Dr. Timothy Hall

Dr. Timothy C. Hall, Senior Distinguished Professor of Biology and Director of the Institute for Developmental and Molecular Biology at Texas A&M University, passed away on Tuesday, February 23, 2016 at the age of 78. His life will be celebrated and honored at 10 a.m. April, 2, 2016, at the Biomedical Science Building East (BSBE) Room 115, on the campus of Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. Services are in the care of Callaway-Jones Funeral Home and Crematory.

Tim was born in Darlington, England, and he spent much of his youth traipsing across the Yorkshire Dales exploring the local flora and fauna. He often attended evening lectures organized by the Royal Society, taking in the trailblazing insights of Sir Lawrence Bragg, Francis Crick, Jim Watson and other luminaries that encouraged and expanded his scientific interests. After high school Tim flew fighter jets for the Royal Air Force for a few years in England and Canada. His meritorious service and skill was rewarded with the Sword of Honour for being the top pilot in his class. Following his service in the RAF, Tim enrolled in the University of Nottingham, where he earned his B.Sc. degree in botany (first class, with honors) in 1962 and his Ph.D. in plant physiology in 1965. He then moved to the United States, and after a one-year postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Minnesota-St. Paul, he accepted a faculty position at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. During his 16 years in the Department of Horticulture at Madison, Tim became one of the founders of the field of plant molecular biology.

Texas A&M University hired Tim away from Wisconsin in 1984 to become head of the biology department. Tim’s move to Texas was noticed throughout his field, and his arrival gave the Department of Biology and the entire campus instant credibility in molecular biology and biotechnology. His Herculean efforts to improve the life science research enterprise created benefits across the campus.

After stepping down as department head in 1992, Tim devoted much of his time to research, earning the prestigious JoAnn Treat Award for Research in 2010. He also enjoyed sharing his passion for plants by teaching BIOL 101: Introductory Botany to 150 students each fall. Although Tim earned many national and international accolades during his career, he considered his 2004 Professor-of-the-Semester Award from the Chi Omega Sorority one of his most treasured honors.

Tim was an integral part of the Department of Biology at Texas A&M University for over 31 years, and although he built an amazing scientific, educational, and administrative legacy that will last through the ages, he will be missed as a wonderful colleague, mentor and friend.

Tim was preceded in death by his first wife, Sandra. Tim is survived by his three children, Anna Hall Owen (’89), of Canon City, Co., Liza Bryony Boone and her husband Roger, of San Marcos, and Peter Hall (‘93) and his wife Beth, of Haslet; five grandchildren, Michael Hall Owen, twins Lance Boone (’16) and Colin Boone (’16), Madeline Hall, and Miles Hall; and seven great-grandchildren, Gabriel, Lauren, Trystyn, Gryffyn, Destyn, Victoria, and Raeleigh; and his wife Sunee.

The Hall family would like to thank the physicians, nurses, and staff of St. Joseph’s Critical Care Unit for making Tim’s last few days peaceful.

Dr. Timothy Hall’s remarkable life will be celebrated on Saturday, April 2 at 10:00 am in Biological Sciences Building East (BSBE) room 115. Texas A&M University.

Directions to University Campus Garage from Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport
Directions to University Campus Garage from Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport
Directions to University Campus Garage from Austin-Bergstrom International Airport

In lieu of flowers or other offerings, his family has requested that donations be made to the Timothy Hall Memorial Fund, which will benefit the Department of Biology that he loved so much, in care of the Texas A&M Foundation, 401 George Bush Drive, College Station, Texas 77840-2811. Cards, letters and other written forms of condolences may be addressed to the Timothy C. Hall Family in care of the Department of Biology, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas 77843-3258.

For more information contact 

Callawy-Jones Funeral & Cremation Centers

3001 S College Avenue
Bryan, TX 77801
United States (US)
Phone: (979) 822-3717
Email: cjones@callawayjones.com


  1. Dear Anna, Lisa, Peter, Roger, Lance and Colin:

    My deepest condolences!

    I will cherish all that Dr. Tim Hall did for me, both professionally and personally. He was a remarkable scientist, a superb mentor and most importantly, an amazing human being!

