Alene Winifred Brown Hall

HallAlene Winifred Brown Hall, 91, on January 11, 2017, in Tucson, Ariz. Wini was born on August 10, 1925, in Redlands, Calif., to Birdie Kilgore and George E. Brown Sr. She grew up in Holtville, Calif. (known as the carrot capital of the world), with two brothers and a sister, attending public schools. In her childhood and youth she witnessed Dust Bowl escapees settling into a Hooverville outside of Holtville, mistreatment of Mexican migrant workers in the carrot fields, and friends of Japanese ancestry being put into internment camps. She moved to Los Angeles when she was 18, graduating from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) with a degree in sociology and working as a social worker for Los Angeles County. In 1951 she married Henry K. Hall, a postdoctoral researcher in UCLA’s Chemistry Department. They moved to Wilmington, Del., in 1963 and to Tucson in 1969. She completed a doctorate in education at the University of Arizona in 1979.

Her children often stood on picket lines with her as she challenged authority that used its power unjustly. With tireless energy and spirit, she worked for racial equality and integration with the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE); picketed Bullock’s department store for its segregationist policies; helped integrate the Rialto Theater in Wilmington, Del.; marched with Martin Luther King Jr.; and attended his “I Have a Dream” speech in Washington, D.C., standing on the podium with her Congressman brother, Rep. George Edward Brown Jr. She demonstrated against the Vietnam War; protested the cruise missile deployment at Davis–Monthan Air Force Base, where she was arrested; protested cruise missiles and nuclear weapons with the Women’s Peace Camp at the Royal Air Force station at Greenham Common, England; visited Hiroshima; and gave cross-cultural workshops. Many prisoners responded to her Creative Response to Conflict programs in prisons with letters thanking her for giving them conflict resolution skills and treating them kindly. Her decades’ worth of buttons representing issues, movements, and candidates witnessed to her work on behalf of political candidates and causes. She treasured a letter from then-Senator John F. Kennedy thanking her for her efforts in his campaign for president. She was active in the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), Another Mother for Peace, and Pima Meeting in Tucson, which accepted her into membership in 1986. In addition to serving as greeter and member of the Communications/Newsletter and Nominating Committees, she was co-clerk of the meeting and clerk of the Ministry and Oversight, Membership and Marriage, and Peace and Social Concerns Committees.

She was an accomplished sculptor, and art rejuvenated and sustained her. The company of plants and animals nurtured her. She worked to improve the world her children would live in to the very end of her life, changing the world even as she loved it and inspiring her children: Joan, a microfinance expert for impoverished nations; Douglas, a volunteer in the 1980s Sanctuary movement; and Lillian, a peace activist and farmer in Colombia, where she moved after decades of outreach and community service in Nicaragua. An announcement for her memorial meeting read, “Wini’s love of life and willingness to speak truth to power will be sorely missed. But the good news is that her spirit stays with us and pushes us out of our comfort zone and out of our armchairs into the street and meetinghouses to continue her life’s work.”

Wini’s husband, Henry K. Hall, survived her but has since died. She is survived by her children, Joan Hall, Douglas Hall, and Lillian Hall; and one grandchild.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Maximum of 400 words or 2000 characters.

Comments on may be used in the Forum of the print magazine and may be edited for length and clarity.