Keith Raymond Hall

As a lifelong painter, Keith Raymond Hall had a steady hand for any kind of job, from aircraft carriers to business signs to hospitals.

Hall, whose health began failing about six years ago, died in his home on Nov. 8 with his family at his side. He was 92.

Born in Eureka in 1919, Hall learned his craft from his father Edward Hall, a sign painter. It was a time when all signs, whether simple or extravagant, were hand painted and required a craftsman's skill.

When Hall enlisted in the Navy during World War II, he took those skills with him aboard an aircraft carrier. He met his late wife, Nathalie, while he was stationed at Owl's Head Naval Air Station in Maine awaiting his discharge.

The two became engaged, and Hall returned to California after being discharged. Nathalie, or "Nat," was raised in a small fishing town not far from Rockland, Maine. She came later, taking a bus to Chicago and then a train to San Francisco.

Her family thought she was crazy traveling across the country to be married at 19, but they soon fell in love with Hall as well.

"He was a man who liked people, quick to smile," said Hall's son Gary of Santa Rosa. "I never in my whole life heard him say a bad word about anybody. He was the peacemaker in the family."

After the war, Hall joined his father's sign painting business, Halls Signs in Santa Rosa. He worked at his father's business for several years before going to work around 1950 for Lewis Meyers, a builder and former Santa Rosa mayor.

Hall ran Meyers' painting crew for a quarter century and gave many of the homes in the Grace Tract neighborhood their first coat of paint, inside and out.

After working for Meyers, Hall went to work for Memorial Hospital and became an in-house painter. He retired from that job in the early 1990s.

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