SKOWHEGAN — Pop Hall, a retired state trooper whose barber shop and bail bondsman service was ideally located across from the old Somerset County jail, died Friday morning at his home on Court Street. He was 80.

“He was the best,” Hall’s daughter Pamela Butler said Friday afternoon as the family gathered in the living room. “He told me once that he was afraid he didn’t do a good job with us as a father when we were growing up, because he wasn’t here very much because of his shifts. And I said I only remember the good things.”

Hall, whose given name was Ronald, served with Maine State Police from 1955 until his retirement in 1975, according to Department of Public Safety spokesman Steve McCausland.

Hall and Betsy, his wife of 60 years, raised three daughters — Butler, Gail Conway and Janet Sirois. The couple has four grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Somerset County Sheriff Barry DeLong, who also was a state trooper in the early 1970s, said times were much different when Hall served in rural Somerset County in the late 50s and 60s.

“He comes from the old school of state police — they went to Camp Keyes for their training,” DeLong said. “State police was a different organization. There were no (protective) vests, no portable radios and if they had radar it took two men to lift it. You had a car that had vinyl seats, a big motor and a radio that when you keyed the mic, the headlights went out. They didn’t have anywhere near the equipment you have today; you worked alone and there was no back up. If you got beyond Twelve Corners (On U.S. Route 201 in Madison) your radio didn’t work anyway.”

When he retired, Hall opened his barber shop in a small room off the main house. He had one style of haircut for men and boys — short.

Julie Cooke, who operates Happyknits, a yarn shop in the refurbished county jail where Hall would have bailed people out, said she remembers Pop Hall’s as a barber shop strictly for men and boys.

“Pop Hall — his name has been around since we were little kids,” Cooke said. “I went in there once, with some boy at one point. Pop Hall’s — it was like the boys’ place to go.”

Hall also was a bail commissioner, conveniently on call across from the jail. He would put down his comb and scissors and walk over to the jail to post bail for someone who had just been arrested.

“He’d put a sign in the window saying he’d be right back, and off he’d go over to the jail,” Betsy Hall said. “He kept his hands in the law work and that pleased him to be able to do so.”

He closed the barber shop in 2003 and stopped working as a bail bondsman in 2005.

Betsy Hall was a kindergarten teacher for 22 years at North Elementary and Bloomfield Elementary schools.

In recent years Hall was often seen in his motorized cart with his golden retriever Sadie on a leash, zipping around downtown Skowhegan and on Saturdays at the Farmers’ Market.

“He was in his go cart, but you never knew who was pulling who,” his wife said.

She said her husband first was called Little Pop because his father, Maurice Hall, a barber in Bingham, was called Big Pop. When he opened the shop, he became just Pop Hall.

Hall’s grandson, Ben Butler, is a barber in the Old Port section of Portland. Butler said he likes his hair “high and tight” just like his grandfather did.

“Pop inspired me to become a barber and that his father had done it also,” said Butler, a 1996 graduate of Skowhegan Area High School. “I’m 12 years into it and staying busy. I have his original barber’s pole. It’s in my shop, on a shelf.”

At the family’s request there will not be a wake or a funeral. A committal service will be announced sometime in the spring or early summer.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]

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