Winning Recipe Opens Possibility Of Future Cookbook



Barbara Hall has been told she was going to die at least three different times in her life. First in 1966 when her doctor in St. Louis told her she would die if she did not move to a drier climate.

That is what brought her to Arizona.


Barbara Hall

And since she has been here, she has been told at least two more times to start getting her affairs in order because she had only three to six months to live.

Hall as only one functioning lung and a heart damaged by childhood rheumatic fever.

"I didn't know about either of those things until I was living out here," she said. "I just always thought I was a weakling. I loved to do all kinds of things, but would always get winded."

The bad medical news never really phased her and she attributes that to her faith.

As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Hall received a "patriarchal blessing" in which she was told she would see old age if she lived properly.

"I believe I have lived properly, and so I have outlived my doctors' warnings," she said. With the knowledge of the patriarchal blessing, Hall also kept looking for answers and ways to live with her health problems.

And she has never let those health problems slow her down. She and her husband of 47 years, Bob, have nine children and 26 grandchildren, one great-grandchild and another one on the way. Before moving to Pine, they had a little farm in the Valley and were very self-sufficient. And, naturally, Hall did a lot of cooking.

Once her children were older and before she had to go to work, she began putting together a cookbook using whole grains.

"We grind our own whole wheat and make everything from scratch," she said.

Then her husband was laid off and she had to find a job that included medical benefits.

When her children started marrying, they asked her to make their wedding cakes. She saw an advertisement from Wal-Mart for a cake decorator. She applied, taking a book of photos of the wedding cakes she had made over the years.

Winning a place in the latest edition of the Wal-Mart "Family Cookbook" has encouraged her to start thinking about starting on her own cookbook again. But, she will have to work it into her other obligations.

Not only does she work at Wal-Mart as a cake decorator, she serves the communities of Pine and Strawberry on the PSWID, receiving the most votes among the nine candidates who ran for seats on the board in 2004.

She was also president of the Pine-Strawberry Arts and Crafts Guild for four years and she has been asked to start teaching ceramic classes. Hall had a ceramic store in Mesa, called B&J Ceramics, and taught at least a couple of classes every day.

Hall also teaches the adult Sunday school class for the Pine LDS church and makes hats for the church's humanitarian services program.

Hall may have been told she was going to die at least three times in the past, but her faith told her differently and with all she does, death will have a hard time catching her.


Hometown: St. Louis, Mo.

Age: 64

Occupation: Cake decorator with Wal-Mart

When did you move to Payson and what brought you here? Came to Pine in 1998 for health.

What's the biggest risk you've taken recently? As chairman of the Pine-Strawberry Water Improvement District, showing up our October meeting with about 80 people attending.

What's the best piece of advice you've ever been given? The advice from a doctor to move West for a drier climate.

Three things you want people to know about you: I'm compassionate; I love learning; and I'm a good grandmother -- I know all the names and birthdays of my 26 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? A nurse. I think that was the compassion in me, wanting to do something for someone else.

Favorite book: Autobiographies

Favorite song: "Amazing Grace"

Favorite food: Desserts

Favorite sport to watch: Baseball (especially when played by the World Champion St. Louis Cardinals)

Favorite vacation spot: Hawaii

Favorite recreational activity: Ceramics. I'm a certified ceramics teacher.

Favorite movie: Anything with John Wayne

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