MILTON S. ADELMAN
Milton Samuel Adelman, of Mars Hill, Maine, and Naples, Florida, died peacefully on March 31 at his home in Naples.
It’s tempting to think that Milton died of boredom, deprived of his regular games of poker with his pals down at the Naples VFW hall due to pandemic safety precautions. But in the end, it was old age that brought Milton down after 95 very full years as a farmer, community leader and family man.
Many recognize Milton as a successful potato farmer in Aroostook County, Maine; proud father of six and grandfather of eleven; enthusiastic antique car collector, starting with a beloved, mint-green ’37 Chevy; and a crafty poker and cribbage player. The thread running through it all was Milton’s zest for life, big heart and profound commitment to family and community.
Milton was born in Mars Hill in 1924, the youngest of Hiram and Katherine Goldsmith Adelman’s five children. After graduating from Ricker Classical Institute in Houlton, Maine, he attended the University of Maine in Orono before enlisting in the US Navy during World War II. The Navy sent him to study engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, then on to a posting in Japan. He graduated from UMaine in 1948.
Milt returned to Mars Hill to farm potatoes with his father and brother Yale, with Adelman Brothers Potatoes becoming one of the most successful brands in Aroostook County. In 1954, Milt married Gloria Giggey of Fort Fairfield. Later, Yale and Milton teamed up with Herschel Smith and Dwinal Weeks to form WASA, a farm machinery company. Milton was a long-standing member of the New York Mercantile Exchange, beginning in 1954.
Milton’s commitment to community ran deep. He nurtured Jewish life in The County, serving as president of the Aroostook Hebrew Community Center in Presque Isle. He was president of The Aroostook Medical Center’s board of directors; a charter member of Rotary International in Mars Hill, serving as president; and was active in the Masonic Lodge. Milton, together with his wife Gloria, earned a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Central Aroostook Chamber of Commerce, and he was named a Paul Harris Fellow by Rotary International. He donated land for the Mars Hill Fire Department and the town’s water facility. Later, he contributed funding to create an indoor/outdoor patio at the Aroostook Medical Center in honor of Gloria, who served as the facility’s director of nursing and, later, administrator.
Milton was happiest planning his next project, playing a hand of cards, or living vicariously through his grandchildren. He’s well-remembered for a freezer filled with Klondike bars and his cut-throat cribbage strategies. Basic math for his grandchildren was learned one peg at a time by sitting across from Grampy at the cribbage table. He taught each of his grandchildren the importance, upon meeting someone new, to look ‘em in the eye and shake hands. Milton had the foresight to purchase a camp on an island in the middle of Meddybemps Lake in down east Maine back in the late 60s. As a result, there are numerous Miltonesque stories about canoes and motors and a tv lying on the bottom of the lake; getting lost overnight in the fog and sleeping on the boat; and bringing a pair of screaming peacocks to the island for two summers too many. Visions of Milton in his late 80s speeding up lake on a jet ski will be hard to forget.
Milton was preceded in death by his wife Gloria and youngest child Karyn. He also was predeceased by lifelong friends Gerald Rudman and Lester Cohen.
Milton is survived by his children--Hiram Adelman (Brook Merrow) of Bozeman, Montana; Cathy (Alan) Adelman of Asheville, North Carolina, and San Antonio, Texas; Toby Adelman, RN, PhD (Tim Brewer) of Mars Hill, Maine; Todd (Kristin) Adelman, of Rollinsford, New Hampshire; Dr. Scott (Karen) Adelman of Park City, Utah--and son-in-law Robb Fessenden of Crested Butte, Colorado. He leaves behind eleven grandchildren, including Jake and Nate Adelman; Tucker, Zoe, Satchel and Deker Adelman; Shy Adelman; Haley and Sophie Adelman; and Lily and Cedar Fessenden. Milton will be remembered by his many nieces and nephews, grand and great.
He also leaves behind cherished friend, caretaker and cribbage buddy Roz Kallet, in addition to friends Evelyn Small, Margaret Stevens and Laverne Alston. Finally, he got great pleasure hanging out with his poker buddies at the VFW, including Big Jim, Charlie, Fish and many others.
In lieu of flowers, gifts can be made in memory of Milton Adelman to the following: Lapinsky Scholarship Fund, VFW #7721, 800 Neff’s Way, Naples, FL 34129; or this hospice in Presque Isle: Aroostook House of Comfort, PO Box 867, Presque Isle, ME 04769; or Aroostook Medical Center, 15 Highland Ave, Mars Hill, ME 04758.
A celebration of Milton’s life will take place this summer.
Condolences to the family may be expressed at BrookingsSmith.com
Measure of a Man
Miles stretch wide, years bounce back,
with a handshake and a look ‘em in the eye
your grip stays real,
the pressure of which causes us
to think brightly on
the television that lies
at the bottom of the lake,
2 dozen props,
the plumed peacocks,
boats that go bump in the night,
red lobsters and a
perfect hand of cribbage:
perfectly wrought images of a
who never pretended
to be so…
just a big-hearted
leader of the meteors,
the Energizer Bunny with
a drawerful of batteries to prove it,
the man who plants
red geraniums and kisses,
round whites and good will,
you know where he stands:
always behind you.
and you want to say,
Thank you for the
the look in the eye.
For Milton on his birthday: October 15, 2004