In Memorium Bobbye Hall
- Bobbye Hall, a former hobby industry icon, passed away at age 97
January 27 at a Dallas Hospital from congestive heart failure.
This past December, at a book signing at the Oklahoma City Train
Show, I was thrilled to once again talk with Bobbye Hall, who was
signing copies of her autobiography, Tracks from Texas to Tokyo. Mrs.
Hall owned Hall's Hobby House in Dallas from 1946 to 2002, when she
retired. Outside of the southwest she was best known as the owner of
Hallmark models, one of the pioneers in imported brass models in both
HO- and N-scales.
During her 55 years of active participation in model railroading she
was honored by many of the support organizations, including the NMRA
(she received the Pioneers of Model Railroading award) and the Model
Railroad Industry Association (Inducted into their Hall of Fame). She
was the first woman elected to the Hobby Industry Associations board
of directors (1953).
I first became one of her customers during a trip to Dallas to visit
my then-wife's parents. Frequently over the 70s, and less frequently
in the 80s and early 90s, I spent many hours in the building in east
Dallas, most of them chatting with Mrs. Hall. If she didn't have
something, she knew where to get it. I once took a competitor's brass
loco into her shop because I lost a tiny part and needed a
replacement. She took the model up to the Hallmark offices to try to
find something that would fit. She returned with the model after
about 20 minutes and told me the they had nothing suitable to replace
the missing piece, but that the original importer was mailing me the
part I needed. It was that kind of dedication to the hobby and to her
customers that made Bobbye Hall very special.
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