Matt Hall died quietly, Thursday in his apartment. Matt was a friend of mine, but he would not want anyone to be upset over his passing. He was in his mid eighties. I doubt anyone in here knew Matt, but he was well known by a lot of Illinois dealers and he loved motorcycles. I don't know Matt's timeline perfectly, but it seems to me that he was riding motorcycles before many of our parents were born. In his tons of things he saved, I saw an awesome picture of him sitting on his Indian motorcycle as a very young man. His sidecar was piled high with his newspaper route's daily burden. I managed to nab one of his pictures from the piles, which I had framed and dislpayed in our waiting area a few months back. The picture is from 1963, and dipicts Matt giving SIU parachute club members a ride back from the drop point on the back of (I think) a CZ motorcycle. He would pick them up one at a time from the landing area (his front 10 acres) and return them to civilization (their van in his driveway). Matt told me that he rode a motorcycle in WW2. I don't know exactly what he did, but he told me about one of his missions. I don't know where he was stationed, but his duty was to deliver a message to a general named Patton. Matt said when he got to his destination and delivered his message, General Patton offered him a grape soda. Matt started his business life selling newspapers, but soon he decided he wanted to be closer to the thing he loved most. Thus, Speede Service was born. His first motorcycle line was Indian. He carried the V-twins and was proud to sell them. He told me when Indian's in line twin came out he was so pleased with smoothness of the engine, and the overall quality of the machine. Who really knows what happened to the Indian company, but Matt picked up other lines to deal with the adversity of the changing business world. He carried CZ, BMW, Jawa, I think Moto-Guzzi, and probably a couple others that I don't know about, but in 1962 he decided to take a chance on a little known Japanese company called Yamaha. Anti-Japanese sentiment was hign in the country, and I'm sure Matt thought twice about supporting the nation he had sworn to defeat just 20 years earlier. As any great business man would though, he put his personal feelings aside and took a chance on what he thought was a quality product. Well companies come and companies go, and the seventies were a turbulent time. CZ and Jawa enjoyed great success in the late sixties/early seventies. So did Matt Hall. "That was a great time to sell motorcycles" Matt told me once. Yamaha and the all the others were full steam ahead building and competeing with their offerings. Matt told me at one time there were something like 20 different lines of bikes to choose from in an area where probably less than ten reside today. Jawa, Hodaka, Penton, Husky, Enfield, BSA, if they had 2 wheels Matt liked them. Just like Indian though, for one reason or another, most of the lines Matt carried in the early seventies had pulled the rug out from under him by the late seventies. By the time the eighties rolled around, Matt had only one brand left that he could really count on. Yamaha kept Speede Service alive in a time when interest rates made it pretty hard to sell luxury items. Matt's dedication to the sport and quality customer service kept the Speede Service fires burning bright also. My first encounter with Matt Hall was in 1990. I was fixing bikes for people to try to supplement my SIU college expenses, and I was working on a TX 750 in particular. When I walked up to Matt at the counter and asked to order a new clutch basket, he impressed me by having one in stock. With out question I could sense his pride with my satisfaction. My college carrer progressed, and so did my mechanical abilities, and the next meaningful encounter was me asking Matt for a job. He didn't need any techs at the time, so he would have to wait a few years until he did need me. The next meaningful time we met, Matt showed his true love for the sport, by turning his life's work over to 2 punk kids. 2 punk kids who were offering less money than other people who had tried to buy his business. 2 punk kids who desperately needed a kind old man to give them a chance. 2 punk kids that he knew loved the sport as much as he did. 2 punk kids that are proud and thankful to say they knew Matt Hall. Matt was one of the key players that helped me get my start, and for that I will always remember him fondly. He truly is a little piece of motorcycle history, and the industry was lucky to have him. Matt's wife left him last year after 50+ years of marriage. Matt was a religious man, and he was confident that our sorrow for Cathrine was wasted, as she was bound for a new wonderful adventure. Matt was ready to join her when the powers that be were ready to take him, but not a minute sooner. He lived in a small apartment by himself, and was fully capable of taking care of himself-I hope I can be so well when I'm in my eighties. He had confided to me what a great life he felt that he experienced, and he was very realistic about a man's alloted time on this earth. Matt would not want anyone to be sad about his passing, as he felt he would be bound for a new adventure with his beloved Cathrine. Too bad Matt, I simply can't contain my sorrw. I miss you already. You were a friend and mentor to me.