Adele Josephine Williamson (nee Pete) our mother, aunt and Sito the steadfast heart of our occasionally chaotic family -- died Aug. 25 after a brief illness and an extraordinary life. She was 91.|
Adele Williamson passed away wrapped in the abiding love and gratitude of her family; and she left behind awe among them that a life could be so simply yet so perfectly lived.
Adele was born Jan 1, 1921, in Akron to Amelia (nee George) and Alexander Pete, a young couple who had recently emigrated from Lebanon to America with the hope of building a peaceful and prosperous life for their young family. Adele's birth date suited her well; she had all the optimism, energy and fun sensibility of the holiday.
But Adele understood the importance of hard work. Her mother became ill when she was 14, so the teen began running the household, including cooking and cleaning up after two younger brothers and her father while attending school.
After graduating from West High School in 1939, Adele went to work at a Lebanese confectionery. During World War II she hired on at Firestone Tire & Rubber Co. where she was a real-life Rosie the Riveter. She worked on an assembly line, building gun mounts for war effort. It was at Firestone that she met Paul Williamson, who was soon to ship out to the Pacific with the U.S. Navy. Adele's mother wasn't too thrilled with her daughter's choice of a beau. She once chased the courting Paul off the family's front porch with a broom. Nevertheless, Adele and Paul were married on May 24, 1946, at the Church in Peninsula.
The couple had three sons, and Adele was a working mother long before women's liberation made it chic. Every morning at 6 a.m. for 40 years except while she was battling breast cancer in the late 1970s -- she began work at Engineered Rubber Products on Copley Road. She took the early shift so she could be at home when her boys arrived from school.
Adele was known for her cooking skills, especially her Lebanese specialties such as kibbee and grape leaves. She had a complete, home-cooked meal on the table every night, and an especially elaborate spread on Sundays. In fact, her cooking was so good, her husband joked he never took her out to eat because he liked her cooking too much.
Adele never forgot her Lebanese roots. She remained close to her relatives from the "old country"; and anyone who came from Lebanonstranger or not was considered a cousin and invited to dinner.
Once their children were grown, Paul and Adele took a vacation to the Carolinas every summer with friends. But it was spending time with -- and cooking for her family that made Adele happiest. Nothing was ever too much trouble for her; She cooked family dinners every Sunday until just three weeks ago.
Adele was preceded in death by her parents; her brothers, Phil, Al and Fred and sister, Emeline as well as special cousin, Delores Woodliff. She is survived by her husband of 66 years, Paul; their three children, Dennis (Cheryl) of Danville, Calif., Craig (Georgia) of S. Portland, Maine, and Mark (Mary) of Akron. She is also survived by her stepson Jim (Judy) of Akron, their children, Heather (Kevin) and Jeff and grandchildren. She will be particularly missed by her five grandchildren, Adrian, Grace, Nicolas, Amelia and Lucas to whom she was "the coolest Sito ever." She also leaves behind her niece, Eleanor (Don) of Medina, their children; and many other nieces, nephews, relatives and friends.
A private family-only memorial service is planned for a later date.
Published in Akron Beacon Journal from Aug. 27 to Aug. 28, 2012