Fred Arvid Hall spent much of the last century rooted to the wilderness of northern Minnesota where he grew up.
His family described the 100-year-old logger and construction worker as a kind man who was patient and considerate, almost to a fault, and who actively worked and helped people up until his last years. He died on Thanksgiving.
"I couldn't say no to a good cause and could usually see a way to help, so that is why I got involved," Hall wrote in his autobiography. "I was always serious about getting things straightened out."
In 1915, Hall was born on his family's farm in Bassett Township in the Brimson area, about an hour north of Duluth. The area attracted many immigrants from Finland, including his parents who purchased the 160-acre property sight unseen, Hall's daughter, Evelyn Thompson, said in an interview.
Hall grew up the youngest of three children. His father died when Hall was a child. After his mother remarried, Hall's stepfather, who was a logger, had Hall and his older brother work with him in the woods.
"Each year beginning in 1934, [my stepfather] began to give me more and more responsibility of running the logging camps," Hall wrote in his book, "My Early Years in Brimson, Minnesota, 1915-1950." He added later: "Many of the crew thought I was crazy to take on all these jobs which usually four men would do."
The early years spent logging left an impression on Hall. He worked with his stepfather for 10 years before the Rhinelander Paper Company gave him $250,000 to start a logging camp in Canada. At one point, Hall had 100 people working for him.
In 1942, he moved back to Minnesota and started his own logging company. He hired many single men and friends and family, Thompson said.
"The woods were his spiritual side, being in nature," Thompson said.
His son, Ron Hall, still remembers when he traveled with his family from logging camp to logging camp as a young child. He later helped haul wood.
"He logged all his life," Ron said about his father.
Hall's list of job titles was not limited to logger. Hall also was a dirt contractor and worked on the construction of the Reserve Mining Railroad and Mile Post 7, as well as less glamorous roles like that of the grave digger for the local cemetery. Hall would continue to do construction jobs "charging 1940s prices" well into his 90s, his family said.
"He was very community-minded," his son said. "He helped wherever he could and did a lot of work for people for cheap."
During his lifetime, Fred Hall was Bassett Township supervisor for 36 years and a U.S. Forest Service fire warden for 65 years. He also served on the board of directors of different organizations such as the Brimson Co-op and the United Power Association.
Hall enjoyed being outdoors and liked to fish, hunt, make maple syrup and cut firewood for his sauna, his daughter said.
His son-in-law, Michael Unger, used to help Hall make syrup, and the pair would often talk while boiling sap.
"He had just so many stories," Unger said.
Hall is survived by son Ron, (Carla Kimball) Hall; daughter Evelyn (David) Thompson; stepdaughter, Kathy (Michael) Unger; and other family.
Services will be held 11 a.m. Dec. 19 at Bassett Town Hall.