On January 16, 2022, the heavens opened and welcomed home an angel, her name is Wendy Hall.
She blessed this Earth for 70 years, touching lives where ever she went. Wendy was so many things, to us a mentor and beloved friend. How fortunate we are to have spent time and space with her, having known her made us better people. There weren’t many days that Wendy didn’t drive up to us on the Refuge in her little grey car to say Hello, and share her dreams of what she wanted to implement for the betterment of this World.
Her days were filled with thoughts and ways of how to touch people and compel others to care for God’s amazing creations. We were birds of feather and we surely flocked together. Wendy’s love for nature compelled us to use every skill we had for the good of creatures great and small and some of the accomplishments we are most proud of were because Wendy encouraged us along the way. She had an amazing way of making us feel like geniuses and idiots all at the same time. God only knows she knew so much more than we did but she never made us feel insignificant in her presence.
She was an amazing artist, our art in comparison to hers was like a 4-year old’s finger painting project but she treated them like Picassos. She LOVED chocolate and it wasn’t uncommon to see Wendy on the go with chocolate on her face. It was obvious she thoroughly enjoyed her treats that she frequently bought down the road at Adirondack Chocolates. We shared her love for this sweet treat and due to her suggestions, ate more chocolate than we probably should have. Wendy had a profound love for birds of all shapes, sizes and species and was an expert falconer which took years of training and experience.
I once asked her what her favorite animal was and to my great surprise she said, “Sloths.” Only Wendy would choose an animal that urinates through its skin and smelt like a living toilet. She chose to see their beauty before their foul smell. There honestly wasn’t a creature Wendy didn’t love. She was involved with everything my husband and I did as Apiarists and Lepidopterists and dreamed with us on implementing educational programs to advocate for the amazing creatures we call bees and butterflies. I often ran up to her with bugs I had found. Each time she looked at them fondly as I rambled on about how cool I thought they were and what I knew about them. Nothing was off the table to talk about when it came to Wendy.
It wasn’t hard to fall in love with both Wendy & Steve, such compassionate and loving people. They made the Refuge feel like home and we were always excited for one more day of their presence. Wendy was my litter thug soul mate, the only other person I knew that despised pollution as much as I did. The careless act of people treating this planet like a trash can profoundly hurt her heart and mine. We often took walks along the trails on the Refuge, snatching up any litter that we spotted. She agreed that condemning people for their careless acts of negligence towards nature was not the way to promote change. Instead, it was her will to move hearts to promote change and this could be accomplished by sharing the love in our hearts for nature and that that love would be received.
This World seems so empty without her beautiful face and we grasp onto hope, our faith to speak to our hearts and believe one day we will be in her presence again. I can only dream that when my time here on Earth is over, like her, I will have made a mark on this world that will be remembered for centuries to come.
We will never stop talking about Wendy’s beautiful presence and we are determined to keep her memory alive forever.
To the best friend we ever had, “We Love You More Wendy”!!!!!
Jackie , I am so sorry for your loss and the loss her family feels. I did not know Wendy like you did but the two times I did meet her during my numerous visits to the refuge, she was a pleasure . How you and others have spoken of Wendy reminds me of the following written by Elizabeth Ammons:
You can shed tears because they are gone, or you can smile because they lived. You can close your eyes and pray they will come back, or you can open your eyes and see all that they left for you. Your heart can be empty because you can’t see them, or you can be full of the love you shared. You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday , or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday. You can remember only that they are gone, or you can cherish their memory and let it live on. You can cry and close your mind and feel empty, or you can do what they would want. Smile, Open your heart, Love and go on .
Beautiful thoughts. Thank you for sharing them.
You are very welcome Keith , those same thoughts helped me when I lost someone very close . .
Of the many times I found injured, abandoned birds, Wendy took them in, nursed them to health and released. She had such compassion and a voice for the wild things that had no voice of their own. Dear Wendy, you are sorely missed 💔
l I had the privilege and honor of meeting Wendy and spending the major part of a day with her. We toured the Refuge and heard the ‘song of the wolves’ when feeding time was approaching.
I particularly remember the crow Wendy fostered that followed her everywhere and sat on her foot a great deal of the time!
She was truly a blessing to us, to the Adirondacks and to posterity.
What a lovely remembrance, thank you.
Beautifully written, Jackie. Yes, she was an amazing woman. Now she can rest
knowing that she has left her mark on the Adirondacks. You were lucky to have
known her in such a special way. Thank you for writing with so much passion.
Condolences to you at this sad time. Take care.
What a lovely tribute you have written. We are all sorry to hear about the loss of such a wonderful animal advocate and teacher. So glad that you all are continuing the great work of the ADK Wildlife Refuge.
My only take on the Halls was a news story from the slant of the DEC. My reaction was cut and dried … “Good, shut ’em down!” Now, I read Jackie’s love letter from someone who really knows Wendy and Steve, and am led to and an article written right after Wendy died and a YouTube video about their passion. I realize now I was wrong. My heart cries as I understand the compassion this couple has toward God’s weakened wild critters. Thank you Adirondack Almanack for giving us the big picture.
Jackie, thank you for the beautiful tribute to my mother. While emotional reading it, I couldn’t help but laugh about your comment regarding chocolate and her love of sloths (she and I have that in common btw 🥰). There are no words to describe my appreciation to you and your husband for your endless support of my parents and their endeavors over the years. Fondly, Emily (Wendy’s oldest daughter)
Adk Wild;s founders were deeply impacted by Wendy and Steve and AWR, each in our own way. Attending their wildlife festival was a highight of our year, as was listening to Wendy at Raptor Fest. Jackie, thank you for this memorable, expressive, fitting essay about Wendy.
Thank you so much for reminding us how grateful we all are who knew Wendy! I hoped this day would never come, but to know her pain is gone and she will work from the other side, makes me smile. Her joy and sadness for this place we call Earth, will help make all of us better conservationists and caretakers of it’s creatures and the places they live! Like I told Steve, whenever I hear the owls, I know it is Wendy telling me hello! Miss seeing you but your spirit will always be near us!
Beautifully said Jackie! Funny I didn’t know it was a sloth & never would have guessed it! Wendy was def one of a kind & it was so remarkable to watch her wirk her magic. Not surprising our outings usually inc critters in some way. I have no doubt she’s working her healing magic still from the other side. I will treasure my Wendy memories always!