World War II veteran will celebrate 100th birthday milestone

Published 8:20 pm Tuesday, July 28, 2020

NATCHEZ — Three years ago today, a long-time Natchez resident and World War II veteran told The Natchez Democrat he wished to live to see his 100th birthday, and so he did.

William T. Hall, affectionately known as Bill by his friends and family in Natchez, turns 100 years old today.

Hall plans to celebrate his birthday milestone with his stepdaughter, Tanna Davis, and family at Roux 61 Wednesday afternoon.

Hall said he has lived in Natchez for approximately 40 years since moving with his late wife Alice Faure after he retired from the United States Marine Corps in the 1970s.

Prior to his 30-plus years of service to his country, Hall was living a few miles outside of Kansas City with his family and spent his early childhood in Wyoming near Green River.

At 100 years old, Hall still remembers with clarity learning how to swim in Green River, he said.

“One day when I was about 5 years old, my dad picked me up on the side of the water and just tossed me in the Green River itself and said swim,” he said. “… It was my first dip in the water by myself.”

Hall said he also remembers growing up during the Great Depression in the Dust Bowl. In those days, movie theaters were brand new and were the best way to keep cool during the hot summer nights of the drought, he said.

It was one night during a show that Hall said he remembers the longest drought he’d ever experienced in his life ended.

He’d gotten out of his seat for popcorn and soda pop and saw people and streetcars coming to a standstill in the middle of the road outside.

“It was the first rain I’d seen in months but it wasn’t really rain. It was more like mud coming down,” Hall said. “I ran back in the theater and told everyone inside and they came running out. You could feel the temperature dropping and people were dancing in the street.”

It wasn’t long after that, just as the Great Depression was ending, Hall said he’d announced to his family at the dinner table he would be leaving Kansas to serve in the Marine Corps. He was 19 years old at the time and had been in the U.S. Army National Guard for approximately two years, he said.

Hall said he was stationed in San Diego before the United States entered World War II and was transported out to fight in the Battle of Midway.

He served in the Pacific in World War II and later in the Korea and Vietnam wars before he retired from service and began working for Callon Petroleum Company in Natchez.

Hall said he is proud to have served 30 years in the Marine Corps.