I’d like to take a moment to reflect on the passing of one of our Emory giants, Dallie Hall, on Wednesday, Aug. 26. He had had Parkinson’s disease for quite some time.
Dr. Wilbur Dallas “Dallie” Hall, 77, was a pioneer in the subject of high blood pressure in minority populations, co-editing the book Hypertension in Blacks and serving as one of three founding members of the International Society on Hypertension in Blacks (ISHIB).
A native of Calhoun, Georgia, he graduated magna cum laude from Emory’s School of Medicine in 1963, serving as chief resident (in internal medicine) and a nephrology fellow at Emory and Grady Memorial Hospital. As a resident, he accompanied Dr. J. Willis Hurst as he pushed the first bed from the “black” side of the hospital to the “white” side when Grady was desegregated by federal law on June 1, 1965.
Hall was on Emory’s medical faculty from 1969 to 1998, when he retired as professor emeritus. His interest in hypertension grew out of his two decades of service at Grady. In 1976, he established a division of hypertension in the Department of Medicine at Emory, and was program director of the General Clinical Research Center at Emory from 1988 to 1998. He was past president of the Georgia Heart Association, and a master of the American College of Physicians. He authored four books, 119 journal articles, and 77 book chapters, primarily on high blood pressure. He was a recipient of the inaugural Charles R. Hatcher Jr. Award for Excellence in Public Health for his “understanding of the interdependence of theory and practice on the human condition,” said Dean Jim Curran.
“Dallie and I were together in med school and were colleagues during his entire career,” says Dr. Ken Walker, Professor of Medicine. “He was the smartest physician I have ever known. He was held in reverence, admiration, and awe by his colleagues for his abilities. His human characteristics were equally remarkable. He was compassionate, gentle, kind, caring, and honest.”
Hall loved to travel with his wife, Marguerite “Peggie” Holt Hall, and is survived by Peggie, his daughter, Ashley Hall Mestl, stepchildren Marianne (Dhillon), Brent, and Tommy, and seven grandchildren. “To Dallie, Emory was the place where he felt most alive,” says Peggie Hall. “His greatest joys in life were helping his patients and teaching young doctors to care for their own patients with as much compassion, expertise, and dedication as he demanded of himself.”
After cremation, the family will receive friends on Saturday, Sept. 5, from 2-4 p.m. at Lenbrook, 3747 Peachtree Road, Atlanta. In lieu of flowers, please consider contributions to the Dr. W.D. Hall Memorial Fund at the ISHIB, 157 Summit View Dr., McDonough, GA, 30253.
Christian P. Larsen, MD, D.Phil.
Dean, Emory University School of Medicine