‘Iconic’ business leader Brent Hall dies
Longtime Kalispell businessman and community leader Brent Hall of Lakeside died Friday morning at Kalispell Regional Healthcare. He was 76.
Hall’s career in the building industry spanned more than four decades in Kalispell, but he was equally well-known for his philanthropy and his involvement in local sports programs through the years.
Hall started Tri-City Lumber in 1976 with John Hammett and a third business partner, Cecil Noble, whom Hall and Hammett bought out in 1981. Hammett also owned a wholesale lumber business he operated alongside Tri-City.
In 1999 Tri-City Lumber was sold to Anderson Lumber Co., a longtime Salt Lake City firm. Hall stayed on as general manager, retaining local employees. He did the same when Stock Lumber bought out Anderson Lumber.
When Stock Lumber was pegged to close its Kalispell store, Hall struck a deal with ProBuild to reopen the local business, and once again retained all local employees. Hall has been general manager of ProBuild in Kalispell since that affiliation, managing and overseeing activities of the entire operation.
Hall and Hammett continued their business partnership until last year, when ProBuild bought all of their lumber-yard properties, according to Hammett.
“We kind of hit the market just right and had a great relationship going,” Hammett recalled about their years in business together. “We hired a lot of good people, some of whom are still there.”
Kalispell attorney Randy Ogle called Hall an “iconic” businessman.
“He was also a very generous philanthropic contributor to the community,” Ogle said. “He will be greatly missed.”
Hall was named Businessman of the Year by the Kalispell Chamber of Commerce in 2010.
“Brent has always encouraged his employees to make your customers your friends, and to be actively involved with the community,” a ProBuild employee wrote in the nomination form.
“Brent has never looked for recognition for his service, activities and successes,” the nomination letter stated. “He does it because that’s who he is. He loves his community and is dedicated to his employees.”
Hammett called his longtime business associate “a very personable guy.
“He helped a lot of people and a lot of people helped him,” Hammett said. “If he saw a need or an opportunity he’d say ‘you gotta go for it.’”
Longtime friend Bob Nystuen said Hall was a devoted family man who was “larger than life.”
“He’ll absolutely be missed by his employees, friends, MSU Bobcat buddies and his family,” Nystuen said.
Nystuen’s son Andy added, “Brent’s compassion and heart was one of God’s true masterpieces.”
Hall was an avid Montana State University Bobcats fan who brought a strong sports background with him to MSU. After winning the first place spot in his weight division at Great Falls High School in 1958, Hall attended Montana State on a wrestling scholarship and went undefeated in the sport for two years. He was the Rocky Mountain AAU champion in 1962 and had his best year as a senior when he scored 17 consecutive pins.
Hall was voted Most Valuable Wrestler by his teammates at MSU in 1962 and was team captain of the Bobcats his senior year, according to Daily Inter Lake archives.
He earned a Bachelor of Applied Science degree in English, science and physical education in 1962.
Hall completed his graduate studies in health and recreational management at Eastern Michigan University, where he was the freshman football line coach and officiated in the Michigan high school wrestling program.
A U.S. Air Force veteran, Hall coached the base track and football teams while stationed in Crete, Greece. He later coached high-school wrestling while working as an English teacher in Helena for two years.
Hall was the coach of the wrestling program at Flathead Valley Community College when it launched in 1970. He also founded the Kalispell Wrestling Club and ran it for 18 years.
His community service was as wide and deep as his love of sports. Hall was active in the Kalispell Chamber, serving as board chairman in the late 1970s. He served on the Kalispell school board and also was a board member of FVCC, Flathead Electric Cooperative and Kalispell Regional Medical Center. Hall also was active in Boy Scouts.
Hall is survived by his wife Barbara, three children and their families. A full obituary will be forthcoming.
Features editor Lynnette Hintze may be reached at 758-4421 or by email at email@example.com.