Two hours into the Nov. 9 evening meeting, Langley City Coun. Dave Hall slowly rose from his seat and put on his hat.
Coun. Val van den Broek, who sat next to Hall, helped him lift his briefcase from the floor to the table top so he could pack it.
Then Hall walked over and whispered something to Mayor Ted Schaffer and left.
At the time, the reason for his departure was kept private.
On Monday night, at the first meeting of Langley City council since Hall passed away, there was an explanation.
“He had to leave because he was in so much pain,” Coun. Gayle Martin said.
The exit in mid-debate was the first indication to his council colleagues of just how seriously ill Hall was.
“He never complained about it,” Martin said.
Martin and the rest of council took some time Monday night to pay tribute to Hall, who died on Jan. 4 at the age of 63 from cancer.
Hall was remembered as someone who liked an argument, a mentor and friend whose memory makes people smile.
“I think probably I disagreed with him more than anybody,” Martin said.
“However, it just seemed, in the last several months, that we were just starting to agree with each other on a lot of things, and it was kind of a running joke between the two of us.”
“I do miss him,” she said.
Mayor Schaffer said even in hospital, Hall had a certain edge.
“On the last time I saw him (in hospital) he didn’t recognize me at first and he said, ‘Bells and whistles, bells and whistles, the mayor’s come to see me.’”
The mayor said the Hall family is planning a celebration of life for some time in late February or March.
When Schaffer invited councillor van den Broek to speak, she couldn’t.
Afterwards, she said was an emotional moment for her because Hall had been a “good mentor.”
Rudy Storteboom said it was an honour to serve with Hall, who he recalled “would enjoy infuriating people who he didn’t agree with, but it was all good-natured and well-intended.”
“Everybody I spoke with, they all remembered him with fondness and recognized him as a character,” Storteboom said, adding “we’ll be looking for a new firebrand soon.”
Paul Albrecht said Hall had “genuine interest for our community at all times.”
“Yes, he was a colleague, but more than that, he was a friend and somebody that I will miss dearly and forever think of,” Albrecht said.
Jack Arnold described how “Dave liked to rile things up when he agreed with people, too … not only at the council table but especially when we (would) go for coffee afterwards. Those, I think, were some of the best times we had.”
A City of Langley press release issued when Hall passed away described him as a “dedicated, passionate and thought-provoking man.”
In lieu of flowers, the Hall family has requested that any donations be directed towards organizations that support cancer research, such as the Terry Fox Foundation or the BC Cancer Foundation.
– with files from Miranda Gathercole