Four years after he died, Steve Hall is still making an impact at Grandview Heights High School.
Hall died Feb. 17, 2015, at age 44 after a long battle with colon cancer. The Steve Hall Memorial Fund was established after the math teacher's death.
For three years, the fund has provided annual scholarships to two students at Grandview High School and one student at Hall's alma mater, Wayne Trace High School in Haviland.
"It's his lasting legacy," said Grandview math teacher Kevin Richards.
"The impact Steve had on our community and our school was incredible," Richards said. "What is so gratifying is seeing that his legacy is continuing at our school, even though none of our students had him as a teacher."
Students held the latest edition of the Funk Ball on Feb. 9 at the school.
"After Steve was diagnosed with cancer, the kids wanted to raise money for the family to help with his medical expenses," Richards said. "They called it the 'Funk Ball for Hall.' After Steve passed away, they continued to want to hold the event to raise money to provide scholarships in Steve's name."
This year's event raised $870, he said.
Both Hall and Richards were part of an informal group, mostly Grandview and Marble Cliff residents, who called themselves the Fat Man.
"It was just a humorous name we came up with," Richards said. "We'd get together and play basketball. We still get together and play basketball on Thursday nights, participate in an indoor golf league and other things."
Hall was one of the key members of the Fat Man; his good nature influenced the atmosphere when the group got together, Marble Cliff Village Council President Matt Cincione said.
"He really enjoyed the camaraderie and the humor," he said. "He helped make things really fun when we were together."
It was a bitter irony for the Fat Man that the day Hall died was Fat Tuesday, Richards said.
Members of the Fat Man created the memorial fund to honor their friend, he said.
Since Hall's death, they have gathered each year on Fat Tuesday at Woodland's Backyard to celebrate Hall's life.
"The guys in our group, as wonderful as they are, always bring their checkbook to the gathering to make a donation to the memorial fund," Richards said.
This year's gathering will be held at 8 p.m. Tuesday, March 5, at Woodland's, 668 Grandview Ave.
Anyone who would like to join in the celebration is invited to attend, Richards said.
"It's just a chance to get together and share some memories about Steve and have a lot of laughs telling Steve stories," he said. "It's a fun night for all of us, except Steve's not there."
"It's really a low-key kind of event," Cincione said. "We get together, have a drink and make a toast to Steve's memory."
Donations to the memorial fund will be accepted at the event and also may be sent to Richards care of Grandview Heights High School, 1587 W. Third Ave., Columbus 43212.
Seniors are invited to apply each year for memorial scholarships, which vary in size from year to year, Richards said.
"We look to recognize students who share some of the same characteristics that defined Steve," he said.
Hall was dedicated to making the world a better place, Richards said.
"He majored in engineering and was working in a position with Brink Heat, helping take care of some of their accounts," he said. "Steve would travel all around for his job, to Phoenix, Austin, San Francisco and England. It was an incredible job, but he'd say, 'I don't think I'm having any impact on the community or the state of the world.' "
Richards said his friend and former college roommate decided he wanted to go back to school and become a teacher.
"I asked him if he was sure this was what he wanted to do, because he wasn't going to be making half the money as a teacher," he said. "That didn't matter to Steve. He wanted to make a difference."
Hall served as a student teacher in Richards' classroom.
Just after Hall earned his education degree, two math teachers retired at Grandview High School, and he joined the school's staff in fall 1997.
Hall, a former Ohio State University men's basketball player who stood 6 feet 8 inches tall, spent the next 18 years at the school, teaching math and serving as a coach for girls basketball and tennis and an assistant coach for boys basketball.