Cover photo for JOSEPH SEABORN HALL's Obituary
JOSEPH SEABORN HALL Profile Photo
1937 Joseph 2020

JOSEPH SEABORN HALL

March 24, 1937 — December 24, 2020

Joseph Seaborn Hall, 83, of Donalsonville, GA, passed away Thursday, December 24, 2020, at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital in Albany, GA. A private memorial service will be held Tuesday, December 29 at 2:00 pm, officiated by his niece, Rev. Claire Davis. The service will be available to friends and family who are not in attendance via livestream on Evans-Skipper’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Funeral-Service---Cemetery/Evans-Skipper-Funeral-Home-109038380864164/ The family looks forward to hosting a celebration of life in the future when it is safe to do so. Should friends and associates desire, an honorary contribution can be made to the Phoebe Putney Foundation to recognize the excellent care Mr. Hall received. https://www.supportphoebe.org/phoebe-foundation/ways-togive/programs/coronavirus relief To cherish his memory, he leaves his love of 35 years, Martha Brown of Donalsonville, GA; his children, Kenneth Hall of O’Brien, FL, David Hall of Donalsonville, GA, Cathryn Hall Virzi and her husband Joe of Seattle, WA; his sister, Mary Skinner and her husband Charlie of Macon, GA; his brothers, Ronnie Hall of Cairo, GA and Edward Hall of Milledgeville, GA. He is also survived by his grandchildren, Wesley Hall, Jacob Hall, Alana Hall, Kendall Hannah and her husband Josh, Hailey Hall, Dawson Hall, Maya Virzi, and Stella Virzi; his former wife, Carol Hall of Tallahassee, FL; and numerous nieces and nephews. Mr. Hall was preceded in death by his parents, Alton and Edna Hall; two brothers, Bob Hall and Jack Hall; and two sisters-in-law, Patricia Hall and Jancie Hall. An innovative and pioneering vegetable grower, Mr. Hall was a visionary and a mentor to many. He had a keen insight for agricultural best management practices and an unparalleled passion for agribusiness. At the height of his career he managed three farms with over 12,000 acres in production, spanning the state of Florida and part of Georgia to achieve his dream of a year-round growing season. He was recognized among the top 100 U.S. vegetable growers by American Vegetable Grower Magazine, and a recipient of many awards over the years. Among these are the 1999 Florida Commissioner of Agriculture’s Ag Environmental Leadership Award, as well as the 2014 Seminole County Farm Family of the Year. Mr. Hall was born in Cairo, GA, on March 24, 1937, to Alton Hall and Edna Sutton Hall. While attending Cairo High School, he excelled in the high school band playing trombone, where he discovered his love of opera and classical music. Many will remember him driving through farm fields with opera piping from his truck speakers. His career began at an early age working in the family farm operation and later partnering to run the family feed mill in Cairo, GA. After serving in the Army Reserves and attending Georgia State University, he explored other work opportunities including a stint with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms in Atlanta. Mr. Hall soon returned to South Georgia to farm, including an endeavor to rehabilitate dilapidated pecan orchards throughout SW Georgia. Joe’s expertise and innovation soon revitalized many nonproductive orchards and provided a springboard for his future as an agricultural leader. He also served on the Cairo City Council from 1969-1972. In 1972 Mr. Hall bought farmland in Jackson County, FL, which would become North American Farms. Sandy-soiled land that had been considered worthless became tremendously productive with his innovation in installing some of the first center-pivot irrigation systems. In those early days he grew squash, southern peas, and cucumbers as well as traditional row crops. He pioneered many of the Best Management Practices that are widely accepted as standard production methods today. Mr. Hall settled with his family in Donalsonville, GA and quickly became a pillar of the community. He was involved with the Donalsonville Chamber of Commerce, a member of the Donalsonville Lions Club for 43 years, and served on the Board of Directors of Merchants & Farmers Bank for 28 years, serving as Chairman and Vice-Chairman. He was a longtime member of the Seminole County Farm Bureau, serving as President in 1984 and again as acting president from 2013 until his passing. Always looking forward, Mr. Hall reached his goal to extend the production window through the acquisition of land in Suwannee County, FL in 1978. Suwannee Farms, at 5400-acres, was a center for sweet corn, potatoes, green beans, peanuts, and numerous other vegetable and row crops, sold and distributed along the eastern US all the way to Canada. In the early 1990’s he saw another opportunity to further expand his growing season, with winter production of potatoes, sweet corn, cabbage, and other vegetables for an almost 9-month window. This was accomplished with the purchase of 3500 acres in Okeechobee County, FL, which would become Eagle Island Farms. Mr. Hall felt the most successful farms were diversified and integrated with livestock production He built livestock finishing facilities at Suwannee Farms and North American Farms, and in 2009 he upgraded Suwannee Farms with a state of the art cattle facility, the first in the Southeast, which included an anaerobic digester to capture methane, converting it to electricity to be sold on the public grid while also utilizing the composted liquids and solids as organic fertilizer. Over the years, Mr. Hall promoted the benefits of cooperative, integrated marketing and processing facilities for commodities produced by himself and other local growers. With this mission for community success, he was a founding member of Clover Leaf Gin and Warehouse, serving as President of the warehouse for over 35 years. He also was on the steering committee and a founding member of American Peanut Growers Group. Additionally he served on the Board of Directors at AFG Feed since its inception for about 8 years. These cooperatives have served as models for producer-owned processing and marketing entities throughout the Southeast. Mr. Hall had almost a sixth sense to realize trends in agriculture before their time. He has touched the lives of many through his long and productive life. His humble, warm and open persona, coupled with homespun stories and a magnetic personality, gave him the ability to light up a room upon entry. He naturally commanded deep respect and admiration among all he encountered with his sincerity, general likability, generosity, and integrity. His passing leaves a void with fond memories and meaningful individual and community impacts. This will allow his legacy to live on.
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