People
5:30 pm
Mon January 28, 2013

Civic Leader Adele Hall Dies At 81

Adele Hall, civic leader and wife of Hallmark Cards chairman Donald J. Hall for nearly 60 years, has died. She was 81.

Adele Coryell Hall was born in 1931 in Lincoln, Nebraska. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Nebraska, with degrees in elementary education and English, in 1953 - the same year she married Don Hall. She reportedly first met her husband "on a family vacation when she was 3 and he was 6, and loved him all her life."

"We've lost a person who was a friend, who was a patron of the arts, who was involved in a lot of different aspects of this city." - Kansas City Mayor Sly James

At first, Adele Hall's career aspirations included becoming a teacher; instead, throughout her life, her philanthropy had a broad focus - health, education, the arts, charitable organizations - but with an ongoing "passion for the needs of children."

A spokesman for Hallmark says Hall died unexpectedly on Saturday while in Hawaii with her husband. The following statement was posted on the Hallmark website:

"The wife of Hallmark Cards, Inc. Chairman Donald J. Hall was a force behind dozens of community initiatives that improved the lives of families in Kansas City and beyond. She will be remembered for her bright smile, genuine kindness and unflagging efforts to work toward a brighter future for all."

The first woman to hold the title of Kansas Citian of the Year in 1990, Adele Hall was also the first woman president of the Heart of America United Way. Hall served as board chairman of Children’s Mercy Hospitals and the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation. She was active with the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, and on the boards of the Pembroke Hill School, Salvation Army, Starlight Theatre and American Red Cross. (Full a full list of her volunteer activities and work, check here).

At a community arts meeting Monday night, just a few hours after hearing about Adele Hall’s death, Kansas City Mayor Sly James told the audience, “We’ve lost a person who was a friend, who was a patron of the arts, who was involved in a lot of different aspects of this city. And I have to tell you I was a little bit stunned and still am."

Adele Hall is survived by her husband, Don, two sons and a daughter, and nine grandchildren.

UPDATE: Visitation services are scheduled for Saturday, February 2, 11 am - 2 pm; and Sunday, February 3, 1 pm - 4 pm, at Stine and McClure Chapel, 3234 Gillham Plaza in Kansas City, Missouri. A Celebration of Life service starts at 4 p.m. Monday, February 4, at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, 6401 Wornall Terrace, Kansas City, Mo.

Instead of flowers, the family suggests contributions to The Children's Mercy Hospital, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, the Pembroke Hill School, The Salvation Army, The United Way of Greater Kansas City, or Wayside Waifs.