WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. John Ratcliffe led the Texas delegation in a moment of silence on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives this week in honor of former Congressman Ralph Hall, who passed away last Thursday at the age of 95.
Hall represented Texas’s Fourth District, which includes Grayson County, for 34 years after serving two decades in other public office positions. Hall left the House of Representatives in 2014 as dean of the Texas delegation and the oldest serving member in history. Hall died of natural causes March 7 at his home overlooking Lake Ray Hubbard.
Ratcliffe, who defeated Hall in a Republican primary runoff in 2014 for the House seat, also gave a speech commemorating the former U.S. representative on the House floor.
“From beginning to end, Ralph Hall lived one of the most extraordinary and remarkable lives of anyone ever to serve in Congress,” Ratcliffe said. “In his 34 years in this chamber, Ralph spent some of his time sitting over here as a Blue Dog Democrat. For some of his time, he spent it sitting over there, as a conservative Republican. Ralph liked to joke that was because ‘the Republicans never much wanted me, and the Democrats never much liked me.’ Neither of those was true, but it was that self-deprecating humor that made Ralph Hall beloved to everyone that knew him.”
As the nation’s space station was always near to the former congressman’s heart, Ratcliffe explained Hall’s picture hangs in the Science, Space and Technology Committee room, alongside other past chairmen.
“But Ralph is the only chairman to have Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, Gene Cernan and every then-living Apollo-era astronaut come to his home to celebrate one of his birthdays,” Ratcliffe said. “When asked why, Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon, who famously took a ‘giant leap for mankind,’ said it was because Ralph Hall was a giant to our space program. Ralph Hall, he said, was a giant among men.”
Following Hall’s death last week, U.S. Senator John Cornyn also released a statement remembering his former colleague.
“Ralph Hall was a legend in Congress and a true friend to many of us,” Cornyn said in his statement. “A member of the Greatest Generation, he led by example, serving first his country in World War II and then Texans with his whole heart. Heaven is gaining one of the best, and Sandy and I send our condolences to the Hall family as we mourn this great loss.”
Grayson County Republican Party Chair Barbara Woodroof welcomed attendees to the party’s annual Lincoln-Reagan Dinner last week with some remarks about Hall after a giant screen had displayed images of the local political icon as people arrived.
“So many of us got to know him at events like this,” Woodroof said of Hall, before adding that he was not a politician who cared a lot about parties. “Hall served all, especially here in Grayson County.”
Funeral services for Hall will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday at First United Methodist Church,1200 East Yellow Jacket Lane, in Rockwall. Interment will follow in Rest Haven Memorial Park. A gathering of family and friends will be held Friday evening at The Gathering at Rest Haven Funeral Home, 2500 State Highway 66 East, in Rockwall from 6-8 p.m.