Ralph Z. Hallow, the chief political correspondent and columnist for The Washington Times for 30 years, passed away on October 17, 2020. His funeral was last Monday, November 23, 2020.
His widow Millie, and son Ian, asked me to be one of the two people to give a eulogy at his funeral in Washington D.C. It was a quiet and sombre affair, his funeral, with only his close friends and family members. It wasn’t too much of a financial burden on the family as well, as Ralph had ensured that they look into Final Expense insurance policies, and other burial policies beforehand. Which was a relief, because that gave an opportunity to the family to be able to grieve this gem of a person properly and without added stress.
When Ralph’s Dad, Zacki, and his mother, Bessema married [in Syria], Bessema was 13 years old. Zacki was 7 years older than Bessema.
Bessema prayed for a child for 23 years and then God gave them a boy – Ralph Zachary Hallow.
I met Ralph sometime in early 2000. I can’t remember the exact date. I do clearly remember Ralph sitting in 2006 on the front row of a Newt Gingrich speech at the American Enterprise Institute, grinning from ear to ear with his great smile, his head turning in slight angles as he listened intently. After having spent 50+ years in studying, thinking, and making applications to the trade, Ralph loved people with knowledge and insight like Newt.
When talking with Ralph in 2007, he said that Newt Gingrich was running for president in 2008. I replied that he wasn’t. Ralph said, “I flew back from NYC last night with Newt and I can tell you he’s running.””Well, I can tell you that he’s not,” I said. “How do you know that?” he asked. I said, “Because I’m watching the chess pieces move behind the curtain.”
Although I could have been wrong, it turned out that I was right.
As the chief political correspondent and columnist for The Washington Times for 30 years, Ralph had developed a jaundiced eye from the cons and rip-off artists that pass through this town every political cycle or two.
As Ralph and my relationship matured, he began to call and we’d spend time talking, becoming great friends in the process. I knew I had finally entered the inner circle when Ralph began introducing me as his “F…ing little Bible-thumping buddy David Lane.”
My Mom and Dad divorced when I was 6 months old. I was brought up by my grandma, granddad, and mother in a town of 1,100 people in rural Oklahoma.
My paternal grandfather was blind. I have been told that my Dad, after the divorce, left rural Oklahoma on a bicycle. I saw my Dad perhaps once a year and called him by his first name, Gerry, until I was 10 years old or so. I moved in with my Dad and stepmother in the tenth grade in Pascagoula, Mississippi. My Dad was a hard-charging man, like Ralph, who had a hard time surrendering. When we talk about hardheadedness, we talk about my Dad … or Ralph Hallow.
With me being a high school punk, there were some hard times with my Dad. Owning a dozen or so car dealerships, he was at the office at 7:30 a.m. every morning, with a sales meeting beginning at 8:00 a.m. If you were late you were fined. He ran a tight ship.
When my dad passed away in 2013, “he had made it big.” He was the 1995 Louisiana Car Dealer of the Year and the finalist for the Time Magazine Man of the Year.
Just before he died, my younger brother called saying that the doctor had given Dad less than a week to live. He had cancer. I was at the time in Chicago meeting with a potential governor candidate.
I hopped on a plane to Baton Rouge, where he lived. When I walked in, he was sitting in a recliner, as if nothing was wrong with him. A doctor friend told me that many “resurrect” for a day or 2 right before they die because they quit fighting. Up to that point, all their energy and effort is spent on fighting the battle to stay alive.
My wife Cindy’s Dad was in the ICU before he died. He “resurrected” a day before his death. Cindy’s brother asked the doctor, “Are you sure we shouldn’t reconsider this?” The doctor said, “You can reconsider, but he is going to die.” He passed away the next day.
When I saw my Dad sitting in the recliner, we began to talk. He said, “Dave, you’ve done so well.” I said, “Dad, this is me, I can’t do my multiplication tables …” “I know,” he said, “but you’ve done so well.” I told him the story of his mother right before she died.
Having been one of the wildest men that ever lived – drugs, wine, women, and song – I came to Christ 40 years ago. I deserved judgment, but I got mercy. I had just become a Christian when I went to see my paternal grandmother the last time in the hospital.
She was very discouraged because my Dad’s older brother, whom he idolized, had been there saying that their blind Daddy wouldn’t go to Heaven because he hadn’t been baptized. I replied, “The Book says, if the last thing that Daddy Lane said when leaving this earth is ‘Jesus help me,’ he’s going to spend eternity with God. That’s what the Book says.”
“That must have really encouraged her,” my Dad said. “It did,” I said, “and the reason I tell Gerry Lane that story is, if the last thing you say before leaving this earth is ‘Jesus help me,’ you’ll spend eternity with God. That’s what the Book says.”
Six or seven years ago I told that story to Ralph Hallow, periodically mentioning it again over the years.
Millie texted Cindy and me at 2:52 in the early morning on the Saturday of Ralph’s death. “Just got a call from the hospital. He is deteriorating and not gonna make it. Going into septic shock. I am going to the hospital now. Only a miracle can save him. He is in God’s hands.”
The hospital staff offered a chaplain to come by to pray for Ralph, but Millie declined. She texted, “I knew that wouldn’t be right. You were the only one that Ralph would have tolerated praying for him.”
So at 7:29 a.m. Millie FaceTimed me; Ralph was in the hospital bed with an oxygen mask over his face. They say that the last thing you lose before death is your hearing.
I prayed for Ralph, saying, “Ralph, if the last thing you say leaving this earth is, ‘Jesus help me,’ you’re going to spend eternity with God. That’s what the Book says.”
Millie texted later that day, “I got to get into the hospital bed with him, and we were nose to nose as he passed away. The love of my life, and the brightest, most interesting man I know is gone.”
Millie called me a day or 2 later asking, “Do you think Ralph made it?” I read her the note that my pastor, former Thousand Oaks City Councilman and Mayor Rob McCoy, sent me the afternoon that Ralph left this earth …
“The most sanctified moment in a man’s life is when he dwells between Heaven and Earth as his life here reaches the finish line. God takes that moment and pours all memories of His Truth to the forefront of his mind and causes the Beauty of His Majesty to be revealed for one last call to Christ. That memory was rich with the words of David Lane. Ralph was a man who listened to David. I believe we will see him again. I have that Peace.”
Thank you friends for being here for Millie and the kids.
As a final word, my younger brother texted me the night our Dad died … “Dad just whispered, ‘Jesus help me.'”
O, what a wonderful God.
David LaneAmerican Renewal Project