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Thursday June 14, 2018

Father. Husband. Skier. Entrepreneur.

Born April 24, 1940, in Toronto; died Dec. 17, 2017, in Barrie, Ont., from prostate cancer; aged 77.

Brian (The Jet) Hall lived life fully and completely. He grew up in north Toronto, when north was the dirt road now known as the 401 highway.

From beginning to end, he made sure to keep his family, friends and clients close.

His unique gift was the ability to offer counsel and guidance, and demonstrate care without offending. Even during the most challenging situations, he could calmly navigate stormy waters.

There was no effort required to keep his cool, he just seemed to always have the right words.

Brian would willingly take responsibility for a problem or personally involve himself in your issue, regardless of who or how it was caused. As a result, he earned the loyalty, admiration and support of countless people.

Those traits came in handy when building a business. Although he had more guts than brains at 24 years of age when he started Hall & Andreis (Insurance) Ltd. with a partner. From 2003 to 2013, as the company continued to expand, he leveraged his talents as CEO to create one of the largest independent insurance/surety brokerages in Canada. In 2013, he was honored with a career achievement award from the Surety Association of Canada.

In 1968, Brian married Didi Haster. Their first son, Stephen, was born in 1969, followed by a daughter, Krystyna, and then the twins, Nicole and Daniel. The children would tell you that Brian was always a beehive of activity. He was out of the house before they awoke, and often home late following client meetings over dinner or golf. But they also remember his fondness for holding endless dinner or theme parties at home, and family road trips to ski at Mont-Sainte-Anne.

Brian could walk up to a stranger anywhere and have them smiling in short order. He was a great tipper but a terrible singer. John Wayne was his hero and Johnny Cash his musical icon, so it was fitting that he was known for wearing cowboy boots (he had 22 pairs) and that there was no stopping him (even though he couldn't carry a tune) from belting out Cash's Burning Ring of Fire.

Work was his hobby; skiing was his passion. He was a ski patroller in Collingwood, Ont., and served as president and chairman of the Canadian Ski Patrol Association. He met Debora during his later years of working with the association and they married in 2009. When he retired from active patrolling in 1985, he was awarded Canadian Ski Patrol Life Member No. 19.

In 1997, Brian was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He was given two years to live, but ended up seeing his doctor for 20 more years of visits. "I'm totally healthy," he'd say. "Well, except for the cancer." Others with prostate cancer would find Brian and he would help by providing his perspective and kind words of support.

At 77, he lived like a 50-yearold. He was my hero, best friend, my partner, my shoulder, my teacher, my confident. He was my sunshine.

Debora Bloom Hall is Brian's wife.

To submit a Lives Lived: lives@globeandmail.com Lives Lived celebrates the everyday, extraordinary, unheralded lives of Canadians who have recently passed. To learn how to share the story of a family member or friend, go online to tgam.ca/livesguide

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