Memorial Service for Herbert S. Hall

The service was a fitting memorial to my father's life. Thank you to everyone who attended in body or spirit. For those who couldn't make it, here is a recap.  (–Stephen M. Hall)

The service was held at Trinity Episcopal Church, Ossining, NY on March 27, 2010. Read the program (includes an obituary). Reverend Charles Pridemore presided. Note: if you have trouble viewing the file, try right-clicking on the link then choosing "Save target as..." to save it to your computer and open it from there.   The church was decorated for Lent, meaning there were minimal decorations. However, we did receive a beautiful flower arrangement from a dear friend in California and Father Charles allowed us to place this with the Urn at the front of the church. In addition, family members wore or carried carnations (thank you, Andy, for arranging this). I took some pictures prior to the service (before the flowers arrived). Click on the thumbnails for full-size version. Note that many of the thumbnails are cropped from the originals.


 Trinity Episcopal Church Guest book in the back of the churchIn the Church  

Here's a close-up of the photo poster, showing Herbert in all stages of life.  


Father Pridemore's Homily:

  • Herbert will be missed
  • Too often, families seem to get together only on the occasion of a serious illness or death
  • We should remember to reach out to our families at all times. We should call each other more frequently.

Steven Possell's remembrance (he is Stephen Hall's brother-in-law):

  • The word that comes to mind is "patriarch"
  • Herbert set the tone for the family
  • He was the quintessential head of the household, paying close attention to everyone's lives, providing support when needed


  • He once told me a about an incident of boys taunting and threatening him  in early childhood that made a huge impression on his life. It made him determined to be accepted not just as a Chinese American, but as an American
  • I thought he could do anything and knew everything ... he was very accomplished in many areas
  • He always wanted to win ... we could never beat him at any games
  • He sparked my interest in photography and art, and taught me how to use a camera and darkroom
  • He wanted all of his children to be as accomplished as he was, which was sometimes mistaken as criticism
  • I appreciate his guidance and advice


  • Thank you, father, for your ethnicity
  • Thank you for letting each of your children pursue their own path
  • And thank you for marrying Mother

Amy told this story:

I was visiting my parents in Florida many years ago. Two sandhill cranes were flying overhead. One of them suddenly dropped out the sky, dead in the back yard. The second crane flew down and stood on the gound next to its mate. It stayed for a few hours and kept looking at the dead bird. Finally, it flew away. I imagined it beginning the next phase of its life. And now I see my mother, married for 65 years, faced with starting the next phase of her life.


  • Played an audio clip of Herbert's speech class, recorded in 1934 when he was in 7th grade in Brooklyn. Hear it now.
  • Explained that he never learned a word of Chinese, but worked hard to lose his Brooklyn accent (which he did)
  • Described Herbert as an artist -- in word, song, photography, and writing
  • Read a letter written by Father to his children, when he turned 60 years old in 1983. The letter sums up his values, and praises his children for learning them. Stephen: "As I'm turning 60 myself next year, it's appropriate to read this letter to my children to whom it also applies." Read the letter
Stephen played an audio clip: "Let's hear Herbert's voice, filling the church, one last time. This is "Libera me", a selection from Messe de Requiem. It was performed in Kenmore, NY, on Palm Sunday, April 3, 1966. Thirty minutes into the performance "Libera me" -- the pensive melody sung by the baritone is accompanied by a solemnly pulsating ostinato on low pizzicato strings." Hear it now.

Following the service, we had a lovely reception in the church hall. Here are some pictures. Hover for captions.

Later in the day, the immediate family enjoyed a dinner at Central Seafood, our favorite Chinese restaurant in White Plains.  

Michael, Katelein, Nancy, and Gregory The Whole Family

All photos and text by Stephen Hall