The Story of Adele Northan
Adele Northan was born in 1915 on a homestead in Saskatchewan. She had 8 brothers and one sister. Being raised in the 1920’s and 30’s in a large family, where resources were always tight, she was not able to fulfill her dream of being a nurse.
Subsequent to Bible School in Winnipeg she moved to Detroit where she worked in a home of a wealthy family. She had met Joe Kornalewski, who had emigrated from Germany, at her parents’ home in the early 30’s. Joe was friends with her brothers. In 1940, Joe who had gone to seminary training was asked to serve a church in Leduc, Alberta. However, the call to serve the church was based on his coming as a married man. That was the catalyst for Adele and Joe to marry in Detroit in 1940. It was a great marriage.
While in Leduc 2 children were added to the family, David in 1942 and Tim in 1945. In 1946 the family moved to Minitonas, Manitoba and then on to Kelowna in 1952, where Joe served the Grace Baptist Church.
Almost immediately after the move to Kelowna, Adele started looking after some elderly ladies in the parsonage. Her desire to be a nurse many years before, still a motivating factor. In 1957, when Joe retired as pastor, Joe and Adele built a house on Pandosy Street, one block from the Kelowna General Hospital (KGH). This home is currently the hostel located across the street from KGH. The thought was to provide room and board for Registered Nurses who moved to Kelowna. Virtually from the first day the home was complete, Adele was asked, for a short term, to look after an elderly lady that needed to move out of KGH. That lady and up to 14 elderly folks lived in the Adele’s home with her family until 1962 when Adele and her husband built the first Private Hospital in the Okanagan Valley, named, Still Waters.
While it was a Private Hospital licensed under the Hospital Act of BC, its purpose was to serve the elderly who had nursing care needs. In 1968, the Joseph Benjamin Residence, which provided residential accommodation, was opened adjacent to Still Waters on Sutherland Ave., named in memory of Adele’s husband who had passed away in 1965.
With her vision of wanting to provide excellent care to an ever increasing population of elderly, her two sons, who had joined the family enterprise, built Lakeshore Place in Kelowna, Westside Care in West Kelowna, and Sun Pointe Village in Rutland.
By this time a third generation had joined the family enterprise and continued providing for the housing needs of seniors in the Okanagan by developing in partnership with the Hall family, the 5 Regency Retirement Resorts.
All of this was possible because of the vision and foresight of one remarkable woman, who had steadfast faith in God and His plan for her life. Adele’s legacies of generosity, caring and serving have been passed on to both her children and grandchildren. In her lifetime she traveled extensively, played golf into her 90’s and continues to be an avid reader. It would be a significant omission from Adele’s story if we didn’t mention the 1000s of scrubbers she has crocheted and given away to everyone she encountered. This gesture endured her to many people.
Adele has touched countless lives as pastor’s wife, a care provider, employer, mentor and friend. She gave many women their first employment opportunity. She was and continues to be an inspiration to her family, her friends and those who she comes in contact with. It is only fitting that a lady of her character should live to celebrate her 100th birthday.