'He was a real role model': Longtime Timmins educator dies

A longtime local educator has died.

Mark Hall, who dedicated 33 years to education, died on Tuesday (Feb. 20). He was 76.

Hall began his career in education in 1969 as a teacher with the Timmins Board of Education and went on to become a school administrator, superintendent and served as the director of education at District School Board Ontario North East (DSB1) from 2000 to 2002.

“He was a high school dropout, eventually trading in his motorcycle, his pilot’s license, and his job at a paper mill for a second chance to get his high school diploma,” his obituary reads.

“Years later, with a devoted wife by his side and young children on his lap, Mark completed his university degree and teaching certificate while holding down a job as a rookie elementary school teacher at Timmins Board of Education.”

Hall was a father-of-four and grandfather to eight. His son Jeremy Hall told TimminsToday his father was the reason he too pursued a career in education.

“He took a very special interest in the professional and personal lives of his children. He was a devoted father and a really good mentor and he was always there for advice or guidance in many areas,” Jeremy said.

“He was a real role model for me because I became a teacher, and as I went through my professional career, he was a great mentor to me. I remember how he interacted with students, I was able to observe that and his care and his love for students, and I was able to try to emulate myself after him in terms of his interactions with students, and his love and care and advocacy for students and family. So, it made a huge impact on my family and especially it impacted me as well.”

Jeremy said his father spent the majority of his life advocating for and helping students with special needs.

“Mark was a strong advocate and worked closely with students with special needs. He loved his time as the principal of both Porcupine Regional School and Brousseau Avenue School. His children have fond memories of going with dad to Brousseau Avenue School to help special needs children with Jump Rope for Heart,” his obituary reads.

In lieu of donating flowers, the family is asking those to make a donation to SickKids Foundation to go towards autism research, Jeremy said.

“He was very much concerned with children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). He was really knowledgeable about children with that disorder and it impacted him personally being the grandfather of two children with ASD,” he said.

“So, when the family got together, it seemed obvious that we would try to find a way to honour those kids specifically.”

Lesleigh Dye, the current DSB1 director of education, said their flags are lowered at both board offices.

“Our collective thoughts are with Mark Hall’s loved ones during this difficult time,” she said.

Jeremy said his father’s toughest adversary was cancer, a recurring illness that he continually fought and beat for over 20 years until he eventually succumbed to health complications.

"We were very proud of my father. He overcame a lot of adversity in his life with a lot of health concerns, but he was always brave and always made sure that he fought these battles in life,” he said.

“He was a good example and role model in dealing with adversity and making sure to never give up.”

Mark’s celebration of life will be held this Saturday (Feb. 24) at 2 p.m. at Grace Bible Chapel located at 1037 MacLean Dr. Online condolences can be made here.

SickKids Foundation donations can be made here.

Marissa Lentz, Local Journalism Initiative, TimminsToday.com