KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Adele Coryell Hall, local philanthropist and wife of Hallmark chairman Donald J. Hall, has died. She was 81 years old.
According to the Hall Family Foundation, Adele passed away while in Hawaii with her husband on Jan. 26.
She and Don first met while Adele was on a family vacation in Colorado -- he was 6 years old, and she was 3. They were married for almost 60 years.
Don described her as a "true mommy" and an example to their children and grandchildren, a statement from the foundation said. She was also remembered as an "effervescent, gracious and compassionate" leader who brought people together.
Former President George H. W. Bush offered his condolences to the Hall family.
"Barbara and I loved Adele Hall dearly and were devastated to hear of her sudden passing. She was one of God's most special people -- one of the original and most generous Points of Light -- whose caring compassion and selflessness touched so many lives in her beloved Kansas City and far beyond," Bush said in a statement Monday night. "The entire Bush family sends our love and condolences to Don and his wonderful family."
Sister Berta Sailer, with Operation Breakthrough, said Adele was respectful, generous and -- most of all -- humble.
"I'm amazed at everything she's done, and how quietly she's done stuff," Sailer said. "It wasn't 'Look at me, look what I did today.'"
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Adele was on the boards of several local organizations, including Children's Mercy Hospital, the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation, Pembroke Hill School, the Salvation Army, Starlight Theatre and the American Red Cross. She also served as the first female president of the Heart of America United Way.
She was named Kansas Citian of the Year in 1990.
Leawood Mayor Peggy Dunn said Adele's death is a loss for the Kansas City area.
"I can't think of anyone I admired more," Dunn said. "This is an incredible loss not just for her family, but for the entire community."
According to the Hall Family Foundation, Adele had a special place in her heart for Children's Mercy Hospital. She created the Children's Mercy Golf Classic with golfer Tom Watson -- an event that raised more than $10 million for the hospital over 25 years.
Randall O'Donnell, president and CEO of Children's Mercy, described Adele as "our greatest supporter and friend" in a statement Monday evening.
"There are not enough superlatives to describe our grief. Adele Hall was a true champion of Children's Mercy," he said. "She and her family have made numerous, significant gifts and she leaves a legacy of generosity and commitment to this hospital and community."
Senator Pat Roberts remembered Adele as "a remarkable lady who brought a grace and elegance to everything she touched."
"The heavens are a little brighter tonight because they have a shining star in Adele Hall," Roberts said in a statement Monday.
The United Way of Greater Kansas City and the Nelson-Atkins Museum also released statements saying she will be missed.
Adele was born Adele Coryell on October 7, 1931 in Lincoln, Neb. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Nebraska in 1953, and married Don Hall later that year.
She is survived by her husband, Don; sons Donald Hall Jr. and his wife Jill, and David Hall and his wife Laura; daughter Margaret Hall Pence and her husband Keith; and nine grandchildren.
Funeral arrangements are pending, but they will be handled by Stine & McClure Chapel in Kansas City, Mo.
The family asks that anyone who would like to honor Adele make a donation to Children's Mercy Hospital, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, the Pembroke Hill School, the Salvation Army, United Way of Greater Kansas City or Wayside Waifs.