    It was my privilege and honor to have known and worked with him. I will miss him very dearly!


  2. Dear Sunee, Anna, Peter and Family

    I am so sorry to hear Tim passed away. My deepest sympathies are with you in this difficult time. Please know that everyone is in our prayers.

    Tim was an amazing mentor and person to work for. His scientific curiosity and rigor pushed everyone one in his lab to achieve their best. To this day, I’m forever grateful he took this risk to hire a dumb postdoc (me) coming from a medical school who had absolutely no idea what a plant was besides a green thing in a pot. I can’t imagine where I would be today without him giving me the chance to learn plant biotechnology in his lab. He was kind and always willing to give you a helping hand. I will always have fond memories of all the Friday afternoon cookout and swim parties he hosted for the lab and Department, He always made sure everyone in his lab and staff knew they were appreciated and I’m truly going to miss him.

    With my deepest and heartfelt condolences.

    Rick and Lanette DeRose

  3. Dear Dr. Hall:

    We were talking of a Hallslab reunion this year, but didnt imagine it would be this way. I miss you for the so many things you taught me. I still have the first draft of my thesis proposal painted in green with your comments, and can never forget your pet peeve; split infinitives. I cannot forget the many nights you would sit out with us writing grants and papers. I fondly remember how we sat together every week for 6 months to investigate PTGS/RNAi, then a whole new area science, and wrote an influential review on it. Most of all, I enjoyed the personal attention we enjoyed in the lab and the wonderful time we had at your place with the family on christmas, thanksgiving and all the other holidays (after the parties, we would duly return for a night session of writing or discussion). I will definitely miss your birthday calls and scientific discussions, the last of which in December, was on an intricate aspect of the enzymology of the CRISPR system, I should have prepared better for your questions. I will always miss your piercing questions.

    Sunee, Peter, Ana and Liza, Roger, Lance and Colin: we join you in mourning this great loss. Will miss him.

  4. Dear Family members of Dr Hall
    I am highly pained to learn about the sudden demise of Dr Hall. My last interaction with him was on 29th January’16 where we exchanged mails for any possible scientific collaboration in future. He was indeed a great scientist, a wonderful mentor and a splendid human being. I spent two years with him (Nov.’97-Nov.’99) as a Rockefeller Foundation post-doctoral fellow. I still cherish the memories of that time. His death is a great loss to the scientific fraternity. I pray to Almighty to give enough strength to you all to bear this loss. May God give peace to the departed soul!
    With deep sorrow and heartfelt condolences
    Pushpa Kharb

  5. Dear Peter, Liza, Anna and Sunee:
    My heartfelt condolences! I joined Tim’s lab in 1986 with little experience in molecular biology. I owe a lot to Tim for molding my career to become a successful molecular virologist. More importantly, he always showered fatherly affection on all his students and their family members. I always remember Friday evening meetings in Chichen Oil Company. Whenever he returned from England, he always brought lots of chocolates and distributed to all his lab members. These are unforgettable memories that I always cherish. I am going to miss him very dearly! Once again, my heartfelt condolences!

  6. Dear Friends, Colleagues, and Love Ones of Tim Hall,

    Tim was my PhD advisor at the University of Wisconsin. He instilled in me my passion for molecular biology and a way of thinking about viruses and how to do science that has led to many exciting discoveries and to my success as a scientist. Tim was driven and truly inspiring, and a lot of fun. He was pretty much like a second father to me, for personal and professional advice and as a role model. He sent me out into the world of science well prepared. We miss you already Tim!

