Adele Carolyn (Taber) Passmore, age 90, a long-time resident of Wilmington, passed away on November 19, 2022.
Adele was born on August 11, 1932, in Milton, MA, the cherished daughter of the late Kenneth and Hazel (Mock) Taber. Adele’s family lived in Arlington for a few years before settling in Belmont, where Adele and her younger brother attended school. Adele graduated from Belmont High School with the Class of 1950.
Adele’s artistic successes as a teenager convinced her to study at the Massachusetts College of Art in Boston, from which she earned a bachelor’s degree in Art Education in 1954. Shortly after graduating, Adele became the Assistant Director of the Children’s Art Center in Boston’s South End. Adele spent her life fostering her love of and talent for the arts, sharing her skills with her family, friends, and the broader Wilmington community.
Adele always loved bike-riding, and as a college student, she joined the American Youth Hostel (AYH) through which she met Edmund Mortimer Passmore, an MIT graduate student from Somerville. The two married in late August 1954 and welcomed their first child, David, the following year. Their eldest daughter, Karin Joy, was born while they were still living in Cambridge, but shortly after, they moved to the suburbs. In 1958, they bought a house on Marcus Road in Wilmington, where they welcomed Jimmy and Betsy.
As Adele settled into being a young mother, she found ways to become involved with the local community, initially as a Girl Scout troop leader and later by leading the library’s Story Hour for preschoolers. While the children were young, the family spent many weekends bicycling together. They also purchased a sailboat and enjoyed, for many summers, sailing along the coast of the North Shore and Cape Ann.
In early 1970, Adele and her family moved to the Andover Street house where she resided until her passing. Living in a house first built in the late 18th century lit up Adele’s interest in local history, and her contributions to Wilmington’s historical preservation efforts stem from her desire to share her interests and her knowledge with others.
In 1974, Adele was appointed to the Wilmington Historical Commission and became its Chair. She established a non-profit group, the Friends of the Harnden Tavern, which provided financial assistance for transforming the historic home into a town museum where children could learn of the local history. Adele’s dual interests in art and history inspired her to help Wilmington celebrate its 250th Anniversary by creating a commemorative book, which was printed and is still being used as a local-history resource.
Adele became a founding member in 1980 of Wilmington Council for the Arts. While Chair, Adele convinced the Selectmen to support an Arts Center in the Old Town Hall, to be used as an exhibit gallery and teaching facility as well as a meeting place for many arts-related groups. Adele also belonged to the Wilmington Garden Club for which she served as the Civic Projects Chair and established a lending library and herb garden at the Harnden Tavern town museum.
During the 1980s, Adele began working as an artist at The Hampshire Press before returning to school and earning her certificate to become a pre-school teacher. The following decade, she took a position as a lead teacher at the World of Wonder in Woburn, a job she truly loved.
Adele will be remembered as a loving friend to people of all ages and the beloved Nana of many who met her when they were children. She will also be forever appreciated for her love of Wilmington and her tireless devotion to preserving the town’s history.
Adele was the devoted mother of David Passmore of Wilmington, Karin Joy Passmore of Housatonic, MA; James Passmore of Albuquerque, NM; and Elizabeth Passmore of Gloucester, MA; loving Nana of Benjamin Scott Passmore of Philadelphia, PA; cherished daughter of the late Kenneth and Hazel (Mock) Taber, dear sister of the late Robert Taber, beloved aunt of Ken Taber of San Diego, CA; great-aunt of Nathan Taber and Torri Taber, and great-great aunt of Ava Taber, all of Los Osos, CA. Adele was predeceased by her former spouse and friend, Edmund Passmore, as well as her loving companion, Conrad Gerhartz.
Family and friends will gather at Nichols Funeral Home, 187 Middlesex Ave. (Rte. 62), Wilmington, on Wednesday, November 30th at 10:30 a.m., immediately followed by a Funeral Service at 11:00 a.m. Interment will follow in Forest Hills Cemetery, Jamaica Plain. A Celebration of Adele's life will take place later that afternoon. Visiting hours will be held at the Funeral Home on Tuesday, November 29th from 3:00-6:00 p.m.
Memorial donations in Adele’s name may be made to the Wilmington Town Museum (Col. Joshua Harnden Tavern, 430 Salem Street, Wilmington, MA 01887).