Philip Aldrich Hall
Philip Aldrich Hall
  • November 15, 1919 - October 5, 2017
  • Westmoreland, New Hampshire

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Philip Aldrich Hall passed away at his childhood home in the historical "Westmoreland Depot" district of the town of Westmoreland on Oct. 5, 2017.

He was born in November 1919 in the same room in which he later died, per his wishes. Surviving are his children, Jonathan, Matthew, Deborah and George, his cousins, grandchildren, plus spouses/ex-spouses and relatives of aforementioned. Philip was predeceased by his ex-wife of many decades with whom he raised the four children (Elizabeth Britton Hall); his parents (Forest Sr. and Ellen Aldrich); his brothers (Forest Jr. and Lester); his uncle, F. Gilbert Aldrich; his aunts, Ruth Aldrich and Doris Aldrich, plus spouses.

His public school education started at the Westmoreland Depot one-room schoolhouse, several buildings north of his parent's homestead. It was heated with a wood stove. In 8th-grade Philip was the person responsible for starting up the stove so it would be warm when the school teacher from Keene (Florence Stone) and the students arrived each school day. In the winter, the school teacher had to drive on unplowed roads or on rolled-snow roads from Keene.

He attended and graduated from the Washington Street Keene High School, often riding there on the Westmoreland Depot train to Keene. He successfully completed his bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering and master's degree in mechanical engineering from the University of New Hampshire at Durham campus. He often took the "Westmoreland Depot train" to Keene, then on over to University of New Hampshire.

Philip was an avid reader, lifelong learner, and a very intelligent man. Later education included summer schools, which he was paid to attend, at which he excelled for college courses in advanced physics at UMass in Amherst, Princeton and Rutgers. In World War II, he took two years of classes at night at a Colorado State College in Denver. For his personal enjoyment, he took free college courses after his retirement at Keene State College just for the fun of it. The pride of his educational journey was taking many weekends of day-long advanced physics and mathematics problems, after which Philip was awarded the 1966 United States Physics Teacher of the Year.

As a teacher and most of his life, Philip dressed conservatively with a suit jacket and dress pants, white button-down shirt, a narrow tie, black lace-up dress shoes (wingtips for Sunday best), a gray brimmed boiled wool men's dress hat (the style of the day). The exception was when he spent almost every evening fixing and repairing his and his wife's home at 296.

He wore old-fashioned dungarees, white T-shirt, and buttoned-down, tucked-in hand sewn wool or corduroy shirt. Philip was always a hard worker, rarely seen just relaxing. There was always work to be done. He would "buck up" 10 cords of hardwood each year using just his ax and a crosscut saw.

Prior to becoming a physics professor and teacher, Philip served his country, the United States of America, by being part of the 2,000 men and women physicists and mathematicians near Albany, doing advanced calculations on the World War II bomb project as part of the top secret "human computer" project for the World War II war effort. This was one job on the Manhattan Project that Philip served on. He also took a second Manhattan Project assignment, which was a very physical and mentally demanding, dangerous job testing heavy metals at high voltage electricity in a small shack in Western Massachusetts, working long hours alone, with a supervisor checking once a day to make sure he hadn't been blown up by the testing materials.

After those several years, Philip was assigned to Colorado and then at Wendover Field in Utah serving his country in the Army of the United States.

He returned east to be hired as a safety engineer, traveling the east coast inspecting factories for OSHA.
The states furthest from his native state of New Hampshire to which Philip traveled to and/or worked in were Colorado, Florida, Ohio and Utah.

His teaching career started out near University of New Hampshire, as a high school physics teacher at Portsmouth High School. Then Philip was an associate professor of physics for several years at Lowell Technical College (now Lowell University) in Massachusetts.

After moving his young family to Florida, where he worked as an airplane flag person on the tarmac in Miami, he returned to the New England he loved. Philip chose to return to New Hampshire and turned down the chance to work for Cape Canaveral using his physics background. He said he told them he didn't care for space rockets and wanted to give the job to someone who had dreamed their entire life of working for Cape Canaveral.

For more than several decades he was a talented and dedicated physics teacher at Brattleboro Union Memorial High School in Vermont. His students went on to use their physics knowledge to further their careers in all areas, including mechanical engineering, physics, mathematics, nursing, doctors, politics, civic service, teaching and more. His largest class had 40 students in one classroom, as he would never turn away any BUHS student who wanted to study physics, or who needed it to get into college. He loved teaching physics.

Philip was a busy person. His hobbies over his lifetime included riding bicycles, wooden bobsledding, wooden cross-country skiing, playing tennis, building furniture and doing house maintenance, fine woodworking, hiking Mount Monadnock, swimming at Sheep Rock and at Ware's Grove at Spofford Lake, roller skating at Ware's Grove, ice skating when the Connecticut River froze over, hiking, traditional New England quadrilles and square dancing, civic participation, vegetable gardening, playing chess, going to Westmoreland Bridge Club, art, writing, exquisite penmanship, studying philosophy, repairing his car, and especially doing things to help his family.

His mother's ancestors and his church affiliation was with the historical Park Hill Church in Westmoreland, which originally was located in the northeast corner of North Cemetery in "Westmoreland Depot." Later he was treasurer of the Westmoreland 2nd Congregational Church in the South Village. When that was torn down, and he raised his family in Keene, he attended the