July 18, 1926 - September 19, 2013

Burial Date


GHISHAN, MRS. ADELMA, 87, went to be with the Lord on September 19, in Loma Linda, Calif. Adelma was born July 18, 1926, in Burlington, to Gladys Sleeper Bates and Ralph Raymond Bates. She attended the Newman School in Washington, Vermont, with her brother, Ralph Lester Bates. Some winter days, on their one-and-a-half-mile journey from their farm to the school, their father would walk ahead of them, leaving his footprints in the deep snow for them to follow. If necessary, he would walk to meet them after the school day ended, and do the same for the return trip home. She graduated from Spaulding High School in 1946. During her time there, she was co-editor, with Ed Ford, of Spaulding’s school newspaper, The Sentinel. She was a member of the Spaulding High aeronautics club and took flying lessons at the Barre-Montpelier airport. Adelma moved to Lancaster, Mass., and enrolled in Atlantic Union College, taking home economics classes. She left college at the death of her father in 1948. She worked for a time as a cook at Fairview Rest Home and then took a job at the Colonial Press in Clinton, where she met Frank Downing, whom she married on July 8, 1956. They shared a daughter, Susan. Adelma and Frank were divorced in 1978. At 48, after years of working as a nurse’s aide, she enrolled in the nursing program at Atlantic Union College in South Lancaster, Mass., and earned an A.S. degree while continuing to work full time. A cultural anthropology class professor persuaded her to join the archaeological dig at Tell-Hesban in Jordan as a camp nurse one summer. It was there that she met a young archeologist, Samir Ghishan, who was working as an Arabic-English translator on the dig. Adelma returned to the U.S. and found work as a nurse for the Frontier Nursing Service at Mary Breckenridge Hospital in eastern Kentucky. She then moved to Loma Linda, Calif., to work as a charge nurse at Loma Linda Community Hospital until her retirement. Samir joined her there and took a job in the hospital’s dietary department. They were married May 8, 1984. Adelma is survived by her husband, Samir I. Ghishan of Loma Linda, Calif.; her daughter, Susan Walters and son-in-law, James, of Redlands, Calif.; and her brother, John and sister-in-law, Joyce of Montpelier. She was predeceased by her father, mother, and stepfather, Benjamin Tuthill and brother, Ralph L. Bates. She is also survived by 10 nieces and nephews; 10 great-nephews and great-nieces; and one great-great-nephew.

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