HALL, M.Y. "JERRY" (1926~2005) Millard Young "Jerry" Hall, journalist, press secretary to Governor Preston Smith, and long-time political consultant, was born August 12, 1926, in Stanton, Martin County, Texas, to John Morgan and Beulah Mae (Houston) Hall. After high school, he entered the U.S. Army Air Force and, following his discharge at the end of World War II, enrolled in Texas Technological College, now Texas Tech University. While there, he served as editor of the student newspaper, worked as a reporter and photographer for the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, and, most importantly, met his future wife, Mary Frances Vestal.
After receiving his journalism degree in 1954, Hall went to work as a copy editor for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, but left that next year to join the Washington staff of Congressman George Mahon. However, by 1958, Hall had returned to his "true calling," journalism, when he went back to Lubbock and the Avalanche-Journal. By 1965, he was working in Austin for the Capitol Bureau of Newspapers, Inc., and covered Charles Whitman's shooting rampage from the University of Texas Tower in 1966, and the volatile 1968 Democratic and Republican conventions.
Following Preston Smith's election as Governor, he named Hall as his press secretary. Though he only served in this capacity for two years, 1969 to 1971, Hall, state representative Bill Parsley, and Warren Skaaren - a staff member in Smith's office - persuaded the Governor to follow in the footsteps of New Mexico and Colorado and create a film commission. By 1981, ten years after its establishment, the Texas Film Commission "brought about the production . . . of 114 theatrical and television movies" to Texas and an estimated $500 million windfall to the state's economy. This boon prompted later governor, Mark White to say, "Texas stands as a genuine 'Third Coast' alternative to the traditional production centers."
After leaving the Governor's Office, Hall served as the director of public information for the Constitutional Revision Commission and Constitutional Convention, which, along with his years of experience, gave way to a new career in public relations and as a governmental liaison. It was during this time that Hall mused that "he had worked on more than 60 campaigns, from city races to bids for the White House."
In 1989, Hall was, once again, lured back to the Capitol. This time, he served as Chief of Staff to Senator John Montford, where he "could invariably be found in a rocking chair near his desk, shooting the breeze or scuttling a rumor."
M.Y. "Jerry" Hall passed away on Sunday, March 6, 2005, and, by Governor's Proclamation, was buried at the Texas State Cemetery four days later. He was survived by his wife, Mary Frances, a son, Richard, and a daughter, Julie.
Information taken from: "Former press secretary for Gov. Preston Smith dies." Longview News-Journal. 6 March 2005. Selby, W. Gardner. "Journalist, political insider pushed for Texas Film Commission." Austin American-Statesman. 7 March 2005. Handbook of Texas Online, s.v. "TEXAS FILM COMMISSION," http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/articles/print/TT/mdt14.html (accessed March 9, 2005). Savloc, Marc. "A History of the Texas Film Commission: Thirty Years on Location." The Austin Chronicle. 15 June 2001. Proclamation by the Governor of the State of Texas, Ann W. Richards, 13 January 1995.