Glen Hallman, who worked tirelessly for Whatcom County seniors, dies at 88


Glen Hallman

Glen Hallman


A memorial service in Bellingham is planned for Glen Hallman, whose dogged work over the decades helped create Whatcom County's network of services, programs and facilities for senior citizens.

Hallman was involved early and often in efforts to provide public transportation for elderly people, to establish senior activity centers throughout the county, and to build the Chuckanut Square, Lincoln Square and Washington Square high-rise apartments for seniors.

"Those things took leadership and vision," said Dewey Desler, executive special project manager for Whatcom County. "Glen, more than anyone, was the father for those."

Hallman died Nov. 16 at Warm Beach Senior Community, a Free Methodist Church complex in Stanwood that Hallman helped develop. He was 88.

"This is a giant of a man in the community," said Desler, who worked with Hallman for years when Desler was director of the Northwest Regional Council.

Hallman was a tireless, persistent advocate for the elderly, said Victoria Doerper, who recently retired as executive director of the Regional Council.

"No matter where he was or what he was doing, he was always looking out for making things better for people," she said. "It's like the passing of an era."

Born in Iowa, Hallman attended college after serving in World War II. With a master's degree in public health, he moved to Washington and became a health and safety inspector of nursing homes. He then went to work for Whatcom County Health Department, rising in the administrative ranks.

Starting in the late 1950s and early '60s, Hallman had a hand in the development of virtually every important local program for seniors, including the high-rise apartments, and the Whatcom County Council on Aging, one of the first such agencies in the country. Hallman was its first president and served on the board until his death.

Through the council, federal funds began to support transportation, nutrition and employment programs for local seniors.

Hallman also was involved in the creation of the Northwest Regional Council, which operates as Northwest Washington's Area Agency on Aging; and the Opportunity Council, which oversees an array of social services' and the Retired Senior Volunteer Program, which became today's Whatcom Volunteer Center.

He later was director of the Northwest Air Pollution Authority in Mount Vernon, retiring in 1987.

Hallman also was active in his church and in prison ministry. Later, he cared for his wife while she had dementia, taking her with him to agency meetings, the senior center and elsewhere.

"He always cared for her, stood by her side," said Richard Walsh, a good friend and general manager of Whatcom Transportation Authority.

Desler, who visited Hallman the day he left hospice care to die at Warm Beach Senior Community, said public service was a big part of Hallman's vision and calling.

"It was so selfless," Desler said. "He's a model for everyone."


What: Memorial service for Glen Hallman.

When: 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14.

Where: Light & Life Christian Fellowship, 3800 Dana Road, Bellingham.

Reach Dean Kahn at 360-715-2291 or

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