12/10/2015 11:42AM

Gelo Hall dies at age 88

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Gelo Hall, who spent almost his entire life in one capacity or another at the racetracks of Maryland, died Thursday morning at age 88. He had recently suffered a stroke, according to his daughter, Janis Hall.

Hall, whose full name was Howard Gordon Hall Jr., was introduced to racing by his father, a valet in the jockeys’ rooms in Maryland. He was in attendance at Pimlico for the Seabiscuit-War Admiral match race of 1938 and would go on to work as an exercise rider, trainer, jockey agent, and racing official.

As an agent, he represented the successful riders Joe Brocklebank and Mickey Solomone. Hall was a graduate of the Jockey Club School for Racing Officials. He worked first at Arlington Park and then in Maryland until 2013.

Hall, known for his sharp attire and easy-going demeanor, was a deeply religious man and was involved with the Race Track Chaplaincy of America for decades.

Hall was honored in 2014 with the Joe Kelly Maryland Million Unsung Hero Award. He also was presented the Dogwood Stable Dominion Award as an “unsung hero of racing” in 1994.

Bobby Lillis, a former rider, executive director of the Maryland Horsemen’s Assistance Fund, and benefits director of the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, knew Hall since 1975.

“Gelo was a very giving person, a man of God with a deep heart,” Lillis said. “He always looked out for his fellow horsemen who might be down on their luck.”

Hall was preceded in death by his wife, Lillian, in 2014. He resided in the Windsor Mill community in Baltimore County. His daughter, Janis, relocated from New York in 2013 to assist her mother and father. She is Hall’s lone surviving relative.

Hall was a longtime member of St. Katherine of Alexandria Episcopal Church in Baltimore, but it is currently under construction. The wake and funeral will be held at St. Mark’s on the Hill at 1620 Reistertown Road in Pikesville, Md. The wake will be Tuesday at 9 a.m. A funeral will follow at 10 a.m.
A public viewing is scheduled for Monday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Vaughn Greene Funeral Home at 8728 Liberty Road in Randallstown, Md.

** Tax-deductable donations in memory of Hall can be sent to the Maryland Horsemen's Assistance Foundation, 500 Redland Court, Suite 105, Owings Mills, Md. 21117