Let’s Talk Clovis: Bert and MaryLou Hall, Dedicated to Youth

MaryLou Hall and friend George Middleton. Photo taken in 2003. (Photo Courtesy of Clovis Museum)

Bert and MaryLou Hall were united in marriage on September 14, 1937. They became dedicated teachers and stewards of our Clovis youth. Bert organized Clovis Boy Scout troop #351 in 1951. He remained an active leader for 19 years. Mary Lou would teach at Luther E. Weldon Elementary School (DeWitt, between 3rd and 2nd) for 27 years.

Bert was born on August 18, 1901 in Fresno. He attended the Easterby School (founded 1864, 5211 East Tulare, Fresno). He remembered riding a wagon to the sawmill in Clovis (1893 Fresno Flume & Irrigation) to get blocks of wood for the family stove.

He worked at a local bakery and earned the title “master cook” for his culinary skills. He became the chief cook for seventeen summers at Huntington Lake at the Lakeshore Resort. His hot cinnamon rolls became part of the Lake’s culture.

Bert and MaryLou cherished and promoted their love and respect for the natural beauty of the Sierra Mountains. His Boy Scout Troop #351 planted two Sequoia Gigantean trees at the (SW corner of Sierra and Clovis Ave) park. Bert had nurtured the trees from seedlings. The troop also planted a tree at Weldon Elementary as a tribute to all Scouts in this area. They planted a tree at the Boy Scout Camp Chawanakee near Shaver Lake.

Glenn Reavis (Principal of Clovis Elementary) asked Bert to establish a cafeteria at the Clovis Grammar school (1896) building while the new (1949) Luther E. Weldon school was being built. Bert retained that position for eight years. Cole and Sierra Vista Elementary schools were added to his service.

MaryLou was born on March 27, 1916 in a small rural settlement called Enterprise in southeastern Oklahoma. Her father died before she was two years old. She was raised by her mother and her maternal grandfather. She credits them for guidance in forming her moral and spiritual values.

Relatives were living in Fresno and MaryLou joined them in 1934 to attend Fresno State College. She would meet her future husband (Bert Hall) while attending two summer college sessions at Huntington Lake.

MaryLou graduated from Fresno State with a teaching degree in general education in June of 1937. She married Bert on September 14, 1937 but did not begin her teaching career until their two children (Joyce and Louis) entered school.

Bert would do carpentry during the winter months when the resort was closed. The couple was forced to move form their first home on Shields Ave when Hamerfield Air Base was expanded in 1941. They relocated to Armstrong Ave and raised a small herd of cows and produce from their truck farming. Bert also worked on the Friant Canal project.

In 1945 the family would move to a fifteen acres parcel (5314 N. Sunnyside, near Tollhouse Rd.). Bert became known as the “African Violet Man” (250 varieties) as he sold (wholesale/retail) plants and flowers to floral shops in Fresno and Clovis.

Bert began to build redwood landscape products, tables, benches and planter tubs. In 1968 the family moved to a ranch on east Herndon Ave. They raised cattle and sheep and assisted the 4H and FFA youth with their animal projects.  Bert began his wood carving hobby that included neckerchief slides.

A former Boy Scout believes the following quote captures the essence of his former Scout Master: “When you look, see and when you hear, listen.”

MaryLou described her life: “I believe the greatest rewards of my life have occurred day by day, year by year being a part in the development of not only my own children and grandchildren but all those hundreds of youth who now take their place in their communities.”

“Lots of “my kids” are still in our community and seeing them always brings a thrill. I give thanks to all those parents who loaned those young lives to my care.”

The Hall’s provided us a rich heritage.

Peg Bos
Peg Bos is the president of the Clovis Museum on 4th and Pollasky avenues in Old Town Clovis. She not only manages the museum but she also writes her Let's Talk Clovis column in our publication which features and highlight the amazing history of our city and culture. One fun fact about Peg Bos, she was the first female mayor of Clovis from 1984-86.