– FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – What happened inside the New Haven Don Hall’s Saturday is something Jeff Hall described as traumatic. “I mean it was sort of peaceful and serene in a very tragic way. But something you never forget.”
His 68-year-old brother Sam collapsed. He unexpectedly died while making breakfast. Jeff said Sam started cooking in New Haven after his wife Dede passed away several years ago. “I said why? He said I’ve got to see if I still got it. Boy did he ever.”
Jeff said it’s that type of determination and dedication that epitomizes the Hall family legacy. Sam was the second oldest of the four brothers now running the 13 locations. Their father started Don Halls in 1946 with a drive-in. Jeff said he made it happen with almost nothing. Sam also never gave up. “He just ran until he ran out. He literally died with a spatula in his hand.”
We talked about decisions made throughout the years including one topic Jeff says still comes up today. The 1999 smoking ban. Councilman John Crawford was behind it. Sam fought him on it. “A lot of respect for him as a person. We just disagreed on one idea once,” Crawford said. “We were tremendously long on principle and perhaps a little short on common sense, you know, you can’t fight city hall,” Hall sid.
Jeff said Sam was a father, leader, brother, teacher and coach. Even more, he said he can only aspire to be as good as his older brother and his legacy is family and then business. “You work hard, treat people right, take care of your employees a take care of your patrons and the rest will fall in line. We all have gas left in our tank and unfortunately Sam’s tank ran empty much too soon.”