  7. Dear Hall Family,
    I am very sad to learn of the sudden passing of Dr. Hall and at the same time feel relieved to know that he left peacefully thanks to the physicians and nurses. Dr. Hall was an amazing person with a very kind and generous heart. We have vivid memory of many wonderful moments in the years both in the lab and outside the lab. He had high expectations and deeply cared about preparing his students for their career and life. Among many other aspects, I benefited greatly from days and nights of working together on manuscripts in his office. In retrospect, it is amazing to think how hard on him to work with a non-native speaker/writer of English on my first paper. But his own persistence and diligence set a wonderful example for his students. I was in touch with him mid January this year and was just about to update my recent move with him. Hope everyone stays strong and healthy at this sorrow moment.
    With deepest condolences,
    Guojun and family

  8. Dear Hall Family

    The sad news of passing away of Prof. Timothy Hall was a sudden shock to me and my family. He was my mentor during 1988-89 and in 1992 when I was a visiting scientist in his lab at Biology Department of Texas A&M University. He was the one who taught me to look at a biological problem with scientific objectivity and approach. He exposed me to a gathering of renowned scientists during me stay in College Station and gave ample opportunities to interact with many visitors. Apart from his professional advisory role in my scientific life, his personal attention to me being alone in USA was an emotional support. Tim and Sandra were the strong pillars of assurance to me while in USA. We continued to interact and meet with each other during his visit to India and during scientific meetings organized by the Rockefeller Foundation. I was very fortunate to have him in both the roles, a professional and fatherly mentor. I shall always cherish memories of our associations.

    I wish to convey my condolences to his family members.

    I pray to God for his peaceful journey abode!

  9. I had the privilege of being Dr. Hall’s “computer dude” from 2001 to 2006. He always treated me with respect and patience, and I will always appreciate the opportunity he gave me. The thing that impressed me most about him was that he cared about the people in his lab as much as his research. He treated us like an extended family. I will miss him… and his steak sandwiches.

    – Charlie

  10. Dear Dr. Hall,

    We just exchanged e-mails on February 12th and you told me that you were planning a reunion of the Hall Research Family. I so much wanted to stand in front of you and share what I had learned from you. It’s just so unfair.
    Whatever I am today is because of you and I cherish every single moment I spent with you especially when we sat together to write and edit those wonderful papers. I recall with fondness the anecdotes you shared that shaped my passion to greater heights. When I was picking up those pebbles on the seashore of biology, you led me hand in hand through the waves, the great surfer you were in that ocean of knowledge.
    I will certainly miss you, and I pray for your wonderful family who richly will pass your legacy to future,



  11. Dr. Hall was definitely one of the most influential people in my life. I had the privilege of working for him as an Administrative Assistant from 1999 to 2004. The experience I gained working for him and lessons I learned from Dr. Hall have been invaluable to me. I could go on and on but instead I would like to share a small funny memory of him with you. I was preparing for the arrival of visiting scientists coming to conduct a grant review meetings and I was searching for the coffee service items that we would need for the all-day meetings. I was pulling out a coffee carafe from one of the cabinets in the front lobby and I found a Cadbury chocolate tin that looked new. I got a little excited thinking that maybe this was some of Dr. Hall’s beloved tins of Cadbury chocolates that he brings back from England that he had stashed away and forgot about. I pulled the tin out and realized by the weight that it was probably empty. I opened it anyway still wishing that maybe one small piece might be left in there. Well I wasn’t rewarded with a piece of chocolate but I got something much better. Inside on the bottom of the tin there was a small yellow post-it note where he had written “foiled again!” I sat down and smiled and laughed for a few good minutes appreciating his witty little joke and then I put the tin back in the cabinet for the next unsuspecting person to come along with a sweet tooth. I know it’s a small moment in time and not that big of a deal but to me it’s a sweet small example of his wry and witty humor that always makes me smile. I have thought of and missed Dr. Hall and the Hall’s lab group over the years because all the memories I have of them are fond and in a way they have been the best “work family” I have ever had. I think I am going to go home now and grill up a steak sandwich and drink a beer in Dr. Hall’s honor and toast him with “Here’s to you Dr. Timothy Hall for living such a good life and gracing us with your wit and intelligence and leaving us all a bit smarter.” I hope I have shared a smile with you and eased your heart for a moment at least.

