Remembering a Wichita icon: Don Hall

Written by Sara Garrison

For the past 45 years, Don Hall has graced the Wichita radio airwaves with his fun-loving personality and larger-than-life presence. He will always be remembered for his kindness, his generosity and his ability to inspire others to make a difference.

Don Hall passed away on April 29 at age 70. He was born and raised in Overland Park, Kansas. After high school, Don attended Pittsburg State University, playing golf for the Pitt State golf team. He graduated with a degree in business in 1971.

On-air legacy

After college, Don worked at KWBW in Hutchinson for two years before moving to Wichita. In Wichita, he was known as “Dancin’ Don Hall,” a radio personality on KAKZ, KKRD, KZSN and most recently KEYN.

“Over the years, we became such good friends. We just had a wonderful relationship,” explains Barbara Baan, Don’s KEYN Morning Show co-host for the past four years. “I loved his energy. He was always so happy. Don was such a loyal friend and he loved the community. He always did the right thing. He was a gregarious and fun person, who gave of himself for others.”

Wichita State University fans also know Don Hall as the voice of Shocker basketball. He began this role in 1984 and has only missed two games throughout his tenure.

“There simply will never be another Don Hall. I will miss his consistent and constant professionalism and humility,” says Mark Chamberlin, who met Don in 1974 while working at KAKE TV and radio. “I will also miss his genuine belief and concern about Wichita.”

Don and Linda’s love story

Don met the love of his life, Linda, on July 14, 2008. Linda was living and working in Jefferson City, Missouri at the time. The couple connected via the popular on-line dating site, Match.com.

“One morning, Match sent me a couple of matches via email and I saw Don’s profile. I thought he sounded interesting, so I sent him an email and within minutes he responded,” says Linda. “I didn’t know where Wichita was. I was from Missouri and I lived 350 miles away. Don told me he didn’t believe in long distance dating. We decided to talk for two months and if we were still talking after that time, we could meet in Kansas City for an in-person date.”

The couple had their first date in Kansas City, just one month after they first connected.

“The rest is a beautiful history,” says Linda. “He treated me like a princess. He told me it is his job to spoil me and take care of me for the rest of his life. He did exactly that. Don was the most giving person I have ever known. He put my needs first, always.”

While the couple was dating, Don affectionately nicknamed Linda, Fluffy. The nickname stuck and now she is known as Fluffy to many individuals in Wichita.

“I was working in Missouri and I heard him talking about his girlfriend, ‘Fluffy,’ on the radio,” Linda laughed. “I thought to myself, does he have another girlfriend named Fluffy? I asked him about Fluffy on the phone and he said, ‘You’re my fluffy.’ Now I am just Fluffy.”

Don was a romantic who would always do special things for Linda.

“In October 2008, after we had just started dating, I had my birthday. I came to see him and there was a big bouquet of roses with a card that said, ‘I will love you until the last rose dies.’ The roses were beautiful and Don had gone out to find one artificial rose to replace one of the roses. When we moved, I found a crate of 20 artificial roses. He worked so hard to find that one artificial rose that looks exactly like the real rose in the bouquet. He was such a wonderful guy.”

On December 15, 2008, Don proposed and the couple was married on July 4, 2009.

One of the things Linda says she will miss the most about Don is his hugs and his smile. The couple was very affectionate, holding hands as often as possible. Don would give Linda a kiss each morning at 3:30 a.m. when he would wake up for work and immediately when he returned home from work each day.

“I gave him his last kiss that morning,” says Linda of the morning Don passed away.

Caring for others

Family was extremely important to Don. He was a caring son to his mom, Bettye, and a fantastic father to his son, Brian, and Linda’s sons, Travis and Tyler. He was also a wonderful grandfather to his four grandchildren and he was thrilled to have one additional grandchild on the way to be born in December 2020.

Golf was Don’s number-one hobby. He had a passion for the sport and enjoyed playing as much as possible. He was also a wonderful friend.

“Don was the true definition of a friend,” says Don’s close friend, Dawson Grimsley. “We would talk on the phone two or three times each week. What I miss most about him, is him teasing me. Don loved to tease. He was always so interested in what I was doing. Don was just a really great guy.”

Don had a generous spirit. He loved Wichita and he had a passion to give back to the community.

“Wichita was such a special place for Don,” says Linda. “He always wanted to give back. He was so caring and giving, he was a deeply generous person.”

Don was a member of Grace Point Church and the American Legion. He volunteered for many organizations, participating in numerous philanthropic events each year.

“Don’s love and passion for the Wichita Open these past 30 years has been an inspiration for us all,” says Roy Turner, tournament director, Wichita Open. “A great man, a great friend, a great loss for our community and all that he represented. Dancin’ Don, thank you for making Wichita a better place to live. We are all better people for knowing you.”

“Don leaves behind an immeasurable legacy, one that we will continue throughout our lives. His love for others and personal drive to be better will inform our futures,” says Linda. “Living a life of excellence was a passion of Don’s. He devoted much of his time to improving the lives of others through numerous charity events in the community. Don had the ability to get more done in a day than most! It is our hope that the Wichita community will continue to grow through his legacy.”

 
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