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Publication: Globe and Mail, The
Issue: 1 June 2010, page L6
Title: ADELTA McNUTT (Lives Lived)
Web Link: link
Adelta Wright, a descendant of Scottish pioneers, was born on a farm beside the Ottawa River.
Her mother Christena died young, succumbing after an accident while burning brush. She had, however, managed to instruct son Tom, 4, to leave baby Rubena in her crib and walk with two-year-old Adelta to get help. Relatives took in the children. Adelta was raised by a childless aunt and uncle while her father David ran the family farm.
Adelta graduated in nursing from Pembroke Cottage Hospital during the Depression and found work as a private-duty nurse. She and a fellow nurse once spent their savings on modest fur coats, then laughingly decided to have them insured.
In 1936, Adelta married John McNutt, a Scots-Irish immigrant and First World War veteran who worked for the T. Eaton store in Pembroke, Ont. They married and were transferred to Temiscaming, Que., where David was born. Eaton?s sent the young family to Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., in 1942, where Marion was born.
John died of complications from hypertension in 1956, leaving Adelta a widow in her mid-40s. She resumed nursing in the children?s ward of Plummer Memorial Hospital. She also had to deal with the dilemma of a son who, despite speech and learning disabilities, read voraciously about subjects of interest to him ? geography, shipping and rail transportation. Eventually, David was placed at Sault College, where he worked in the library and print shop and delivered internal mail.
Adelta had no interest in cars and insisted on living within walking distance of the hospital. Her social life involved outings with nurses and United Church Women. Holidays were usually spent with family and friends in Pembroke or Oakville. She lived frugally, repairing rather than replacing appliances and shoes. She had great confidence in the body?s immune system, stressing good nutrition and a healthy lifestyle. A doctor called the surgery-free Adelta a ?factory original.?
After retirement in 1976, Adelta continued to walk outdoors daily, took up bowling and volunteered with the local distress centre, where calls from children in crisis touched her most. She supported her children as both dealt with cancer diagnoses and David with the loss of his vision. At 90, she moved with David to Oakville to be near family. She continued to read the daily paper and particularly enjoyed visits from her two great-grandsons.
She had a series of falls in early March but days before she died, the now-deaf Adelta was cheered by the written message, ?No more chemo for David.? His lymphoma, back after 19 years of remission, had again been successfully treated.
Marion Gill is Adelta?s daughter.