OBITUARY: Blaine R. Hall

An object in motion stays in motion, and Blaine R. Hall was never still. Born on March Air Force base in 1950, Blaine was the middle son to Lt. Cl. Paul M. Hall (Woody) and Mignon Rachal Hall. The Korean War took his father but his mother, Mignon, still had much life to live. Blaine would later be stepson to Bruce T. Pearson, in the process gaining his surviving brother and sister, John Pearson and Rachal Eriksen. His childhood was spent in Fort Stockton and Midland, Texas (the latter city proved less receptive to pet bobcats). Even as a teenager, Blaine was ready to see what more the world held. He attended New Mexico Military Institute in Roswell, New Mexico, graduating with Honors in 1968. This time at NMMI cemented the foundation for the man he became — brilliant, principled, curious. His university experience included a bachelor’s degree at the University of Texas El Paso, a master’s degree in geological oceanography at Dalhousie University, and further graduate study at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University.

As a young man Blaine knew there was too much to see for one lifetime: traveling the Atlantic to and from oil rigs, motorcycling through Spain, and living in Paris while working for a discotheque (where he went by “Tex”). In his professional career, Blaine’s expertise would shine in the field of exploratory geology, allowing his family to twice live overseas in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The third chapter of his career brought him back to Texas as a professor at Sul Ross State University and later as a ranger at Big Bend Ranch State Park (aka “The Other Side of Nowhere”). But it was the fourth chapter of his career (most refer to this as retirement) where he was truly able to answer the siren call of “The Field.” Blaine spent retirement working on academic and research papers, lectures, mentoring graduate students, and visiting all the people and places he could manage. The only thing that could match his brilliant mind was the love, loyalty, and devotion Blaine felt for his friends and family, particularly his children — son Peter and daughter Blaine Anne. 

My father was a confident, often eccentric, principled, kind, and loving man who experienced a full, adventurous life — whether the adventure took him to a mountain peak in Wyoming, a café in Europe, graduate study in Nova Scotia, or the desolate beauty of the high desert. I believe we all wish we had spent more time and been able to develop more personal relationships with my father, but despite his famous fondness for privacy, the love he felt for us and us for him was tangible as the rocks that followed his every step.