Adele Coryell Hall, Civic Leader, 'First Lady of Kansas City,' Dies

Tuesday, 29 Jan 2013 09:13 AM

By Michael Mullins

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Adele Coryell Hall, the "first lady of Kansas City," died Saturday at the age of 81.

Hall, who was married to Donald Joyce Hall, the chairman of Hallmark Cards who survives her, was known for her civic philanthropy and support for art and culture.

"If there ever was a first lady of Kansas City, it was Adele. She was honored and respected by everybody. It’s a major loss for this community," Henry Bloch, founder of H&R Block and a close friend of Hall's, told The Kansas City Star.

Hall's "heart gave out, totally unexpectedly," according to Hallmark Cards Spokesperson Steven Doyal, while she was at home on the Kamuela, an island of Hawaii.

She had breakfast with her husband that morning before she passed and the two looking forward to watching the University of Kansas game, but then she died unexpectedly, Doyal said.

"We lost a great human being," the spokesperson said. "Her greatest passion was in the area of children. She believed passionately in the potential of every child."

Named "Kansas Citian of the Year" by the city's Chamber of Commerce and "Kindest Kansas Citian" by the STOP Violence Coalition, Hall was also the Heart of America United Way's first female president.

Additionally, Hall also served as board chairman of Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri, where she headed multi-million-dollar fundraisers, ran board meetings, and rocked sick infants to sleep, according to The Star.

One of Hall's most philanthropic contributions was organizing the Children’s Mercy Golf Classic annual event, which she established with pro-golfer Tom Watson and raised more than $12 million over the past 25 years. The contributions went to Children’s Mercy Hospital, The Star reports.

"The news of Adele’s death came in the middle of our monthly chamber board meeting, and the entire room fell into stunned silence when it was announced," said Jim Heeter, president of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce. "She was known and loved by virtually everyone around our board table. We observed a long moment of silence in her honor and her memory."

Hall is survived by Donald Joyce Hall, and her children Donald J. Hall Jr., David E. Hall, and Margaret Hall Pence, as well as nine grandchildren.

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