William P. Hall, headed shipyard

June 04, 1994|By DeWitt Bliss | DeWitt Bliss,Sun Staff Writer

William Purnell Hall, former president of the Maryland Shipbuilding and Drydock Co. and one-time director of business and industrial development for Columbia, died Tuesday of heart failure at Broadmead. He was 85 and had moved from Guilford to the Cockeysville retirement community six years ago.

Mr. Hall was associated with the shipyard in Fairfield in South Baltimore from 1937 until 1963 and was president for the last six years. His career at the company was interrupted only by service as a Navy officer from 1944 until 1946 during World War II. He commanded groups of landing craft in the invasions of Iwo Jima and Okinawa in the Pacific Theater.

After leaving Maryland Drydock, he went to work for Rouse Co., working on the business and industrial development of Columbia in Howard County for about five years until 1969. He then built a motel, the Kittiwake, at 45th Street in Ocean City, which he operated until about 10 years ago.

James W. Rouse, founder of the Rouse Co., described Mr. Hall as "a fine man, quite a business leader and a great help in the early days of Columbia."

Rep. Helen Delich Bentley, a 2nd District Republican, said Mr. Hall "was certainly one of the outstanding CEOs in the Baltimore area when Baltimore had many corporate headquarters."

"He was recognized in the shipbuilding and ship repair field as an innovator and a leader," she said. "He was very civic-minded and made sure Maryland Shipbuilding and Drydock participated in every community activity there was."

Mr. Hall was a former board chairman of the Baltimore Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond and sat on the boards of Maryland National Bank and a predecessor, the Fidelity Baltimore National Bank, and Black & Decker US Inc.

He had also been on the board of the Shipbuilding Council of America and a member of the American Bureau of Shipping and the Mayor's Port Advisory Committee.

He had also been vice president of the Baltimore Area Chamber of Commerce and a board member of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

In recent years, he was active in Americans for International Development.

Mr. Hall had been on the boards of Goucher College, the Johns Hopkins University and the Baltimore Chapter of the American Red Cross. He had been president of the Greater Baltimore YMCA and a vice president of the Community Chest.

In 1961, he chaired a fund-raising drive for the National Fund for Medical Education.

Born in Baltimore, he was a graduate of the Polytechnic Institute and, in 1930, of Hopkins, where he was president of the student council and a member of the lacrosse team that represented the United States at the 1928 Olympics in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

In those Olympics, lacrosse was a demonstration sport and the competition ended with the U.S. team beating Canada's entry.

After graduating from Hopkins, he worked at the U.S. Labor Department in Washington. He returned to Baltimore in 1936 as Labor's state director of the National Re-employment Service.

Briefly in 1937, he was director of the Maryland State Employment Service.

Survivors include his wife, the former Olga Kalakuka, whom he married in 1933; a brother, William Barnes Hall of Naples, Fla.; and many nieces and nephews.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. June 11 in the auditorium at Broadmead, 13801 York Road.

Memorial donations may be made to the Johns Hopkins University.

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