Kay Halle, who founded a Waverly child care center and was active in the labor rights movement, died of cancer March 1 at Johns Hopkins Hospital. The Abell neighborhood resident was 67.
Born in Baltimore and raised in Pikesville, she was the daughter of Rose Louise Thanhouser Halle Goldman, a House of Ruth volunteer, and David H. Halle Sr., a shoe manufacturer.
She was a 1964 graduate of the Park School, where she was active in sports, including tennis and field hockey, and theater. As a girl, she swam and played tennis for the Suburban Club's team. She attended Goucher College.
When she was a student, she volunteered with the Metropolitan Baltimore Association for Mental Health.
She became active in the civil rights movement in Baltimore. She participated in demonstrations to protest segregated housing. She joined the Baltimore Tutorial Project on East Monument Street and helped students with their studies in the 1960s. She was an organizer of benefit performances of "The Death of Bessie Smith" and "Spoon River Anthology" to help fund the tutorial project.
"Working at the tutorial project was an early way to help cross some color lines," said her sister, Pat Halle, a Waverly resident. "She had strong convictions and believed that inequality was the root of many problems among peoples. She also had deep beliefs that people can change."
Family members said she later became a devoted fighter for equality who held leadership roles in the Women's Liberation movement, the anti-war movement, labor organizing and economic justice initiatives in Baltimore. She wrote articles for an early feminist publication, "Women: A Journal of Liberation," published in Baltimore.
"My sister was active in labor organizing for factory workers and at the old London Fog raincoat factory," her sister said.
A 1967 Baltimore Sun article said she distributed leaflets for Tenants for Justice and the Union for Jobs and Income Now at a city courthouse.
In 1973, she moved to Abell Avenue and soon organized a children's play group for preschoolers.
"Each time there was a new infant in the neighborhood, Kay was there," said JoAnn Robinson, a friend and neighbor. "She would pile the kids in her car for little trips and they would come back glowing with what she had done."
She went on to found the Red Wagon Child Care Center, a parent-run collective housed in the Waverly Presbyterian Church on Old York Road. She later started and coached a coed neighborhood youth baseball team, the Waverly Warriors.
"It was a rag-tag league for kids who didn't have much to do in the city streets," said Ms. Robinson.
Ms. Halle coached sports at the Friends School from the 1970s through the 1980s. She was also an active parent at the Barclay Elementary/Middle School. She taught and was a staff member at the Bryn Mawr Little School.
At her death, Ms. Halle was a member of the steering committee for the Baltimore chapter of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network. She was a program manager for Safe Space for All Baltimore, a project to promote the safety of youths in public schools, family members said.
She had a grant from the Open Society Institute.
"She had a great heart and a spirit to help others," said Kiera Edwards, of the Open Society Institute-Baltimore. "I thought of her as a little powerhouse. She was determined, and her work showed it. She always did her work with a smile on her face."
Neighbors recalled Ms. Halle as a determined runner who jogged six miles daily throughout North Baltimore.
She also spent 13 years in Provincetown, Mass. She was an owner of Halle's Inn, and was an activist and leader in local politics and the business community. She also worked to end smoking in Provincetown's bars and restaurant.
"She became a very unpopular character for that," said her daughter, Kyra Hartnett of Litchfield, Conn.
She participated in and coached other swimmers in the Swim for Life AIDS fundraiser. She was active in Provincetown's Women's Week and in community clean-ups.
A private memorial service will be held in April.
In addition to her daughter and sister, survivors include a son, Stefan "Bean" Rubin of Baltimore; a brother, David Halle of Baltimore; and six grandchildren. Her 15-year marriage to Richard Rubin ended in divorce in 1983. Ms. Halle was also a past partner of Amy Gaver of Washington, D.C.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun