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
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.
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
- 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
- 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
you, father, for your ethnicity
you for letting each of your children pursue their own path
thank you for marrying Mother
Amy told this story:
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
Stephen played an audio clip:
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."
Played an audio clip of Herbert's speech class, recorded in 1934
when he was in 7th grade in Brooklyn.
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
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."
Following the service,
we had a lovely reception in the church hall. Here are some pictures. Hover for
Later in the day, the
immediate family enjoyed a dinner at Central Seafood, our favorite Chinese
restaurant in White Plains.
All photos and text by Stephen Hall