New York Times Portraits of Grief
Richard B. Hall liked to tell his wife, Donna, that life was good. "''I'm a happy guy'; that's what he used to always say to me," she said.
At 49, he was a senior vice president at the Aon Corporation , enjoying work, staying in shape by shooting hoops and playing golf with such dedication that he dreamed of one day joining the senior pro tour.
But his greatest joy came from his family. His son, Shawn, 15, from a previous marriage, was "the light of his life," Mrs. Hall said.
Mr. Hall would pick up his son once a week and bring him home to Purchase, N.Y., for dinner and television. He called the evenings with his son his "Shawn nights," said Al Willbee, who considered Mr. Hall his best friend. "You couldn't get him to break those appointments for the life of you," Mr. Willbee said. Mr. Hall regularly took his son to see his grandparents, Ruth and Herman Hall.
Mr. Hall was devoted to his stepdaughter, Katie Holster, Mrs. Hall's daughter from her first marriage. He talked about her so much that people were surprised to learn that she was not his own daughter.
As Ms. Holster progressed through high school, Mr. Hall would tell his wife not to worry about college expenses, because wherever she wanted to go, they would find the money for it. When it came to what he would do for his stepdaughter, "the sky was the limit," Mrs. Hall said.
In June, Ms. Holster was her high school's valedictorian. Mr. Hall, his wife recalled, said jokingly, "I wish I could take credit for her brains, but I can't."