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Bankruptcy judge Robert John Hall dies at 82

Robert John Hall, a retired federal bankruptcy judge

Robert John Hall, a retired federal bankruptcy judge with a passion for tango dancing and sailing, died on Aug. 21, 2013, in Asheville, N.C., from respiratory failure. He was 82. Newsday's obituary for Robert John Hall
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Robert John Hall, a retired federal bankruptcy judge with a passion for tango dancing and sailing, died on Aug. 21 in Asheville, N.C., from respiratory failure, according to his family. He was 82.

Hall had traveled to Argentina to follow his love of the dance, said his son, Michael Hall, 40, of Asheville.

"It was very refreshing to see someone his age who was still tango dancing," Michael Hall said. "He was very sociable, even after he retired."

Robert Hall, of Westbury, shared all of his interests with his children, including a love of classic literature and 1930s or '40s Hollywood films, Michael Hall said. "He liked to sail. He was into home repair. He enjoyed working with his hands," he said of his father.

After a career as a private attorney and bankruptcy judge, serving in the Eastern District's former site in Westbury, Hall worked as a counsel to the bankruptcy departments of law firms on Long Island, most recently with Westerman Ball Ederer Miller & Sharfstein in Uniondale.

"I don't have enough nice things to say about him," said John E. Westerman, managing partner at the firm. "It was a pleasure to be his work companion. He was very knowledgeable and just a nice man to work with."

Hall was born on Aug. 29, 1931, in Brooklyn. He received a law degree from St. John's University in 1955 and opened a private practice in Ridgewood, Queens, focusing on real estate, corporate, trusts and estates, matrimonial, criminal and commercial law.

In 1976, he was appointed as a federal bankruptcy judge for the Eastern District of New York, a position he kept until retiring in 1996.

Hall was elected as a state assemblyman for the 23rd District, representing Queens, in 1966. He served as campaign manager for Nelson Rockefeller's successful 1970 run for New York governor. According to Michael Hall, Rockefeller introduced his father as "the modest Bob Hall who rather stays in the background than out in the spotlight, taking credit for his good work."

Hall was a criminal defense attorney for the Legal Aid Society of New York in 1957 and 1958, and served as an assistant state attorney general, prosecuting stock fraud cases in the civil and criminal courts from 1958 to 1961.

He was a member of the Advisory Board of the St. John's University School of Law Master's in Bankruptcy Program, and a member of the American Bankruptcy Institute and the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges.

In addition to his son Michael Hall, he is survived by his wife, Marianne Hall of Hendersonville, N.C.; brother the Rev. Martin Hall of Levittown; daughter Monica Hall Olszewski of Asheville, N.C., and two grandchildren.

A memorial Mass is to be held Saturday at 11:45 a.m. at St. Brigid's Catholic Church in Westbury.

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