Leonard C. Hall Jr. was a Tuskegee Airman.
Hall died Friday, Jan. 25, 2013 after a long illness. He was 87.
He was born Jan. 14, 1926 in Philadelphia to Leonard Collins Hall Sr. and Beatrice Lester Hall.
Hall’s family became members of the African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas, which was then located at 52nd and Parrish Streets and he attended regularly.
He was educated in the Philadelphia public school system, attending Overbrook High School, where he graduated in January of 1943. While furthering his secondary education, Hall developed an interest in flying. Leaving college, he joined the United States Army Air Corps and in February 1945, became an aviation cadet at the Tuskegee Institute, Division of Aeronautics. By November 1945, he attained the ranking of second lieutenant as he became a pilot.
After World War II ended, Hall pursued a career as a commercial pilot and received a commercial airmen license in March 1949. However, due to racism, he was not able to fulfill his dream, as Blacks were not accepted as commercial pilots at that time.
“Leonard was not to be stymied by this setback and he attained employment in several occupations,” his family said.
Hall worked for the Yellow Cab Company, Campbell Soup Company and the Philadelphia Transit Company, where he was one of the early Blacks employed by mass transit in Philadelphia.
In 1958, he was employed by the city of Philadelphia as a correctional officer and retired in 1990 as a correctional counselor after 31 years of service.
Hall had varying interests such as flying, jazz, tennis, automobiles and photography. He attended airshows throughout the eastern seaboard where he was often acknowledged as one of the esteemed Tuskegee Airmen. He spent hours cataloguing artists and making tapes for this family and friends. He enjoyed taking pictures of his friends and family and had begun to catalog hundreds of photos taken over the last 50 or more years.
He had passion for visiting Atlantic City beach. Even after he relocated to Atlanta, Hall would make visits to Atlantic City an essential part of the trip home.
“He was a distinguished, dignified and powerful influence on the lives of many, many people. He didn’t bow to his illness and he was always saying ‘I got a chance,’” He was a man who gave us a roadmap to persevere against all obstacles…to move forward and not feel sorry for ourselves,” his family said.
In addition to his parents, Hall was preceded in death by his sister, Loretta.
He is survived by his children, Leonard C. Hall III; Lynn C. Hall; Angela Moore-Brown (Felipe); Michelle Hall; Lisa Hall Marshall(Andrew); nine grandchildren; two great-grandsons; niece, Muriel Silva; and other relatives and friends.
Services will be held Feb. 8 at the African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas at 6131 Lancaster Ave. Viewing will be held at 10 a.m. Services will follow at 11 a.m. Burial will be in Washington Crossings National Cemetery.
Wood Funeral Home handled the arrangements.