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Juneau-Douglas City Museum


Hall, Frank & Vona (Damron)

by Vona Hall
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Frank Monroe (Boe) Hall was born November 12, 1920, in South Bend, Washington, moved to Tacoma as a child, and finished high school there.

He studied radio in high school and went on into a radio class in Seattle, where he met Dr. Ernest Patty, who was looking for a summer radio operator for his mining claim in the Coal Creek Valley. After the summer working for Dr. Patty, he worked as a radio operator for Alaska Steam, and covered much of the coast of Alaska.

When WWII intervened, he joined the marines and studied military communications for a year, then served through three Pacific Island invasions as a Tech Sgt. After the war, he returned to Tacoma and was working as a radio dispatcher when he met Vona.

Vona Loris (Damron) Hall was born 1922, in Mossyrock, Wash., and finished high school there. She moved to Portland, Oregon, for business school and studied accounting. She worked in Portland for three years and during the war helped her father establish a hardware and building supply store in her home town. While there she became friends with the music teacher who was dating a returned veteran in Tacoma. During their wedding plans, with Vona as bridesmaid and Boe one of the ushers, more developed than just one wedding.

Vona and Boe were married June 23, 1946, in Mossyrock. By the end of that year, Boe had accepted a CAA job installing communications for the naval base at Point Barrow. They had no accommodations for wives so Vona waited in Mossyrock until Boe came to take her to his next CAA assignment: Unalakleet. After just a few weeks there, Boe was asked to transfer to Gambell, on St. Lawrence Island, to cover the emergency departure of the resident manager. This was in the spring of 1947.

Due to Vonaís pregnancy, the Nome doctor wanted her off the island before freezeup. She returned to Mossyrock and had their daughter Susan in December of that year. Boe resigned and left the island as soon as a replacement could be sent there, and joined the National Park Service as communications foreman. The birth of daughter Judith coincided with the move to Mt. Rainier. Sons Glenn and Jeffrey followed in due course and when Jeff was only weeks old, Boe had an opportunity to return to Alaska with the ACS in Ketchikan. As soon as housing was secured the family followed.

In Ketchikan, Boe was installing new communications equipment. When this was completed, he was asked to transfer to Juneau to do the same thing. We all moved to Juneau aboard the SS Baranof in May of 1953, and lived on Starr Hill through the births of two more sons, Mallie and Matthew.

This was just in time to start Susan in kindergarten and all six children graduated from JDHS. And now three grandchildren have done the same: Travis and Hilarie Jones and Kendra Freeman.

Boe worked for the ACS through its change from Signal Corp to Air Force, then the sale of the system to RCA. He retired once to spend more time at the mine but was called back by RCA to supervise the installation of the communications network for the pipeline from Delta to Barrow. He retired again.

Vona was a stay at home mom until 1960, when she worked for three years as an accountant for the State Department of Education, then transferred to Public Safety until her retirement as Fiscal Officer in 1976.

During the 60ís Boe took the family up to the Coal Creek Valley on vacation to show them where he had
worked, and the tiny creek he had filed on. We all fell in love with the area and the next year bought out the claim on Boulder Creek which flows into Coal Creek, at that time the oldest continuously mined claim in Alaska. Mr. Adamic, the original filer, stayed on his claim during the Klondike rush and lived all his life there. It is now enclosed in the Charley River Preserve and we havenít been allowed to mine since 1985, but we still retain the mining rights. Son Mallie goes in each summer to check the property and we go whenever possible.

We are now permanently settled at Twin Lakes and have never regretted making Alaska our home.