Reflecting on the life of Adele Hall

My darling daughter Anya, who lives in Kansas City, just texted me that Adele Hall died. Reading Anya’s words, I began crying. We all have people who impact our lives, who are role models and mentors, who are just so fundamentally “Good” that they define what being a human is all about. I consider myself privileged and honored to have known, respected, and loved Adele.


Adele Hall has been the devoted wife of Don Hall, head of Hallmark Cards for 60 years, falling in love with him when she was three years old. You think Hallmark Cards are mulchy? This is for real. On Saturday, at age 81, while eating breakfast and working her email, she collapsed at a family home in Hawaii, leaving countless people devastated by the sudden loss of her shining light.

My Dearest and I moved to Bozeman from Kansas City nearly a decade ago. Adele and I stayed in touch, sharing an interest in many philanthropies and how to actually get things done. In Kansas City, Dearest and I were next door neighbors and friends of Adele’s son Don Jr. and Jill, while also living around the corner from Adele and Don. We partied together, we dined, we talked, we worked on non-profits. I learned all I could from her as she spent a lifetime championing causes, pioneering organizations, connecting people with her gentle but firm
guidance, lending her name, expertise, and much time to many, many causes. She has been, along with Shirley Helzberg, one the great ladies of Kansas City.

I am grappling for words, as my sorrow is immense. Adele’s passing is the dimming of a force of nature. She will long be remembered, and her influence on organizations will long continue, but it is so unexpected, so sudden, so final. It points out, yet again, how fragile life is, and how precious those are who strive to make the world a better place. She gave, and gave, and gave, and never really expected anything in return other than helping to make life more positive. It’s time for a moment (or more) of reflecting on those gone,and those still alive, who have touched us with their pure spirit.

I already miss you Adele. And so does Kansas City.