Hal Warren Pledger

April 18, 1946 - January 5, 2019

Hal Warren Pledger gracefully passed away on Saturday, January 5, 2019, in Waco, Texas, after celebrating Christmas, her favorite holiday, surrounded by her adoring family. Services will be 2:00 p.m., Saturday, January 19, at Hewitt First United Methodist Church, with The Rev. Cynthia Moss and The Rev. Nan Kennedy, Hal's cousin, officiating, followed by a procession to Stanford Chapel Cemetery in Lorena and a reception at the church.

Born Anne Hal Warren on April 18, 1946, in Waco, Hal grew up on the family's Meadowbrook Dairy Farm in Hewitt. Daughter of Homer and Celest Warren, Hal was the youngest of four children. Life on the farm as a child was idyllic. Days were spent running around barefooted, chasing animals, climbing trees, playing with visiting cousins, learning from all the elders, playing music, creating games, wading, skipping stones, catching tadpoles and avoiding snakes in the creeks. She attended Midway High School where she was a majorette, played basketball, sang in the school choir, and played saxophone in the band.

Hal came from a deeply loving family and was raised by compassionate, caring parents and siblings. She extended this easy, spirited love to her sons when she became a mother. Her two boys and granddaughter always felt nurtured and supported by her. She stood by them, their dreams and passions, and always encouraged them to be themselves. She was selfless and never needed much to be happy. Her happiness came from creating art and music, giving to others, serving and working in her community, and being with her family. Her smile would brighten up a room, her laugh was contagious, and her hazel eyes always sparkled with joy and love.

As Hal deftly described herself, she was "a lover of the arts; watercolorist, saxophonist, writer, dancer, guitar self-learner, piano-practicer, encourager of all musicians, teacher, and chatterer." Naturally interesting and gregarious, Hal had a way of making friends with just about anyone. She was known to stop people on the street to strike up a conversation, genuinely interested in learning about them. She was engaging and always cared about what others had to say. She looked at everyone with wonder, knowing that everyone has a gift, knowledge, and talent. With every conversation, she had the ability to bring that out in others.

Hal graduated with a B.S. in Secondary Education, Math and English, from UT-Austin in 1968, where she was a proud member of the Zeta Tau Alpha sorority. Before starting her family, Hal taught math and English for four years in Augusta, Georgia, and Austin, Plano and Dallas. A true renaissance woman, Hal also was a top-producing real estate agent in Dallas and worked for KWBU, Waco's local public radio station.

Community and volunteer work was at the heart of Hal's life; while in Dallas she was involved in her sons' PTA, the Highland Park United Methodist Church, the DAR, organized a benefit at the SMU School of Music Conservatory, and was a docent at Old City Park. After moving back to Hewitt in 1996, Hal volunteered her time for multiple electoral campaigns and vociferously advocated for the preservation and ecology of Bull Hide Creek.

Hal was a steadfast supporter of the local art and music community and a fixture at First Fridays in Waco. The walls of her home were filled with her own paintings alongside art by her family and local artists. She was a dedicated watercolor painter of scenes of the family farm in Hewitt, portraits of loved-ones, and hundreds of beautiful, cherished cards that she sent to family and friends for any occasion. On the back of every card is a hand-painted, yellow smiley-face that says "Hal-mark, Because I Care." She truly did.

Hal extended her passion and role as the family historian to include local history, writing and researching. She sought out stories that weren't being told in order to document and share them. Notably, Hal was a member of the McLennan City Historic Commission and was the Festival Chairman of the Chisholm Trail Crossing Event: Crossing the Brazos in 2010. The same year, she was a contributing writer to Historic McLennan County, where she wrote nine chapters, including those on Hewitt, Lorena, and Robinson. In 2013, Hal wrote A Life Well Lived, Hallie Earle, M.D. 1880-1963 about her namesake, close family friend, first female medical doctor in McLennan County, and one of many strong, influential women in her life. At the time of her passing, Hal was close to completing a book on the history of Hewitt with the working title, Before the Bedroom.

Hal is preceded in death by her parents, Homer Clay Warren and Celest Rhea Warren; her step-mothers, Winifred Gossett Darden Warren and Lucille Chapman Thompson Warren; and her brothers-in-law, Donald Sumner and Joseph Cleveland.

Hal is survived by her adoring sons, Rhea Barnes Pledger and Clayton Dunning Pledger, Jr., and wife, Abra; granddaughter, Aubrey Anne Gunn Pledger; sisters, Peggy Sumner and Jessika Cleveland Melancon and husband, Pete; brother, Clay Warren and wife, Lynda; and their families, respectively.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the newly established Hal Warren Pledger Fund with Creative Waco. The fund will support professional development opportunities for artists (of all art forms) in Waco and McLennan County. Donations may be made to the fund through the dedicated web page: creativewaco.org/pledger-fund or by PayPal to: info@creativewaco.org with "Hal Warren Pledger Fund" in the transaction information or by check made out to Creative Waco with "Hal Warren Pledger Fund" in the memo line. Checks should be sent to Creative Waco, PO Box 1104, Waco TX 76703.The family would like to thank the staffs of Lake Ridge Healthy Living and Interim Hospice for their exceptional care of Hal.

The family invites you to leave a message or memory in our "Tribute Wall" at www.WHBfamily.com.

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My prayers and sympathy are extended to the family and loved ones of Mrs. Pledger. Keep your faith in the resurrection promised at John 5:28, 29. Soon God will put an end to all sickness, sorrow and pain. He will also do away with our enemy death as promised at 1 Corinthians 15:26. Pray for God's kingdom to come as Jesus taught us to do. Please be comforted by the words expressed at Revelation 21:3, 4. Remember: God keeps His promises and it is impossible for God to lie!

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