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OK Obits

Submitted by: Sandi Carter

Lois Isabell (Gillis) Hall

December 22, 1896 ~ October 19, 2005


The oldest living graduate of the Oklahoma College for Women - now USAO - has died just short of her 109th birthday. A world traveler and career educator, Lois Gillis Hall of Frederick returned to campus in 1997 at age 100 to be inducted to the Alumni Hall of Fame.

Always a survivor and lover of adventure, Lois Hall made a choice in 1961 following the deaths of her husband and mother never to "retire quietly." She began a journey that lasted nearly three decades: her excursions include two world tours, sites in all 50 states, to Europe a dozen times, southeast Asia and Russia twice, and China.

Lois Isabell Gillis Hall was born December 22, 1896, and died October 19, 2005. Her parents were Dr. John Angus Gillis and Annie Minshew Gillis. They lived in Buda, Texas. In 1902 the family moved to Frederick, OK, when that area opened for settlement.

Her mother home schooled her until she entered 5th grade in the Frederick public school.

During World War I, while her father served in the Army Medical Corps, her mother moved the family to Chickasha so Lois could attend Oklahoma College for Women. After graduating , Lois entered OU and obtained a master's degree in English and French.

She attended six institutions of higher education in all, but OCW was a favorite. Accompanied by a mother determined that her daughter receive a college education, Lois entered the college as a freshman in 1915. The matriculation fee was $2 at the time and room and board at Nellie Sparks Dormitory was $16.

Her younger sister attended OCW's preperatory school at the same time. The two sisters and their mother found a home in Chickasha, but returned to Frederick on the weekends, where her father was a doctor.

The girls traveled to the college each day by streetcar, carring lunches they would eat with the other "town girls" while sitting on the south steps of the Administration Building. The younger sister died during her freshman year at OCW in 1918. Later, offered a job teaching English at Northeastern State College, Lois Gillis moved to Tahlequah.

She wore many hats, becoming a full professor, head of the English Department, Dean of Women and house mother in the girls' dormitory. On vacations, she studied at the University of Chicago, Columbia University and Oxford University in England.

Thomas Aldis Hall returned to college and met Lois while a student in one of her classes. They married a short time later. During World War II, Tom taught Navy V-12 students in New Orleans. Lois taught high school in Haughton, LA. Due to gas rationing, Lois took the train every Sunday night to Haughton, spent the week in the 'teacherage,' where the teachers lived, and trained back to New Orleans Friday evening. Post WW II, they lived in Alfred, New York, where Tom taught at the State University of New York. Lois sometimes filled in as a teacher or Dean of Women.

In 1951, they moved to Oklahoma City. Lois taught at Putnam City grade school. Tom died suddenly in 1958, and her mother in 1961.

After that, Lois traveled every summer. She visited 57 foreign countries and almost all the United States, and went around the world twice.

She belonged to the Early American Glass Club, Salvia Garden Club, Esther Circle, Movie Makers Club, Ladies Music Club, Wednesday Play Reviewers Club, Shakespeare Club, and many others. She particularly enjoyed her work with Oklahoma City's International Visitors Program and the foreign friends she made there.

In 1997, she was honored by the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma (formerly OCW) by being inducted into the USAO Hall of Fame. Hall was a lifelong member of the Presbyterian Church. She was predeceased by her brothers, Neil and Angus and her sister, Fern. Her only survivors are friends who remember her. Memorial Service was held Oct. 24 in the Chapel of First Presbyterian Church at Frederick.

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