Colleen “CoCo” McCrea Hall, age 63, died April 8, 2014 in her home in Chapel Hill, NC after courageously battling cancer for more than 27 years. CoCo was born September 29, 1950 in Baltimore, MD to Betty Carl McCrea and the late Edward Wesley McCrea. In 1968, she graduated from Towson High School where many lifelong friendships began. On May 31, 1975, Coco married Daniel F. Hall, also of Baltimore, and in 1980 they started their family in Arlington Heights, IL with the births of their son Ryan and, sixteen months later, their daughter Megan.
Over the next 17 years, CoCo was a proud and busy homemaker. She supported Dan’s demanding corporate career and travel schedule, maintained the household, helped raise Ryan and Megan, managed nine family moves between Ohio, North Carolina, Indiana, New Hampshire, and Illinois and still found time to earn her Associates Degree, with honors, in Marketing and Sales. In reference letters, professors applauded her leadership qualities, while classmates, 25 years her junior, looked to her as a role model, describing her as caring, hardworking, and honest. CoCo regularly volunteered in community, school, and charitable activities including service to Meals on Wheels, local soup kitchens, women’s shelters, Binkley Preschool and Chapel Hill Service League among others. Not unusually, CoCo formed special friendships while volunteering but was always most rewarded by simply helping others.
In 1997, after the family returned to North Carolina and settled in Chapel Hill, CoCo began more than 16 years of service to the Town of Chapel Hill, first joining the Parks and Recreation Department. In 2001, she moved to the Town’s Finance Department where, for 13 more years, she continued her devoted service and proudly earned her professional designation as Certified Local Government Purchasing Officer (CLGPO). CoCo’s friends and colleagues often thought of her as a teacher, confidant, and mentor. In January 2014, her medical condition forced her to leave work and the people of whom she was so fond.
CoCo truly loved her work and her friends, but above all, she loved her family. They were her greatest source of happiness and the real reason she so courageously endured. Over the last two years of Coco’s life, she especially cherished the addition of her granddaughter Grayson, who brought her great joy and happiness.
Perhaps no place embodies the spirit, the light, and the life of Coco more than the beach. Whether work or play in her high school years, summers with family, or fall reunions with friends, her times at the beaches in Ocean City, MD, and Nags Head, NC were her fondest and most fulfilling. There, like no other place, she was able to rest and renew while raising her kids, delighting in family, and enjoying friends.
Coco was everybody’s friend and a source of affectionate laughter. She was funny and inspiring, generous, and a model of selflessness. She approached every day with hope and purpose, and found a smile to hide the terrible burden of her pain and constant fear. She never complained and she never allowed illness to define her.
CoCo’s legacy is defined by her incredible strength and resilience and her unconditional love for life and family. She is and will always be our hero. CoCo will forever remind us to live, to laugh, and to smile every day.
CoCo was preceded in death by her father, Edward McCrea and is survived by her husband Daniel Hall of Chapel Hill, her son Ryan Hall of Charlotte, her daughter Megan Hall of Chapel Hill, her mother Betty McDermott of Berlin, MD, her daughter-in-law Sara Hall and granddaughter Grayson Hall, both of Charlotte.
A celebration of CoCo’s life will be held Thursday, April 17 from 2pm to 5pm at La Residence Restaurant, 209 W. Rosemary Street in Chapel Hill.