William Prestridge Hallman, Jr. (“Bill”), a beloved husband, devoted father, benevolent curmudgeon, respected lawyer, and incomparable friend, died from complications of cancer at home surrounded by family on Nov. 30, 2020.
He left with no regrets, having lived a life of love, friendship, travel, meaningful work, and generous service. His steadfast moral compass and excellent judgment were invaluable to many people and organizations in the Fort Worth community and beyond.
Bill was born Sept. 5, 1942, in Cleburne, Texas, the first child of Ida Ruth and William Hallman.
At age three, he contracted polio, which left one of his legs paralyzed but never limited his pursuit of interests. He played sandlot baseball, going to bat for himself and using a proxy to run the bases.
His love of the sport and encyclopedic knowledge of baseball trivia never waned. He remarked frequently that, but for his polio, he would have aspired to play baseball professionally. He thought he “could have been a contender.”
Through his youth and early teens, Bill had numerous experimental surgeries in hopes of preserving his ability to walk. The success of these procedures had a profound impact on his life and gave him a deep respect and reverence for doctors.
His family is grateful for the exceptional care provided by his physicians, including Drs. Alan Davenport, Justin Martin, John Burk, John Heymach, Thomas Dewar, John Durand, Carlos Bagley, Cory Collinge and Sanjay Oommen.
The wise counsel and close friendship of Dr. Jim Harper also has been invaluable to Bill and his family for many years.
From an early age, Bill was a voracious reader. The Cleburne library had a two-book limit that was quickly waived after the librarian took note of his insatiable appetite for reading.
The approximately 7,000 books in his ever-growing home library filled every wall, double-stacked on floor to ceiling shelves. He read fiction (especially mysteries), biographies, essays, humor and satire, volumes about history, philosophy, physics, politics, baseball, art, music, film, and many domestic and international daily newspapers.
His book collection was rivaled only by his vast and eclectic music library. A single playlist might include songs by a yodeling cowboy, a German army chorus, a bagpipe band, a symphony, and a ‘50s pop artist.
Bill received his bachelor’s degree from Baylor University, law degree from the University of Texas at Austin, and MBA from Stanford University. Bill’s time in Palo Alto coincided with the Vietnam War.
He witnessed student demonstrations and took a week away from school to visit and observe Haight-Ashbury during the Summer of Love. His years at Stanford fostered a lasting love for the beauty and climate of Northern California and inspired him to see more of the world.
Bill started his career as a tax accountant in Dallas before practicing law. He met his best friend, Mark L. Hart, Jr., when he moved to Fort Worth to open a satellite office of Vinson & Elkins LLP and provide additional legal services for clients of prominent trial lawyer Dee J. Kelly. Mark and his wife Adele introduced Bill to the love of his life, Nancy. They recently celebrated 42 years of marriage.
In 1979, Bill co-founded the law firm Kelly, Hart & Hallman LLP, which has grown to more than 150 lawyers with five offices throughout Texas and Louisiana. He enjoyed a long and fulfilling client relationship with the Bass family. Through his work, Bill and Nancy met many of their closest friends – Robert and Mary Ann Cotham, Greg and Pam Kent, Don and Joanie McNamara, Martin and Judy Bowen, Dick Gushman, Sid Bass, and Clive Bode. They formed enduring bonds through spirited dinner parties, travel, epic road trips, and their Dull Person’s New Year’s Eve celebrations.
Bill gave generously of his time and resources to many non-profit organizations. A patron of the arts, he devoted decades of service to the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra and the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. He also served on the board of Fort Worth Country Day.
During retirement, Bill enjoyed playing cribbage with the Arlington Heights Cribbage Club and lunches out with his regular group. His Saturday cribbage group played weekly until just before his passing.
Bill faced his stage IV lung cancer diagnosis with courage and dignity. Thanks to excellent care and medical innovations from MD Anderson, he was able to enjoy his final years without compromising his quality of life. Bill and his family were very grateful for this time together.
Bill is survived by his wife, Nancy Law Hallman; daughter, Lee Hallman; son, Will Hallman; daughter, Mary Hallman Smith and husband Dwayne; grandchildren, Austin, Emily and Henry Smith; brother, Jim Hallman and wife Kathy; and sister, Ruth Hallman Scogin and husband Robert; sister-in-law Ann Harwood Niemiec; and many nieces, nephews, and extended family. In lieu of customary remembrances, contributions in Bill’s memory may be directed to MD Anderson or to the charity of one’s choice PD