Last month Rim Country bid a wintery farewell to beloved local radio personality and longtime community supporter, the one and only “Cowboy” Carl Hall. He is one of many who left us this season.
In the last six years, Hall spent thousands of hours working for local country music station KMOG 1420AM as news director, sportscaster and host of the Rim Country Forum. He is fondly known by many for his Sunday morning “Country Classics” show, where he resurrected the spirits — and music — of days gone by with a gentle enthusiasm and graceful wit.
A memorial service for Cowboy Carl is scheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday, March 23 at the Prescott National Cemetery. At this time, the Payson Pro Rodeo Committee is also organizing a gathering in his honor, if you would like event or donation information you can contact Bill Armstrong at (928) 474-9440.
Cowboy Carl was born Dec. 26, 1935 in Middletown, N.Y.; he was raised in Hackettstown, N.J. After high school, Carl enlisted with the Marine Corps, where he served as a machine gunner until he was trained in radio and television. Upon his return to civilian life, Carl spent another two decades working for several radio stations throughout Nashville, Montana, North Carolina, Florida and New Jersey. During this time, he also met and married the love of his life, Cathy; they had seven children.
After retiring from radio for the first time, Carl spent a decade driving a truck with Mid Atlantic Express; once their children were grown, he and Cathy hit the open road and traveled the U.S. in an RV. During a 2002 trip to visit Cathy’s sister in Overgaard, Carl and his wife were evacuated to Payson due to smoke and danger from the Rodeo-Chediski Fire. After spending a few days in the area, the couple decided to make Rim Country their home. Cathy introduced Carl to KMOG general manager Blaine Kimball, and Cowboy Carl joined the KMOG family shortly thereafter.
Those who knew Carl understood his compassionate nature to be the driving force behind his colorful character. Along with countless hours and dollars invested in the Payson Pro Rodeo Committee, he donated musical instruments to underprivileged local children and used his radio influence as a platform to educate the public regarding important issues and charity events. One event in particular is the annual “Up, Up and Away With Domestic Violence Radio-thon,” which raises money for the Time Out Shelter, Rim Country Arizonans for Children and Payson Community Kids.
Beyond their work in the community, the Halls also lived and worked on a small piece of acreage on the outskirts of Star Valley, caring for the elderly owners and their two horses. Two years ago, Carl invested in a handful of baby chicks, which grew into his own personal entourage. As they matured, he fed the KMOG family their fresh eggs along with an assortment of vegetables grown in his garden.
Roughly one year ago, Carl visited a physician regarding a persistent cough and discovered he had lung cancer. Despite earnest efforts to eradicate the disease, Carl slowly deteriorated. He and Cathy moved to Prescott to be closer to the Veterans Hospital, where he received his treatments. On Feb. 9, 2013, Carl, 77, took his last breath, flanked by his loving family.
The author had an opportunity to visit with Cowboy Carl a few days before he passed (in his final days he was transferred to the Respite Unit at the Veterans Hospital in Phoenix). You may find satisfaction in knowing that Carl was clean, comfortable and serene. He made several points to mention that the Phoenix Veterans Hospital staff was going above and beyond the call of duty to maintain his state of pain-free comfort.
His body was withered, but his eyes shone with a peace of mind that we should all hope to have when it’s our time to go.
He will be greatly missed.