John Hall, a longtime yearling manager at Taylor Made Farm, died May 22 surrounded by his family at his home in Delaware after a long struggle with cancer. He was 79.
Hall was a lifetime horseman, beginning his career beside his father, Norman Hall, at their farm and training facility in Norfolk, Mass. He often traveled with his father to horse shows and foxhunts before switching over to Thoroughbred racehorses.
Norman Hall was a frequent judge of the National Horse Show at Madison Square Garden, a Thoroughbred breeder and trainer, and huntsman for the Norfolk Hunt Club. The Norman Hall Stakes at Suffolk Downs was run annually in East Boston. Hall’s brother, Pete Hall, DVM, was an equine veterinarian at Monmouth Park and his sister, Carol Culp, worked in numerous aspects of the industry. Another sister of his, Holly Hall, continues to operate a boarding facility at the original farm, and his daughter, Aimee Hall, trains Thoroughbreds in the Maryland and Delaware regions.
Hall moved to Kentucky 25 years ago to begin a career with Taylor Made Farm, where he became the yearling manager until his semi-retirement three years ago. During that time he helped raise 2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah .
“John Hall was a great, great horseman but he was an even better person,” said Taylor Made’s Frank Taylor. “Everyone he ever had contact with he had a positive influence on and he was a blessing to everyone that was around him. He was just a special person that put everybody else in front of himself and was selfless and a great mentor to everybody at Taylor Made. He was definitely part of the family. He wasn’t an employee; he was part of the family. I’ve never heard one person ever say one bad thing about John Hall. Everybody he touched he had a positive impact on.”
(L-R): Frank Taylor, John Hall, Katie Taylor, and Joe Taylor at the 2019 Keeneland January Sale
Hall loved his work and often remarked that he “never worked a day in his life.” Hall earned the respect of his peers and was selected as a finalist for the Godolphin Thoroughbred Industry Employee Awards in 2016 and 2018.
“That’s what I enjoyed the most about being in Kentucky, was the horse comes first,” Hall said in a 2018 TIEA finalist video produced by Godolphin. “No matter what else is going on, that’s the most important thing in your life, and it’s what I enjoy.”
After moving to Delaware, Hall continued to work in the Thoroughbred industry, evaluating horses at different farms including Shell Evans’ Courtland Farm and assisting in the selection of horses for the Bloodstock Investments group.
Hall was devoted to God, his family, and horses. His faith and principles guided him through work and how he treated others. He had a charismatic charm and never missed an opportunity to make someone feel valued and important. He could always be counted on to be honest and fair.
He is survived by his loving wife Devi Hall; his sister Holly Hall; his children Joseph, Aimee, and Julie and their mother Mary; grandchildren Jocelyn, Joshua, Jaimee, Joseph, and Harry; and great grandchildren Jaxson and Lane.
A Mass will be held at St. Jude’s, 86 Main St., Norfolk, MA 02056 June 12 at 10 a.m. ET followed by a celebration of life. A celebration of life will also be held at Fasig-Tipton in Lexington July 10 at 5 p.m. ET.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Bethany House Ministries at 1049 Main St., Millis, MA 02054, the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance at 821 Corporate Dr., Lexington, KY 40503, or St. Luke’s Catholic Church at 304 S. Main St., Nicholasville, KY 40356.