Former Mt. Pleasant Mayor Harry Hallman dies at 76

MT. PLEASANT, SC (WCSC) - Former Mt. Pleasant Mayor Harry Hallman died Saturday morning. At a press conference at the Mt. Pleasant Town Hall, officials said Hallman passed away in his driveway while getting his newspaper.

According to the Charleston County Coroner's Office, Hallman died of natural causes at his Mt. Pleasant home around 10 a.m. His wife was, Shirley "Brooke" Hallman, was with him when he passed.

Hallman resigned as mayor in May 2009, almost one year after announcing he had been diagnosed with early stages of Alzheimer's disease.

Hallman, who had been mayor since 2000, said he could no longer be effective at his job and called stepping down one of the most difficult decisions of his life.

"I've known Harry Hallman for almost 40 years and he's probably one of the best public servants the state, the country will ever know - especially for the town of Mt. Pleasant," Mt. Pleasant Mayor Billy Swails said.

Prior to his two terms as mayor, Hallman served as a state lawmaker from 1988 to 1996.

"Its overwhelming that we lost Harry," Swails said. "We knew eventually we were going to lose him but we didn't know this quick. Last time I saw Harry was Thursday at 5 o'clock and I thought he was doing great, his wife being a paramedic she knew more about it. She kept us pretty well informed that he was not doing well."

At his retirement, Hallman said his greatest accomplishment was the building of the Medal of Honor Museum on the USS Yorktown on Patriot's Point.

"The death of former Mayor Harry Hallman is a cause of great sadness for the Lowcountry," Charleston Mayor Joe Riley said Saturday. "He was a dedicated public servant and always had a positive approach to governing and problem solving. His methods were always goal oriented and he was a 'doer'. Harry Hallman leaves an extraordinary legacy of great achievement and progress in Mount Pleasant which benefited the town and the entire Lowcountry."

A retired oil executive and stock market investor, Hallman was elected to the position of Mayor in Sept. 2000 and re-elected in 2004. He was born in Greenwood on July 30, 1934.

"He did so many wonderful things for so many people not just in Mt. Pleasant but for the state of South Carolina. We're going to miss him deeply," said town administrator Eric Demoura.

Hallman was graduate of the University of South Carolina, earning a BS degree in business administration in1958. Hallman was awarded an honorary doctor of humanity letters degree from the University of Charleston.

"I've been with him almost everyday for the last two years," said one of Hallman's friends Bobby Bryant. "His mind was sharp as a tack even the last day we were with him on Thursday."

Hallman is survived by his wife, Shirley "Brooke" Hallman, their three children, Harry Robert, Therese Ruth and Catherine Lois, and six grandchildren.

Hallman's funeral is scheduled for Wednesday at 1p.m. at the Presbyterian Church on Hibben Street. Visitation will be held from 2p.m. to 4p.m. and 6p.m. to 8p.m. on Tueday at J. Henry Stuhr's Mount Pleasant Chapel.

Copyright WCSC 2011. All rights reserved.