Cover photo for Derrick Cornell Hall's Obituary
Derrick Cornell Hall Profile Photo
1954 Derrick 2021

Derrick Cornell Hall

February 24, 1954 — December 26, 2021


God gifted the world with Derrick Cornell Hall on February 24, 1954 in Chicago.
Affectionately called “Big D” and “Uncle D” by family and friends, he was the sixth of eight children born to Mildred (née Thurman) and Calvin Hall, Sr.

Derrick was raised in the Bronzeville neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side and attended Forrestville High School (now known as King College Prep). He often spoke about many fond childhood memories shared with family and friends on their 47th and Evans block.

Throughout his life, Derrick was always a creative person and developed a passion for art. He was enabled with a natural God-given talent and began drawing at the age of six. His father, Calvin, also an artist, taught him techniques that helped him cultivate his own unique style. Derrick derived inspiration for his paintings from what he called, “life visions.” As a result, his diverse art portfolio included portraits, landscape, nature, ethnic art, comics and themes that paid tribute to his favorite singers and musicians. He felt extreme joy when he was blessed to exhibit and sell his art at various local galleries and venues, including the Oak Park Arts District, Oak Park Art League, Robinson’s No. 1 Ribs and the annual Art in Motion charitable event at Shirley Ryan AbilityLab in Chicago.

Cooking was another passion that delighted Derrick. This motivated him to enroll in the culinary arts program at The Illinois Institute of Art in 2004 where he enhanced his chef skills. He also worked as a cook for several years in food service at the University of llinois at Chicago.

Always a romantic and devoted boyfriend, Derrick married his soulmate Anita Jackson on April 19, 2003. They shared unconditional love, a mutual affinity for the arts, and had fun cooking together and going on frequent foodie adventures to discover new restaurants and recipes.

More than anything, “Big D” had a big heart and loved his family, friends and church family at First Baptist Church of Oak Park. Before his health began to fail, he loved spending time talking, laughing and joking with all of them.

When imparting wisdom to others, words from one of his favorite songs, “Man in the Mirror,” resonated in his heart. Therefore, he had a special empathy and personal ministry for homeless people. Whenever he encountered a homeless person, he would stop to talk and get to know them as a human being— sometimes cooking and bringing them a meal. This also gave him an opportunity to witness and share his life’s journey. Before illness overtook him, Derrick had befriended many homeless people in Forest Park because they believed that he sincerely cared about them. When they stopped seeing him on the streets, many would often ask his wife, Anita, “Where’s the big guy?” They missed his calming presence. Derrick’s most important lesson from his life’s journey was that he never wanted people to think he was a perfect man, but that he was made a better man through God’s love and grace.

Derrick leaves a legacy of loved ones to celebrate and carry on the blessings of his life: His loving wife of 18 years, Anita Jackson-Hall; son, Derrick Watson; daughter, Valerie B.A. Watson; sister, Diana Jackson; brothers, Calvin Hall, Jr. and Yancy (Sandra) Hall; five precious grandchildren, Delayla, Damian, Naphtali, Kayla and Logan; and a multitude of nieces, nephews, and other family and friends.


Derrick made his peaceful heavenly transition on Sunday, December 26, 2021.
Relatives welcoming his arrival are his parents, Mildred and Calvin Hall, Sr.; son,
Jameel Watson; sisters, Beverly Young, Joyce Willis, Celestine Salter and Leonora Hall; sister-in-law, Cynthia Strother Hall; and mother-in-law, Daisy Jackson.


A celebration of Derrick’s life and favorite things will be held Saturday,
June 11, 2022 at 11 a.m. at First Baptist Church of Oak Park, 820 Ontario Street, Oak Park, IL 60302.

In lieu of flowers, please direct memorial gifts in honor of Derrick Hall to the following charities:

Housing Forward
1851 S. 9th Avenue
Maywood, IL 60153


Art in Motion,
Attn: Advancement Dept.
Shirley Ryan AbilityLab
355 E. Erie Street, 10th FL
Chicago, IL 60611 

The Art in Motion organizers will ensure any gifts received in honor of Derrick go directly to their art therapy programs:



Arrangements entrusted to Chicagoland Cremation Options of Schiller Park, Illinois.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Derrick Cornell Hall, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Celebration of Life

Saturday, June 11, 2022

Starts at 11:00am (Central time)

First Baptist Church of Oak Park

820 Ontario St., Oak Park, IL 60302

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