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Saturday, December 6, 2014

52 Ancestors #49: Adelina Justina Stefani, "Aunt Dell"

     Adelina Justina Stefani is the full name of my mother's Aunt Dell, which is the name we knew her by. She was born on 29 Nov 1896 in Issaquah, Washington to Frank John Stefani and Angelina Margarita Tinetti.  I believe she was named for both her father's sister, Adelaide Stefani, and her mother's sister, Adele Tinetti.  Adele would've been called Adelina in the family just as Dell's mother was christened Angela but always called Angelina. Dell often was called Delina, as well, a name I really like and considered giving to my daughter.

     Delina was the pretty sister and always popular with the boys.  According to her niece, Marian, she would leave notes for the boys in the woodpile behind her house where they would pick them up and leave answers for her.  If her father had ever caught her at this,  she would've been in big trouble! It was a family mystery how she could've been so pretty and popular with the boys and seemingly could've had her pick of them, yet the men she married were not so good to or for her.

     On 22 Mar 1916, she married John Burr Adams, she was 19.  They lived in Seattle at 4130 Densmore Ave. in the 1920 Federal Census.  She and John had two sons, Harold Lewis born in 1917 and Samuel John born in 1918. However, in 1927 she and John were divorced.  The impression I got from the family is that he physically mistreated her, although I never heard the full story on that.  It wasn't talked about and he was never mentioned. She and her sons were very much part of the family, though, you see them in family photos. My mother was quite close to her cousin Sam and his wife, Harmony.

     In the 1930 Census, she is listed as a lodger, divorced and working in a laundry.  This makes sense as she grew up working in her father's laundry in Issaquah so she knew the business. She didn't stay single long, on 2 June 1934 she married Frank Carl Dorner, "Uncle Shorty".  He was height challenged (as they say these days), thus the nickname.  I don't know why the family felt she could've done better than him as he seemed nice enough to me.  Maybe no one would've been good enough for her in the eyes of the family.  They lived in the North end of Seattle not far from where we lived.  My mother, sister and I used to visit them fairly often, especially every Thanksgiving morning to see Macy's Parade and every New Year's Day to see the Rose Bowl Parade. You see, they had a color TV, not that common in the 60's!

     Aunt Dell was fun! She always was cheerful with an air of fun and adventure about her.  When we first moved to Seattle she gave my sister and I dolls that had belonged to my Mom and her sister.  Dell had fixed them up and dressed them nicely for us. She always had time and laughter for us!

     She outlived all her brothers and sisters, dying on 18 Jul 1995 in Bremerton, Washington.  She left a legacy of love, laughter and the spirit of adventure.

1 comment:

  1. Yes, Aunt Dell was fun to be around and enjoyed having fun. I remember our grandmother (Edith, Dell's oldest sister) saying that Dell went to all the dances when they were girls and pretty much had her dance card filled! When Wendy and I visited with her in the 1960s, she talked about going to the local Catholic church for bingo every week. She also went to Las Vegas several times and enjoyed playing the slot machines!

    She was gregarious and seemed to have friends everywhere she went. These are characteristics I admire, especially as they don't come so easily to me!