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Foster parent of year took in more than 500 kids

AurellM. 'Ora' Hall Aurorpassed away Tuesday February 12 2013. She was 97 years old.

Aurella M. "Ora" Hall of Aurora passed away Tuesday, February 12, 2013. She was 97 years old.

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Updated: March 17, 2013 6:11PM

The Aurora household of Aurella “Ora” Hall and her husband Foster was a constant whirlwind of activity.

Ora Hall, who passed away Tuesday at age 96, had been awarded Kane County’s Foster Parent of the Year — not once, but twice, after taking in more than 500 foster children in an almost 40-year period.

Those foster children, who arrived through county and state agencies, ranged in age from newborns to teenagers, said her daughter, Frances Elliott of Wheaton. Many came from troubled homes. And some were special needs children Hall fostered through high school, including a boy who suffered from cerebral palsy after his birth mother threw him against a wall when he was a newborn.

Another foster brother, said Elliott, was diagnosed with a severe neck issue that made it impossible for him to face forward. She said her mother massaged the boy’s neck daily, and eventually the problem went away.

Ora Hall’s big heart was always on display, said Elliott, who got used to having so many foster siblings around, even after she married and had children of her own. Ora was part of the foster care program through the late 1970s. Not only did she stay in touch with many of those kids after they had moved on to other homes, Elliott said, she stayed in contact with their natural or adopted parents and grandparents.

“She just loved children,” Hall’s daughter said. “There was always something going on.

In addition to fostering hundreds of children, Ora Hall was also a long-time member of the Salvation Army, and worked for many years in its food pantry.

In addition, she was active in the South Park Fire District Auxiliary. Her husband Foster was chief of the fire district — and back in those days, said Elliott, emergency calls came in through a phone in the house. She said her parents also seemed to always be hosting a parade of family coming through the house for coffee and chit-chat.

Ora Hall was born May 4, 1916, in Minot, N.D., but spent most of her life in Aurora. She was married to Foster Hall, who owned J.B. Reed Motor Express, until his death in 1985.

The funeral service will be at 10 a.m. Friday at Healy Chapel in Aurora. Burial will be at Lincoln Memorial Park. Memorials may be directed to the Salvation Army.

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