September 21, 2021 By Carol Britton Meyer
Greg Hall -- a lively nonagenarian -- retired recently from the board of assessors after serving for 35 years.
When asked what inspired him to remain on the board for so long, Hall told the Hingham Anchor that he enjoyed the job and loves the town, "so it was a great way for me to give back."
What prompted him to run for this position in the first place was his decades of experience in the real estate business -- a total of 57 years. "I thought I could contribute my wealth of knowledge to the town," Hall said -- and that's exactly what he did.
Hall saw many changes over the years in his role on the board. "When I first joined, I remember houses in Bradley Woods selling for $13,000," he recalled. "Some of them are now selling for more than 50 times that amount -- 650,000! I am very proud that we were able to keep an average of 95 percent assessment/sales ratio in the years that I worked on the board."
Former town Director of Assessing Lane Partridge enjoyed working with Hall. When he heard he was retiring, Partridge exclaimed, "Wow! I thought he would stay forever!"
He recalls Hall "always kidding around. When we went to the tax classification hearing each year, Greg would sit next to me, and I would present all the information. Greg would then [quip], 'I didn’t even move my lips!'"
Rick Nowlan met Hall in 2007, but it wasn't until Nowlan became the town Director of Assessing in 2011 that they really got acquainted. "My first year was described by some as the 'perfect storm' -- I was the new Assessor, we had a new software program, and we were in a state certification year," Nowlan recalls. "Greg was totally supportive throughout my first year and throughout the next several years. 'Mr. Chairman' -- as we liked to address him -- loved being on the board of assessors. He was great with the staff and the other board members, attended every meeting, and was always willing to contribute."
Each year Hall would attend a few selectmen meetings with Nowlan, mainly as a show of support for him and the Assessor's Office. "One thing I miss is Greg coming into my office, sitting down, and asking how things were going," he said. "Greg shared stories with me about his college days at Yale, his father's passing in World War II, and his own war experiences."
Hall was an athlete, "an incredible reader, and a political junkie" in Nowlan's view. "While I know Greg had hoped to serve on the board of assessors until he was 100, he served well for many years. I will always remember him as a dedicated public servant and a friend to us all."
Current Director of Assessing, Erin Walsh -- who joined the Assessor's Office seven years ago -- called Hall "one of a kind." He was one of the first people that she met, and he went out of his way to make her feel welcome.
"Greg invests his time and energy into getting to know people, which is what makes him such a good friend and person," she said. "I am amazed by his boundless energy and his great outlook on life."
Walsh also appreciates Hall's wonderful sense of humor, his "unbelievable memory," and his storytelling capabilities. "I feel extremely fortunate to have worked with him over the past several years," she said. "The Assessor’s Office will not be the same without him, but I hope he’s able to enjoy more Red Sox games in his retirement."
Looking back, Hall and his wife, Fran, moved to Hingham in 1960. "We lived on Leavitt Street for a little while and then moved to Main Street. We found Hingham to be a very friendly town and very beautiful," he said. "I am very grateful for the way the town has accepted me."
Hall attributes his young in spirit and at heart ways to remaining active in the community -- as a Hingham Community Center director for many decades, a member of the Hingham Historical Society, the Hingham Tennis Club, and also the board of assessors.
"I also swam at the South Shore Country Club during the summer and belonged to a bowling league," Hall said. "I took art classes at the Senior Center."
In 2017, Hall -- perhaps best-known for his sense of humor and warm smile -- stepped down from the Hingham Community Center board of directors after serving for a marathon 56 years -- having loved every minute of it. At that time, he was honored with a special celebration.
Hall is also known as the founder of the popular "Cabaret" show, which for many years was the main HCC fundraiser.
"When I moved here, I joined the Community Center Board of Directors because I thought it would be a good way to meet people. Fran and I had done a show called 'The Follies' in Atchison, Kansas. The Community Center was looking for a fundraiser, so I brought the show here [in the form of 'Cabaret.'] It was hard work, but it was also very successful and lots of fun," Hall recalls.
He especially enjoyed performing in the show -- often in humorous roles -- and being referred to as "Mr. Cabaret." His participation in this fun-filled event also helped him maintain a youthful spirit.
Of all the pleasures in his life, he said Fran has been "the most delightful companion" he could have had. "She has been the producer of my life. She talked me into being an assessor and supported me being in 'Cabaret,' which took a month of work every year. On the first of January, I would leave the house and say, 'See you in February!'"
In his newly-found free time, Hall plans "to watch all of the Red Sox and Patriots games."