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Business leader Ronald Hall Sr. dies at age 72

Breana Noble
The Detroit News

Ronald Hall Sr. — an entrepreneur and business leader who launched Detroit’s Bridgewater Interiors LLC, led several other auto supply businesses and turned a state minority business development group into one of the country’s leading minority business organizations — died Wednesday at the age of 72.

“Mr. Hall built Bridgewater into not just a premier automotive supplier, but a force for positive change in our community,” Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said in a statement. “He was a businessman who wasn’t satisfied with success alone and believed strongly in giving back. On behalf of all Detroiters, our deepest sympathies go out to his friends and family.”

Bridgewater Interiors LLC, an automotive seating manufacturing company, announced the death of its founder and chairman of its board of directors in a press release, saying only that Mr. Hall died from an “extended illness.”

“My father leaves a legacy of commitment to helping others and, especially, the pursuit of equal economic opportunity for all communities,” Ron Hall Jr., who became Bridgewater Interiors’ president and CEO in October 2015, said in a statement. “These convictions inspire our work as we continue his legacy. Our sadness is tempered by the knowledge that he remains with us in spirit.”

Mr. Hall opened Bridgewater Interiors in November 1998 as a joint venture with Johnson Controls, serving as the president and CEO until his son took over.

“Ron Hall Sr. was a great partner to Johnson Controls and the automotive industry,” Bruce McDonald, vice chairman of Johnson Controls, said in the release. “He was a trusted friend and leader who had remarkable compassion for the communities his businesses served.”

Mr. Hall also was president and CEO of Troy-based Renaissance Capital Alliance, an equipment leasing company, and owned Departure Travel Management in Birmingham. He also was chairman and CEO of Detroit’s New Center Stamping, an automotive service parts stamping facility.

Mr. Hall was known for turning the Michigan Minority Supplier Business Development Council into one of America’s minority business development organization leaders during his tenure as president, from 1992 to October 1998. Its minority business and corporate membership more than doubled under his leadership.

Gov. Rick Snyder appointed Mr. Hall to the board of trustees at his alma mater, Western Michigan University, in 2012. He graduated in 1965 with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and was a member of Alpha Phi Alpha, the African-American fraternity on campus. His term on the board of trustees ran thorugh 2020.

Mr. Hall earned his master’s degree in business administration from Wayne State University.

Hall is survived by his wife, Ann Durel Hall; four sons, Ronald Jr., Kahn, Roman and Erik; and nine grandchildren.

No announcement about funeral arrangements or memorials has been made.

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