Mary Hall, Children's Hospital co-founder

  • Article by: BEN COHEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 26, 2008 - 8:04 PM

She was a gifted pediatric psychologist known for considering her young patients' entire environment.

Mary Hall

Marian (Mary) Hall, a former University of Minnesota pediatric psychologist who helped found Children's Hospital of Minneapolis, died of cancer on Oct. 12 at her home in Wabasha, Minn.

She was 92.

She received the Distinguished Achievement Award from the Minnesota Psychologists in Private Practice in 1991 and the Outstanding Achievement Award from the Minnesota Psychological Association in 1995.

Hall, who was on the board of the hospital for many years before it was built, was spurred to help launch it after giving birth to her daughter Becky, who was born prematurely.

"It was very important to my mother to have a hospital for children in Minneapolis," said her daughter Missy Klucas of Wabasha.

In the 1950s, Hall taught at a school for children with brain injuries.

She earned a master's degree in English literature from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

By 1963, she earned a Ph.D. in child psychology at the University of Minnesota, and in 1969, she became director of the school's psychology training program.

She supervised Richard Weinberg in his graduate studies.

"She combined an appreciation of the science of psychology and the art of psychology," said Weinberg, now a University of Minnesota psychology professor, adding that she could relate to people well and considered the entire setting of her young patients, inside and outside their families.

Weinberg said that she was "feisty and bright" and that her students appreciated her "tough love" approach. She regularly held learning sessions at her home.

"She gave a lot of herself, and she expected a lot of her students," said Weinberg.

In the early 1970s, when Children's opened its doors, she joined its staff.

She was its first head of psychological services and "an early advocate in emphasizing the psychological, social development and spiritual issues that children face while they receive medical care," said Don Brunnquell, a psychologist at Children's Hospital.

She was an architect of the Human Ecology Program, where all staff members worked together to better care for children and support their families.

When seeing patients, "she was remarkably able to hear and listen to the distress, issues and joys of the children," said Brunnquell. "She encouraged those same skills with colleagues."

Hall also developed the internship program at the hospital for psychology students and served as a University of Minnesota adjunct professor until 1984.

She moved to Wabasha and had a private practice for about 15 years. Hall and her husband were active in the Wabasha Peace Group, and they worked for Restorative Justice in Minnesota.

Her husband of 65 years, Douglas Hall, died in 2004.

Her daughter Becky Hall died in 2001.

In addition to Missy, she is survived by her other daughters, Kathleen Mavournin of Knoxville, Tenn., and Claire Hall of Wabasha; son Douglas of Rockport, Mass.; sister Ahleen Heynen of Anchorage; nine grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren.

Services will be held at 2 p.m. Nov. 8 at the Villa Maria Center Chapel, 29847 County 2 Blvd., Frontenac.

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