work and varied pastoral experience prepared him for the assignment of his life: running Ghost Ranch.

In the 1950s it was just another ranch, at Abiquiu, in Georgia O'Keeffe country, when its owner, Arthur N. Pack, deeded the property --complete with buildings, livestock, machinery, and mineral development rights-- to the Presbyterian Board of Education. In 1961 Jim Hall took over the reins of the 23,000 acre spread. In twenty-five years as director of Ghost Ranch, he turned it into a popular conference center, while his wife, an ardent paleontologist, laid the groundwork for a small museum.

Please see Volume 1 for complete text.
Photo ©1997 by Joanne Rijmes