Vail Daily obituary: Christopher Bennett Hall, 1942-2013
Christopher Hall was killed in an airplane crash June 23 while flying with his best friend, Gar Brown, over Horse Mountain Ranch near Wolcott.
Chris was born Christopher Bennett Hall to his parents Alliene Rutan Hall and Galen Bennett Hall, in New Jersey on Oct. 15, 1942. During the time his father served as a lieutenant commander in the South Pacific during World War II, he lived all over the country. After the war, his family settled in Montclair, N.J. Chris graduated from Avon Old Farms School in Connecticut, a place that was always very near to his heart.
When Chris first appeared in Vail it was an extension of the party he left at Parson’s College in Iowa. He showed up in Vail between Vail’s first and second seasons. Chris was a jack-of-all-trades and worked many jobs, starting as a miner at the Gilman mine, then working as a barber, as a bartender at Donovan’s, and in construction, building his own home in Edwards in 1973. His final career was restoring jets in a garage in Eagle-Vail for almost 30 years, a career he got into on a bet with Bob Lazier, his first friend in the valley. He never thought it would turn into a full-time career, but it started when he asked for six months off of his construction job and it turned into 30 years. He won the “Silver Wrench” award from Snap-On Tools, and the “Best Jet Warbird” at the Experimental Aircraft Association’s 1988 Airshow in Oshkosh, Wis., for his work on Lazier’s TT-1 Pinto Jet. Of the 14 TT-1 Pintos originally built, he had a hand in putting more than half of them back in the air. In 1982, Chris started flying, he gained his pilot’s license in 1985, and he had since logged thousands of hours of flight time. His retirement project was restoring his 1991 Chinese Air Force trainer, a Nanchang CJ-6A, with an upgraded rotary engine. It was his pride and joy.
In 1984, Chris met and married Ann-Margreth, a former Olympic figure skater. Together they were blessed with a son, Alexander. He also shared his dad’s passion for flying. Alexander became a pilot, and the two flew together frequently. Throughout the last 30 years Chris and his family traveled to many places, from Scandinavia to South Africa. Chris and Ann-Margreth’s latest adventures were hiking across the Swiss Alps in 2007 and taking a recent cruise through the Panama Canal.
Chris is survived by his wife, Ann-Margreth; son Alexander; and sister Gale. He had many friends from the past that he kept in touch with, whose friendships he cherished greatly. He also enjoyed the fellowship of the old-timers of Vail, and the memories of the good old days in the valley when everybody knew everybody.
Chris was a member of the Red Star Pilot’s Association whose president wished this for Chris:
A strong tailwind
A beautiful smooth green grass runway
And a perfect landing
Contributions in Chris’s name may be made to Avon Old Farms School, 500 Old Farms Road, Avon, CT 06001
Services are planned for July 10 at 5 p.m. at Donovan Park Pavilion. Please leave the black at home, as this will be a celebration of Chris’s life! Please bring snack foods and good stories to share.