Edna Catherine Leggett Hall

Published 7:00 am Thursday, January 5, 2017

Edna Catherine Leggett Hall, 82, of Huntsville, Alabama passed away on Monday.  Her life was a gift to all around her, helping others grow and blossom.
Catherine was born July 27, 1934 in Poplarville, Mississippi, the daughter of Howard Ray Leggett (born Seminary, Miss.) and Edna Earle (Mitchell) Leggett (born Picayune, Miss.). Catherine grew up on a small farm outside of Poplarville, where the church was the center of her social activity and where she learned to love knitting, sewing, and cooking; playing the piano; and nurturing plants and other people.  No doubt, as the oldest of four children, this is where she began to develop her excellent management skills that were the hallmark of her long career with the Madison County, Alabama School System.  Catherine is survived by her sister Barbara Faye (Leggett) Huet and husband Bob in Bay St. Louis, Miss., and preceded in death by her brothers Howard Ray Leggett, Junior and George Elis Leggett.
After attending Mississippi State College for Women (MSCW), Catherine graduated with a BA in Home Economics. It was there that she fell in love with Richard Ladrew Hall, also from Poplarville, and they married on May 30, 1956.   Then from Mississippi State, Catherine graduated with a MS degree in Guidance and Counseling.  Richard and Catherine were intimately involved with two of the most significant developments of the mid-twentieth century:  the US space program and the changing South of the Civil Rights era. Richard, an electrical engineer, was invited by Werner von Braun to interview in Huntsville after sending a letter of interest and was soon hired to be a part of history.  After their move to the future Rocket City in 1956, Catherine began teaching in the then-segregated Madison County school system.  She completed AA teacher certification in school psychology from Alabama A&M in 1968 and moved into an administrative position. Her responsibilities grew steadily until she retired, after 31 years of service in 1989, as Director of Personnel and Pupil Services for Madison County Schools.  As Personnel Director during the desegregation of public schools in Madison County, Catherine saw a peaceful transition during a challenging and exciting period of history.
Catherine and Richard became involved in the Unitarian Fellowship of Huntsville in the late 1950’s, during its early foundation.  Catherine’s deep involvement in the church continued until her death.  She served on the Board of Trustees multiple times, was a strong contributor of numerous committees, an active knitter in the Knit Wits, and, for decades, has provided her gift of music to the congregation, contributing her piano accompaniments to services, choirs, and soloists.  She learned to play as a child and began to bless others as an accompanist in her home church in Poplarville, for the Glee Club in college, for the Senior Singers in Huntsville, and at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Huntsville.   Her music has been a balm for many souls.
Catherine and Richard were blessed with a son, Steven Howard Hall, in 1964, who survives them.  Steven and his wife Christina Webster Hall live in Huntsville with Catherine’s three grandchildren Charlotte Grace Hall, Dylan Drake Hall and step-granddaughter Hannah Marie Risner.  Catherine relished their companionship and love and delighted in them always, and they have been a source of great joy in her life.
After retiring, Catherine became active as both a volunteer and part-time Education Director at the Huntsville Botanical Garden.   Her lovely home garden reflects her interests and talents, and she was a member of the Huntsville Wildflower Society (now Huntsville Native Plant Society).  She has been an active member and newsletter editor of the Nature Trail Grubbers, a group of Botanical Garden volunteers for over 20 years.  Many plants along the Nature Trail there were nurtured by her hands.
Catherine’s memorial celebration will be at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Huntsville on January 14, 2017 at 2:00 p.m. Donations in Catherine’s memory may be made to the Unitarian Universalist Church of Huntsville or the Huntsville Botanical Garden.

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