Lewis Rutherfurd Morris Hall
NEW YORK CITY — Lewis Rutherfurd Morris Hall, 85, a resident of New York City and Morris, died peacefully at New York Presbyterian Hospital on Sunday, July 6, 2014.
Mr. Hall was the son of the late Katherine and John H. Hall of Hartsdale and the grandson of the late Dr. and Mrs. Lewis R. Morris of New York City and Manor House Farms in Morris. He was the direct descendant of Lewis Morris, a New York signer of the Declaration of Independence, and General Jacob Morris, one of the earliest settlers of the Butternut Valley immediately following the American Revolution. Lewis was also related to Gouverneur Morris, responsible for the Preamble and editor of the Constitution and an abolitionist well before the Civil War. He was the great-grandson of William Andrews Clark, who was a senator from Montana and a noted art collector.
Lewis was born in New York City, May 7, 1929, and raised in Hartsdale. He attended the Thomas School and Arizona Desert School in Tucson, Ariz., and the Salisbury School in Salisbury, Conn. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Colgate University. He received a master’s degree in business and a second master’s degree in history, both from New York University. After completing his degrees, Lewis taught cultural history at the Brooklyn Friends School.
Wise, humorous, tender and smart (and always recognizable sporting his stylish French beret,) Lewis was a multi-faceted man: a writer, author, lecturer and historian.
He was a noted opera historian with a special interest in the French style of singing. His vast collection of 78 phonographic records covered singing from the early 20th century. In recent years, he produced many CDs around specific themes or artists from his collection. He was on the board of the Vocal Record Collectors Society, for which he produced a number of programs devoted to the early singers of the French Opera House in New Orleans, one of the oldest opera houses in the United States. He was also an avid collector of opera memorabilia that included librettos, scores, photographs, sketches and more, which was recently accepted to the Morgan Library in Manhattan.
He served on the board of the Glimmerglass Opera and was chair of the Music Policy Committee where his deep knowledge of music helped steer many opera seasons. Lewis also served on the Development and History Committees. For more than 20 years, he assembled the annual summer exhibition from his extensive collection on opera history that was enjoyed by all. He was very active in the National Council, opening his home to host many annual winter meetings with beautiful music, keeping the spirit of Glimmerglass alive during the off-season.
Because of his love of history and art, Lewis became an avid member of the Friends of Islamic Art, of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. With his wife, Gemma, he was an enthusiastic and supportive participant of their program.
Lewis is survived by his wife of 51 years, Gemma Stagni Hall; daughter, Angelica Romano; and two grandchildren, Isabella and Luca Romano.
A funeral service will take place at 11 a.m. Saturday, July 19, at All Saints Chapel, Morris. The chapel is located on State Route 51 between Morris and Gilbertsville at the intersection of Dimmock Hollow Road.
In lieu of flowers, contributions in his name may be made to the Glimmerglass Opera, Cooperstown, or Zion Church, Morris.
Online condolences can be made to the family at www.johnstonfh.com.
Arrangements by the Johnston Funeral Home of Morris.
Published on  July 17, 2014