FALMOUTH – She may have had her share of ups and downs in her life, but her son says his mother was always willing to help a person in need.

Adele Minervino died Friday at Maine Medical Center in Portland.

Mrs. Minervino, who had been living in Falmouth for the past 12 years, was 75.

“She was pretty selfless. I think a lot of it was to make up for the wreckage of her past,” said her son, David Minervino of Freeport.

Mrs. Minervino was the daughter of Sicilian immigrants. Her parents came to Boston in 1916 where her father, Luciano, began working as a brick mason.

The family eventually moved to Rumford, but their accomodations were less than perfect.

Luciano and Margherita Marino raised 13 children in a three-room home, David Minervino said.

Mrs. Minervino was the youngest child.

Her son said there was no running water in the house and the family used an outhouse.

“They had to fetch their own water and they took baths in a washtub in the kitchen,” her son said. “The babies slept in bureau drawers.”

Minervino said his grandparents made their own wine in the cellar of the home. That operation ceased when it was raided by government agents, he said.

In the mid-1930s, the family moved to Wilmot Street in Portland. Mrs. Minervino graduated from the former Cathedral High School in Portland.

She attended the Mercy Hospital of Nursing, graduating in 1955. Over the next 55 years, Mrs. Minervino worked as a registered nurse at Mercy Hospital, Maine Medical Center, the former National Medical Care rehabilitation hospital in Portland and Westbrook Hospital, and as a private-duty nurse.

“She worked as a (private-duty) nurse right up until a few months ago,” her son said.

In that job, she helped elderly people by preparing meals and making sure they took their medications.

“It was the loving and the caring for other people that she liked most about nursing,” he said.

In addition to her nursing career, Mrs. Minervino worked as an adult counselor at the Mercy Hospital Recovery Center. She counseled people with drinking problems.

She also counseled people convicted of drunken driving through a state program.

Her son said his mother was a devout Catholic. Mrs. Minervino was a longtime communicant of the Cathedral of Immaculate Conception in Portland, where she also sang in the choir.

She took great pride in seeking out those in need. Her son said she would go to yard sales to buy items for needy individuals she had met through church.

“She liked helping people who were new to the country or down on their luck. Her giving nature was remarkable,” he said.

But most of her spare time was spent helping others with alcoholism, a disease she herself fought and defeated. Her son said she was particularly supportive of mothers who struggled with alcoholism.

Mrs. Minervino was well-known and respected within the Alcoholics Anonymous community, David Minervino said, noting that his mother would have celebrated 30 years of sobriety this month.

To celebrate that achievement, Minervino said he planned to attend her AA meeting on Sunday night, where he expected to be given her 30-year pin.


Staff Writer Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at:

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