We have been overwhelmed by all of the loving words, fun and funny memories, and thoughtful tributes we have received from everyone in this beautiful community Hal created. Love has drifted in from across country and across the ocean, in multiple languages.
Thank you to everyone who has shared their thoughts and good wishes! Here are just a few of our favorites:
My wife and I met Hal on our first Untour to Switzerland. She went to an ATM in the Zurich train station to get some money when a man touched her on the shoulder and said “I think you are with me”. She turned around and said, “It’s the boss.”
With his warm smile and the twinkle he always had in his eyes he welcomed us to our Untour. And to add to the great serendipity of our trip we actually were staying in Sachseln at the Elizabeth and with Berit and Albert as our hosts. We were hooked on Untours and have taken three since then and recommended Untours to countless friends. We were so taken by Hal’s warmth and caring for the world. We had seen him on the Today Show when he was given the acknowledgement of his philanthropy by Paul Newman. That is how my wife recognized him as the boss.
The world will miss Hal, yet we know it is a much better place to live in because of Hal and Norma.
I am so sorry to hear of Hal’s passing and wish to convey here our heartfelt condolences to the entire family and staff at Untours… We have all indeed been most inspired to work in the spirit of this extraordinary figure that he was. He is an example of a life fully lived in principles that are uplifting and enlarging in such a way that it was natural to embrace the whole world as our living place.
His was a mind of curiosity and openness, pushing forward with new and creative ways to reach out to others to help them do the same. I think he created networking before it became a trend!
All of this in such an unpretentious way that it made him stand out as a truly authentic figure of wholeness. I shall all my life remember the impression he made upon me when I met him and told my husband that I had met a man the likes of which few have the privilege of encountering in a lifetime. His life said “yes it is possible.”
For those of us who struggle to find a middle road he rode the high road on his bicycle s’il vous plait, and we just hobbled along trying to keep him in sight. We are all fortunate to have crossed his path and to have the honor to serve his company and upkeep his spirit in some small way. (-Vivian in Alsace, France)
My friend and I had the privilege of embarking on Hal’s first bicycle Untour in Switzerland. We were 30, he’d have been in his mid 70s, and I could hardly keep up. I never had so much fun getting lost repeatedly. Such a generous, intelligent, inspiring, and all-around pleasant man. Deeply sorry.
I never met Hal in person but worked with Untours back in 2002 when his company conducted trips to Vietnam… The service offered was outstanding and while in Hanoi, I visited a crafts store, CraftsLink, that received support from Hal’s company. The store enabled craftspeople from the countryside to sell their beautiful handcrafted wares in the heart of the city. This is an incredibly valuable resource for tribespeople from Sapa in the north of the country and country folk from other remote parts of Vietnam. Not only that, the two apartments arranged by Untours for our stays in Hanoi and Saigon were extremely comfortable, well located and reasonably priced. We had the services of a local guide at our disposal as well.
Hal’s lifework has left a legacy that enriches the lives of locals and travelers alike. He has provided a living model of meaningful travel that sets an example to all of us in the travel industry. Thanks, Hal.
Hal will rest in peace. He changed our lives, and those of our fellow Untourists. He taught us to travel slower, be influenced by other cultures, shop local, and enjoyed teaching us how to make our own SBB (Swiss rail) timetables. His endless enthusiasm was infectious. He leaves a legacy that will continue through generations of those who traveled with Untours. We are forever grateful.
Yes, Hal Taussig had a vision for his company and was able to make it happen, yet remaining equally humble and simple in his manner of living. His values regarding what is really important in life was, and still is, a model for all of us. This vision for Untours, a company that would arrange for short-term apartment rentals in select areas of a country, is unique and for most travelers a superior way of experiencing a new culture.
But Hal’s legacy is so much more… His desire to share his wealth with others who also had dreams of beginning businesses reveals much about his true character and his strength in resisting the ‘pull’ of materialism. He will be greatly missed by family, colleagues and the countless ‘friends’ he met along the many paths he traveled.
Hal was a true pioneer in the American travel industry. He clearly saw that American travelers particularly in Europe were mere tourists and not experiencing the countries and how their people lived… I still remember vividly in late 70s Hal coming to Rochester, NY when 20 or so of our Genesee Valley Hiking Club signed up for a two- week trip to the Oberland region of Switzerland. He explained the purpose of Untours and how to worked. We were divided into several farmhouses, each with small apartments scattered around in Hohfluh. We prepared our own meals, walking to bakeries every morning for fresh breads and hiking from town to town. It was a most memorable two weeks. I was so taken by the way of experiencing Switzerland, I went back, using Untours, with my own family with two young teenage daughters again staying in Reuti.
We later took my new family with my two daughters and my new partner’s daughter and their respective husband/boyfriends to Buonconvento, a small town south of Siena. Our apartment was a twelfth-century monastery in stone structure used by the Bishop of Siena. Again we had memorable two weeks driving two rental cars provided by Untour. Then we spent two weeks each in Leiden, Netherlands and the Swiss Ticino area, near Italy.
Hal remained true to himself creating Untours Foundation that provided micro-lending charity, helping people without money to start small businesses in Philadelphia, Haiti, and elsewhere. Pouring profits from Untours to the foundation and riding a bike to his work. His endless dedication to his ideal always moved me. He was a saint-like figure to me.
Before Hal I had never met someone with such a kind and gentle energy. It was so pure it was almost intimidating. He will be greatly missed but the legacy he left behind is an inspiration. Sending my love to his many friends and family.
To everyone at Untours, I am so sorry for your loss. Though I only have traveled twice with Untours, I chose this organization because of its founding philosophy and humanitarian focus. The vision of Mr. Taussig for this kind of international experience demonstrates an essence of understanding and fellowship from which we can all learn. I’m glad to know that his legacy will live on. Thank you all at Untours for your good and important work.
My sincerest condolences. I don’t have enough words to express the deep sadness this news has brought to me. Even if we all knew Hal´s health was not very good, it´s difficult to know he is no longer beside us.
He has been a model for all of us, his way of living, so simple and dedicated to bringing hope and future to people around him. He will be in our heart for ever. Now that he has reached Norma, wherever they are, I’m sure they will continue looking after you and your family as they ever did.
Their material bodies are no longer here, but their feelings, their lives’ philosophy, their kindness and empathy will linger in everybody who has had the enormous honor to meet them. (- Maria, Andalusia, Spain)
Hal Taussig, my inspiration for the B Corp movement, died last week at the age of 91, leaving us all an example of a life well lived. I know of no higher aspiration and no more difficult task than to live one’s values. No one, including Hal, can do that perfectly all the time. But Hal lived in alignment more consistently than anyone I have ever met. For that North Star, I am deeply grateful. (- B Lab Co-Founder Jay Coen Gilbert’s full tribute to Hal here.)
We welcome your memories and stories, and we thank you for sharing your love and support.