Former Bakersfield mayor Harvey L. Hall, 77, died Saturday. Hall became ill in mid-April and was hospitalized with what was described in a press release from Hall Ambulance Service, Inc. as a “rare, untreatable, and rapidly progressive disease”.
Hall was a proud Bakersfield High School Driller. He made his mark on the streets of Bakersfield by founding Hall Ambulance in 1971, an endeavor that started with a dare.
“He was working as an orderly for Mercy Hospital on Truxtun in 1960,” Mark Corum with Hall Ambulance said. “And he ran into a friend of his who was working as an ambulance attendant and they caught up and he said, ‘hey Harvey why don’t you go on a ride along with me in the ambulance? We will do the lights and sirens and man it will be a hoot, we’ll have a good time.'”
That experience made such an impact on Hall, the next day he got a job at Flint Ambulance, then located off 18th and Union. Eleven years later hall borrowed $10,000 and a successful business was born. After 47 years , Hall Ambulance continues to serve the majority of Kern County.
“He wanted to build the best ambulance company in America,” Corum said.
Hall’s success in business translated to success behind the mayor’s desk.
In 2001 Hall would become the city’s 25th mayor. He was a 4-term mayor, representing the city for 16 years, making him Bakersfield’s longest serving mayor.
“Mayor Hall was an outstanding community leader,” current Bakersfield mayor Karen Goh said. “He was at the forefront of all of the activity of our community. He sought to engage people, he sought to be everywhere and he was everywhere because of his dedication to our community.”
Dedicated to assisting those in need, Hall spent much of his time in office working to help our homeless.
“He was a man that did very well in business, loved his hometown and did everything he could to showcase it and improve it and not everybody feels that way,” Bakersfield Homeless Center CEO Louis Gill said. “And so we lost not only a champion for what is best about us but we lost someone that does the work.”
Hall shared his love for the community with thousands through the Sister City Project Corporation.
“Bakersfield is something he, everywhere he went he talked about Bakersfield,” Bakersfield Sister City president John Hefner said. “He talked about the pride there and he was absolutely a wonderful ambassador.”
Hall’s impact on Bakersfield was significant, but his impact on the people he was elected to serve was immeasurable.
Plans to honor former Mayor Harvey L. Hall will be announced soon, according to hall Ambulance.