The Mt. Juliet community is grieving this week after the sudden death of beloved husband, father, sibling and friend John Hall, 49, on Saturday.
Countless friends and family have opened their arms to shelter and support John's widow Marquita and the couple's three children, Mason, Jakob and Caroline. Marquita co-owns Sister's Whimzy along with her best friend Carmelita Stafford.
Initial observation indicates John's death in his Mt. Vernon home Saturday was a cardiac event, Stafford said Monday. She said John had a heart-related problem in the past.
"I will say Marquita is still in shock," she said. "She's very overwhelmed at the outpouring of support. John was so well loved, and now his family is feeling this love."
There will be a Celebration of Life Thursday at the Circle P Ranch in Mt. Juliet from 3 until 6 p.m., Stafford said.
The Halls were married 25 years in June, said this best friend who met Marquita 10 years ago in their neighborhood. They started Sister's Whimzy, now located on North Mt. Juliet Road, four years ago "with so much support from both of our husbands."
The friends were in Atlanta Saturday on a buying trip when they got the phone call about John's passing. Carmelita explained the Halls have a mother-in-law suite in their house, and a member of the family tried chest compressions. John's family has rushed to Mt. Juliet from all over the United States. John was in the food sales industry.
In a tragically surreal ride back home to Mt. Juliet Saturday, Carmelita drove her devastated friend. By fate, they had just arrived at "Market" when they got the news and just happened to be in a booth owned by one of their customers. That customer was able to usher Marquita into a quiet place and helped arrange for the car home. What was expressed during the five-hour drive is understandably mostly private; however, Marquita let it be known when she arrived at her house at about 5 p.m. she "wanted all her friends and all those who loved her" to be there, Carmelita said.
And, there were crowds of loved ones greeting the grieving young widow, 47, to hug and support and express their love for her and John and their children.
"She just wanted to be surrounded by love," Carmelita said quietly. "John was bigger than life. He never met a stranger, and we thought what better place to celebrate his life than at Circle P Ranch that hosts a homecoming every year. He loved it there."
Carmelita said the amount of support from Mt. Juliet has been truly amazing. Their phones have not stopped ringing from shocked customers and friends offering their arms and hearts at this terrible time.
"I know it sounds so cliché, but it's so heartwarming in today's society we have such a very special place like Mt. Juliet."
Writer Laurie Everett can be reached at email@example.com