Tulsan Tony Hall preferred life on the streets
BY TIM STANLEY World Staff Writer
Friday, August 17, 2012
8/17/12 at 4:44 AM
Just because he was quiet didn't mean that Tony Hall never had anything to say. And when he did, he usually said it well.
In his rich baritone voice - so melodic and articulate that he often was asked if he had been an actor - Hall was known to talk intelligently on a variety of subjects.
He could discuss "everything from Shakespearean sonnets to politics to what color of nail polish I should wear," his friend Tanya Moore said with a laugh.
Less-polished subjects were also candidly discussed: his homelessness, for example.
A self-described loner who didn't care much for crowds or being indoors, Hall was unapologetic about preferring life on the streets.
He was a regular at Iron Gate, a nonprofit soup kitchen and food pantry serving Tulsa's homeless population, for more than 20 years, and he considered Moore and the other staff members there his family. They felt the same way about him, said Moore, Iron Gate's social services coordinator.
Often their choice to speak to visiting youth groups about street life, "Tony looked like, on the outside, what people think of as a typical homeless person," Moore said. "But he wasn't. He was educated, well-read, intelligent.
"Everyone who talked with and listened to Tony came away changed or with a different view of the world. He didn't know how special he was."
Wade Anthony "Tony" Hall died Aug. 2 after being diagnosed with terminal cancer. He was 56.
A memorial service is planned for 11 a.m. Aug. 23 at Trinity Episcopal Church. Serenity Funerals & Crematory was in charge of cremation, and the church has donated a niche in its columbarium for Hall's ashes.
Interviewed last year for "The Faces of Iron Gate," a booklet the nonprofit publishes, the softspoken Hall offered some details about his past.
Adopted as a newborn, he was a native of Spokane, Wash., and a member of the Lummi Indian tribe.
He graduated from junior college and attended the University of Seattle with plans to become a counselor. But college was too big for him, he said, and mostly he partied.
Hall's life on the streets began after that.
For 15 years, he lived in San Francisco's rough Tenderloin district. He had a love for travel, though, and later he moved around a lot, eventually landing in Tulsa.
At night, Hall usually slept outdoors, sometimes in abandoned houses or on porches, and by day, he collected cans for recycling, earning as much as $20 a day.
In "The Faces of Iron Gate," Hall said: "Life on the street is what you make of it. I'm healthy. I'm happy. My life is good."
Hall knew of no surviving relatives. He always said Iron Gate was his family.
"Tony really embraced life - seeing the world and being a part of it," Moore said. "He showed that your circumstances aren't as important as how you look at the world and the friends you make along the way."
Original Print Headline: Homeless man created a family
Tim Stanley 918-581-8385
Tony Hall, a regular for more than 20 years at Tulsa's Iron Gate soup kitchen who had become like family to staff members there, died Aug. 2. He was 56. Courtesy