Mary Joanne Hall was an extraordinary woman who lived her life to love and inspire others. No matter where she was, it was impossible not to see the beauty that emanated from her every fiber as an outpouring of the Christian faith that was such a cornerstone throughout her life. Mary Jo touched the hearts and lives of not only the family she adored, but also so many within her church, community and work. Although she was plagued with obstacles to overcome, her joy and purpose in life radiated, bringing light and warmth to all those within her reach.
The year 1947 marked a time of great change for America. With the end of World War II, thousands of young soldiers returned home to start their families – and the Baby Boom was quickly underway. In Union Grove, Wisconsin, William Meredith and his wife, Dorothy (Habermas), were among the many expecting parents and on September 5, 1947, they were overjoyed to welcome the birth of their first child, daughter Mary Joanne. She was joined seven years later by her brother, Donald, who completed the Meredith household.
As a little girl, Mary Jo had such a soft spot for animals, especially dogs (poodles were her favorite). Her mother was a traditional homemaker, caring for the kids, while her father earned a living in Union Grove operating a Culligan Water Softening franchise which he started in his mother’s basement. Her mother Dorothy became a devout Christian after she was testified to by her friend, Lee Zemke, about the magnificence of the Lord. Mary Jo followed her mother in the faith and at age 12, was baptized with the Holy Ghost while attending the Wisconsin District United Pentecostal Church Family Camp in Shawano – she then became the first of three generations to receive this life changing gift at camp. This strong, faithful upbringing was a vitally important part of Mary Jo’s life.
Mary Jo’s faith was already tested at the age of 5, when she contracted polio. The illness took quite a toll on her body, resulting in her having to have surgery at age 12, and then learning to walk again. Mary Jo remembered loving visits with her father and mother during this hospitalization. She especially enjoyed watching cartoons with them. She put her little brother to work too by paying him to tickle her arm. A little trooper, Mary Jo worked hard to get back on her feet and out running with her friends again, despite the prognosis of the doctors. She soon took her place among the student body at Union Grove Grade School and Racine Lutheran High School, where she graduated in 1965. Mary Jo then went on to attend the Apostolic Bible Institute in St. Paul, Minnesota, where she pursued her love for music, playing the piano and participating in choir. She especially enjoyed the ABI choir tour.
In the spring of 1970, which was towards the end of Mary Jo’s senior year at ABI, a wonderful thing happened – she met the love of her life, Clinton Hall, a fellow classmate from Kennett, Missouri. Their first official outing together was on a double date to Como Park, after which Clinton asked Mary Jo to go with him to the Graduation Banquet, to which she happily accepted. Love quickly blossomed between the two sweethearts and it wasn’t long before Mary Jo and Clinton were married on May 29, 1971, in San Antonio, Texas. The couple came to Texas just a month before, because Clinton received his draft notice from the U.S. Army shortly after finishing college. After boot camp, Clinton was sent to Fort Sill in Oklahoma to prepare for deployment to Vietnam. However, by God’s grace, his orders were flagged while he was in a holding company at Ft. Lewis, and in the end, he was sent to Madigan General Hospital in Tacoma, Washington, where he served out the rest of his tour of duty. Of course, Mary Jo followed her husband to Washington, and while there, she became an active member at Pastor Gene Zemke’s church in Puyallup.
During their time in Washington, Mary Jo and Clinton were blessed with the birth of their first child, son Steve, in November 1972. A short time later, in April 1973, Clinton received his honorable discharge from the military, and he, Mary Jo, baby Steven and their poodle Tasha, headed cross country in their 1968 Plymouth Satellite to move back home to Union Grove to be near family. Seven months later, the couple delighted in welcoming the birth of their daughter, Shawna, in November 1973. While Clinton provided for their family working as a delivery man for a juice company, Mary Jo stayed at home to take care of the house and children. She kept everything running smoothly, and created a home where love was plentiful. Clinton dearly loved Mary Jo and appreciated everything she did as a loving wife and mother.
In the mid 1980s, when the children were older, Mary Jo went to work at Weg Arrow in Customer Service. Later, she took a job at Burlington Clinic (now known as Aurora Burlington Clinic) as a Unit Secretary and quickly became a loved friend and advocate to her co-workers and patients. Mary Jo had such a compassionate and tender heart, and she was always thinking of others before herself. After 18 years, Mary Jo was forced to retire because of disabling health problems.
Mary Jo loved her family dearly, and her happiest moments always involved the time she spent with her children and three precious granddaughters. She enjoyed sewing outfits for the girls and for their Build-A Bears. Many cherished memories were made over a bowl of ice cream with Grandma Mary Jo. Since a child, Mary Jo had a gift of music, which continued well in to her adulthood. She blessed many by singing specials in her church. She also sang with the Pentecostals of Chicago and was part of a CD recording. She was so very proud that her love for music was passed on to her daughter and later granddaughters, and there wasn’t anything in the world that could keep her from attending their recitals. To get away, the family took many memorable trips to Wisconsin Dells together.
Mary Jo endured many physical challenges for much of her adult life from complications of her childhood illness. In 2009, she underwent hip replacement surgery, and despite constant, daily pain, she remained positive and hopeful. Tragically, Mary Jo was involved in a severe car accident on March 20, 2012, which left her fighting for her life at Froedtert Memorial Lutheran Hospital. Unfortunately, her battle came to an end and she entered into her rest on Tuesday, April 17, 2012, at the age of 64.
With faith as her guide, Mary Jo accomplished much in life and loved abundantly. She embraced the love of her family and spent a lifetime making precious memories which will be forever etched in the hearts of all those she leaves behind. She will be dearly missed.
Beloved wife for 40 years of Clinton Hall. Cherished mother of Steve (Debra) Hall and Shawna (Simon) Chappell. Loving grandmother of Emily, Kate and Rebecca. Loving daughter of the late William, the late Dorothy and Phyllis Meredith. Dear sister of Donald (Cherie) Meredith. Further survived by other relatives and many friends and companion, Trixie.
Visitation will be on Friday, April 20, at Parkway Apostolic Church, 10940 S. Nicholson Road, Oak Creek, WI from 4:00 to 6:45 p.m. followed by the Funeral Service at 7:00 p.m. Private interment in Southern Wisconsin Veteran Memorial Cemetery, Union Grove, WI. Arrangements handled by Suminski Life Story Funeral Homes, Niemann / Suminski; (414) 744-5156, www.SuminskiFuneralHome.com