Norman Adelman, 82, died peacefully on Oct. 15, 2012 in Oak Park. He was the executive director of the Children's Outing Association (COA Youth and Family Centers). Born on July 16, 1930, he and his wife moved to Milwaukee from Brooklyn, New York to work with the Milwaukee Jewish Community Center and in November 1958 he was hired as executive director of COA, where he served until his retirement in 1990.
"We were really lucky," noted Barbara Heller who was board president at the time. A young man, full of vision, he was eager to implement new ideas for COA. First on his agenda was to add winter and spring camping during school breaks as well as summer camp sessions that included girls and boys at the same time. Through his efforts, COA programs also became more racially and culturally diverse. Under his leadership, not only did COA's camping programs grow, but so did those for children and teens in the city.
He directed the creation of multicultural programs for teens, a youth employment program, after-school programs for pre-teens, a summer day camp, and a child care program. Under his leadership, what had been solely a camping organization now also provided a wide range of services for the Milwaukee community.
"Norm Adelman guided and shaped the direction of COA during his 32 years at COA," said current COA Executive Director Tom Schneider, "and his vision continues to shape COA. Norm's leadership has had a profound impact on the lives of thousands of children, teens, parents, volunteers and civic leaders."
He had a vision of a more just and equitable world, was an active participant in the Milwaukee Civil Rights Movement, and co-founder of Milwaukee Citizens for Equal Opportunity. He believed that conflicts must be solved through non-violent means and was an active opponent of the war in Vietnam. He remained active in various groups, working for peace and an end to the arms race and the Cold War through the 1990s.
Norm Adelman is survived by his daughters, Deborah, Nina, Miriam and Sharon; his grandchildren, Andre, Gabriel, Glenna, Lucas, Maya, Kira, Jonah and Jory; and numerous, additional, loving family members. He was preceded in death by his wife, Gertrude (nee Sedlet).
A memorial service will be held at Children's Outing Association, 909 E. North Ave., Milwaukee, Wis., on Dec. 22, at 1 p.m.
Donations to the Norm Adelman Staff Enhancement Fund will be appreciated. Checks should be made out to Children's Outing Association, 909 E. North Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53211 with a note indicating that tributes go to the NA Fund at the Greater Milwaukee Foundation.
Arrangements were handled by Drechsler, Brown & Williams Funeral Home.
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