Obituary of David Edward Hall
Our stalwart friend and loving father, David “Dave” Edward Hall, passed away peacefully at the age of 59 on November 17, 2023, in St. Petersburg, Fla. He is survived by his son, Ian James Hall, and his stepson, Jack C. Kouwe.
Born the only son of James Edward Hall and Rita Cosgrove Hall, David’s arrival on June 3, 1964, in Springfield, Ill., was a fortuitous, shared natal day with one of his future musical idols, Ian Hunter. After James passed away while David was an infant, Rita and David moved to Florida where they made a home in St. Pete’s beautiful Snell Isle neighborhood. Their back gate spilled onto the lawn of St. Raphael Catholic School, where young David spent his childhood.
Over time, Dave’s penchant for storytelling, songwriting, and performing music grew, as did his long, curly locks. As a senior at St. Pete Catholic High School, he helped found White Light, Tampa Bay’s party band. At 17, he started playing all the local clubs: Silas Dents, Big Apple, Cheshire Cat, Quarterdeck, Clancy’s, ACL, Stuffed Pepper, Savoy Lounge, and Club Detroit. Besides playing keyboard, he published many insightful articles in local music magazines. Dave was a gifted writer—our own Cameron Crowe.
Dave attended the University of Florida and St. Pete College before playing keyboards and writing songs for Intents, a rock band that toured the U.S. and Europe. When the appeal of traveling and stage lights wore off, he settled in Memphis, Tenn., where he earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Memphis. His time in the home of the blues and the birthplace of rock ‘n’ roll expanded his craft to music journalism and retail music sales. His robust music collection is a result of hundreds of music reviews and interviews with artists he favored and tolerated over the years.
At the turn of the century, David returned to St. Pete to attend Stetson University College of Law. Aside from a few gigs with private firms, he devoted the majority of his legal career to the Hillsborough County Public Defender's Office. His peers and those he supervised knew him as an even-tempered leader, inspirational mentor, and appreciative colleague. When asked, “How can you be in this line of work, day in and day out?” David responded with, “Most every mom wishes her kid the best in life. I do this for the moms.”
Unless he was listening to one of his favorite artists (Louis Armstrong, Chet Baker, Paul McCartney, Joe Henry, Elvis Costello, Wilco, Aimee Mann, Paul Weller, Warren Zevon, and, of course, Ian Hunter, to name a few), the only live music David truly enjoyed was the kind where he was behind a microphone, cradling a guitar. His band, Learned Hand, was a local favorite, playing many of Dave’s original songs and those of his idols. Every friend lucky enough to be invited over for a cookout ended up playing percussion on Zevon’s “Werewolves of London” or “Folsom Prison Blues” by Johnny Cash. David was known to proclaim, “Performing is not just about talent, it’s about enthusiasm.”
Just as David’s mad fondness for penny-pinching purchases, perfectly-produced recordings, palate-burning chicken wings, the Tampa Bay Rays, and Godzilla marathons made his loved ones chuckle, he will be remembered fondly for his matter-of-fact responses, wry sense of humor, quick comebacks, and leading by example.
While his two marriages were not meant to be evermore bonds in this lifetime, their relationships were heartfelt and instrumental in his life’s path. David’s greatest joy and legacy was his son, Ian. A devoted father whose pride in Ian knew no bounds, David also considered it an honor and a privilege to be a parent to his stepson, Jack. During his last days, David took comfort in knowing Jack would always be an important influence on Ian’s life.
David’s generous enthusiasm in sharing memories from his diverse experiences with family members, childhood friends, neighbors, and newcomers drew many people to him. David valued fellowship and his charm and charisma attracted friends from many circles. In honor of our friend, a celebration of David’s life will be held on Saturday, January 27, 2024, from 5-9 p.m., at The Studio@620, in downtown St. Petersburg.
Fly free, Dave. When he runs into family and friends that have gone before him, we know they will be greeted with, “Hi there. It’s your friend, Dave Hall.”
To plant a beautiful memorial tree in memory of David Hall, please visit our Tree Store