Videos & Speeches

All of us in our lives from time to time hear of the passing, the death of someone we know. Sometimes it’s family, often friends, someone we are only vaguely acquainted with. This past week, we learned of the death of a Kansas City resident, Adele Hall. That passing so personally saddens me because Adele Hall was a person with such optimism and so engaged in improving the lives of others.

Kansas City, in fact, lost one of their greatest champions when Adele Hall passed away. She was a longtime resident of Kansas City and Adele was well known and well loved, highly respected for her acts of service and kindness to others. When she wasn't serving on a board of a nonprofit, she was raising funds for a worthy cause or volunteering with children. My guess is that she probably was doing all those things at once.

Adele, I am sure, had the financial resources to live a life different than in service to others, but she chose to commit her life to making sure others had the chance for success that she had. She grew up in Lincoln, NE, and she was an avid—I’m wearing red today in her honor—she was an avid Nebraska fan.

But there in Nebraska, she learned the importance of giving back by watching her own parents volunteer, especially with the Salvation Army. As a young woman, she developed a love for children and later became involved in so many organizations that cared for their health and education and well-being. Adele never lost faith in the potential of a young person's life.

One of her greatest passions was working with children at Children's Mercy Hospital. Adele served as chairman of the board there and together with the help of professional golfer Tom Watson, she established the Children's Mercy Golf Classic, which over a quarter of a century has raised more than $10 million for Children's Mercy. Adele also used her expertise to bless children nationwide through her work as a member of the National Commission for Children.

Those boards and that service was important to her, but it was always the personal touch, not just serving on a board and making decisions about a hospital or the children it cared for, but personally caring for the children in the hospital.

Her actions were guided by a belief in the value of each and every individual. She lived out that Biblical teaching “love your neighbor as yourself,” through her service as the first woman president of the United Way of Greater Kansas City. Adele always looked for the best in others and worked to bring people together. Her efforts were always at bringing a diverse group of opinionated people together in a way that would solve a problem.

She was an inspiration for other women, and she co-founded the Central Exchange and the Women's Public Service Network in Kansas City to help women embrace their careers and develop skills to pursue leadership positions.

She also served as the board chairman of the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation and actively participated on boards of Pembroke Hill School, Salvation Army, Starlight Theatre, and the American Red Cross. To recognize Adele's years of service to the Kansas City community, she was named Kansas Citizen of the Year; the first woman to hold that title.

In an era when we sometimes wonder what difference one person can make, Adele proved that one person is all it takes to touch the lives of others. I’ve always believed that what we do here in the nation's capitol is important, but the reality is we change the world one soul, one person at a time. And Adele Hall lived that life and made that difference each and every day. By investing her time, talents, and treasure in the community where she lived, she made a difference one life at a time. Her involvement in her community, her selflessness serves as an inspiration, a role model to every American.

Adele was loved. I never met a person who didn’t love and respect Adele Hall, and everyone who knew her loved and admired her and saw her as a special person. No doubt, especially she was loved by her family. She was known by a saying, “Leave the dishes in the sink and play with your kids,” and her family benefited from that kind of philosophy, her wholehearted dedication to each of them.

She was married to her husband Don for nearly 60 years and was a devoted wife and a loving mother to their three children. I ask the Senate to join me today in extending our heartfelt sympathies to her husband Don, her sons Donald and David, her daughter Margaret, and her nine grandchildren. She was loved by them dearly, and she will be greatly missed.

Adele once said that voluntarism is a “belief in love,” and her love will be forever remembered by the lives she changed for the better. If your value in life is whether or not you made a difference while you were here, Adele Hall lived that life and contributed so greatly to others. God bless her for her life and let her be a role model for all of us.