    • Allison, that’s a great story. Thanks for sharing!!
      From your predecessor (formerly Martha Bruxvoort)

  12. Dear Sunee, Anna, Liza, Peter,
    My deepest sympathy and condolences go to you and all the family at your sad loss. Tim was an astonishing man. He was a world leader in two fields of biology, something that very, very few people achieve. His publications in the top scientific journals, his honours and awards, his grants, and his invitations to give prestigious lectures all speak for themselves; he was, quite simply, an exceptional scientist.
    Tim had a huge impact on my life, both scientifically and as a friend. I first met him in 1978, when he poked his head into my office in Norwich, England, and challenged me to a game of squash, an activity that we continued in various parts of the USA and England over the next two decades. We resolved to get a NATO grant for us to visit each other’s labs., as a result of which I first visited Tim’s lab in Madison in 1981. Within a week, Tim was driving me to a prestigious plant molecular biology meeting held in Minneapolis-St.Paul, where he introduced me to a number of key US scientists, people whom I never would have got to know without Tim’s help. Tim paid for my entire visit, including the registration, the hotel and the meals; he was an extraordinarily generous man. When we got back, he encouraged and helped me to put forward a grant proposal and the resultant grant was used to support Dr. Claire Domoney; Claire is now an award-winning scientist, making seminal contributions to the genetics and biochemistry of plant proteins.
    Over the next two or three years Claire and I spent several weeks working in Tim’s lab.; we were afforded all the excellent facilities and got a lot done, but the moment that sticks in my mind is one of the first evenings we were there. Tim took us to some sort of amusement arcade and gave us some pocket money to play him at Space Invaders – given Tim’s training as an RAF fighter pilot, it wasn’t exactly a fair contest.
    Our relationship continued after Tim moved to College Station, with Tim again making available all his lab’s facilities and know-how, and being the perfect host. On one visit I stayed with him and Sandy at Rose Circle and Tim took me, and Mauricio Bustos, to a plant molecular biology meeting at Keystone, Colarado. He drove us there, going over the continental divide and, once again, paid for my registration and accommodation; he was just an enormously generous man.
    Despite Tim’s excellence as a scientist, my memories will always be of the man who looked after me and made me part of the family. I’ll remember dinner in Madison, when grandson Michael decorated my bald head with green beans from his dinner plate; eating a huge ice cream with Tim and Roger Beachy; watching the Aggies at football; eating deathburgers at the Chicken Oil; watching Tim’s spaniel follow him down the slide into the swimming pool; visiting Anna in San Antonio and having Tim give me a guided tour of the Alamo; visiting Liza, eating prawns with cheese and pasta that Sandy had cooked, and touring a battleship with Tim, Lance and Colin. So many good memories of a kind and caring man.
    Over the years, many people have helped shape my career, including directors of research institutes and professors at Cambridge University, but none has had as much impact as Tim; he facilitated my research for many years, and was the most generous man I’ve known. He was a star who brought light to so many lives and I’m proud to have been his friend. RIP Tim.
    Rod Casey

  13. Dear Dr. Hall,
    I still could not believe that you have left us, and imaged you came back to the lab, to the office, and stand in front of me. We miss you so badly.
    I got to know you when I was researcher fellow of IAEA (The International Atomic Energy Agency) at Ohio State University during 1998. I was not able to take a position in your lab, because my Visa limitation at that time. You have save the position offer for me and brought me to here on August 15, 2000. I have worked in the lab as the research assistant, studied as the Ph. D student, and came back worked in the lab since then. Over the 15 years, you are very important to me professionally and personally. You are my boss, my mentor, my friend, and family. During my time of Ph. D study, I would have given up so many times if weren’t for your encouragement, help, and support, that I can hear you say “you can do it, you are very good. I will help you.” I can’t not image where I am today without you.
    You are in our daily life. I loved talking with you during the lab meeting, during lunch break, and eat lunch together. I have not had a chance to invite you to my new home and have a dinner with us. You left us so suddenly. I appreciate you and thank you for everything you have done for me.

    Dear Sunee, Peter, Liza, Anna
    My deepest sympathy and condolences go to you and your family’s loss.

    Xiangyu and family

  14. My deepest condolences. I remember meeting Tim in the family home at Madison in 1978. Ironically, us kids were “experimenting” with plants when he came down the basement steps to attend to his beloved train room. I hold the fondest loving memories for you all and your families.

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