Combine the administrative, educational and organizational talents of three siblings and you have the history of Greeks in the Yakima Valley of Washington State. Antonio “Tony” Robert Adeline, Cleo Adeline Rumpakis and Katherina “Kathy” Adeline spent over three years documenting the stories of their friends and relatives which are contained in the book Hellenic Heritage shown with them here.
The Adeline family story begins with their father, Haralambos “Robert” Adilini (Adeline), born on the island of Cephalonia, Greece. When he came to the United States, he called himself Bobby as it was a common name on the island. Robert joined the merchant marines at the age of 18. His autobiography lists ports and cities he visited throughout the world. While on a German coal hauler in 1905, he tried to stay in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, but was turned back as he was contracted to the German ship. Back in Germany, he obtained passage and worked for one dollar a month and landed this time in New York City and then went to Chicago, Illinois. Robert knew some English from the time Cephalonia was under British rule. He read that timber workers were needed in Montesano, Washington, and bought his train ticket that same night. Although he knew nothing of lumbering, he knew engines from his sailing days and quickly learned to operate the “donkey” engine to winch fallen logs from the hillsides. Three years later he moved to Skagit County, Washington, but grew tired of the brutal, damp climate. Seeking milder weather, he moved to Yakima in 1908, met other Greeks there and worked in several restaurants, including his own. After a short military duty in 1918, Robert owned the Gem Café with Agiselaos Damaskos and Chris Fouscaris, eventually owning it by himself. At the age of 40, after sending money for his sisters’ dowries, he returned to Cephalonia to visit his parents.
While on a ship in the bay at Cephalonia, he met Clio Papadatos. They were married on the island on June 21, 1924. After Robert returned to Yakima with Clio, she worked at the Gem Café with him until they bought acreage near Wiley City, west of Yakima, and developed the Springbrook Dairy farm. They both worked long hours on the farm and raised their three children, Antonio, Katherina and Cleo there. The family moved back to Yakima in 1946 and purchased the Plaza Hotel, a working-man’s hotel with a pawn shop and tavern on the first floor. Robert was very active in AHEPA (American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association) and Clio in the Ahepan Ladies Auxiliary. She also raised money for the Greek War Relief. She stood in front of the liquor store and received much more than those who stood in front of more family-oriented businesses. She also sent many packages of clothing and household items to her homeland. Her efforts were recognized and she received the KIMA Television Valley Homemaker Award.
The Adeline children have their own stories to tell. Antonio “Tony” Robert was born in 1925. In 1930 the family moved to the farm which had no electricity at that time. His was a four-room school house with the same teacher for three years. Tony found himself well-prepared for high school and over 50% of the students from his grade school class were in the National Honor Society compared with the normal 15%. When not in school, he drove the family truck delivering milk to homes and some commercial customers, even to the county jail. Work on the farm was very hard especially in the hot Yakima summers. When an offer came from someone who wanted to buy the farm, Robert asked his son’s opinion and Tony said, “Does he want it today or in the morning?” He attended Yakima Community College and graduated from Central Washington College in Ellensburg with a degree in Economics. After two years as office manager for Butterfield Chevrolet, he began working for General Electric at the Hanford atomic energy facility in Washington’s Tri Cities and was there for 15 years. In 1965, a group of physicians formed the Hanford Environmental Health Foundation to provide industrial medical services to the Hanford project. They asked Tony to join them as manager of administration and finance, a position he held until his retirement in1987. After a year of retirement, he was requested by the Foundation board to return and assume the position of president. He was the first non-physician to hold this office and he served in this position for one year during which time he obtained a new contract for the Foundation with the Department of Energy and hired his successor. In 1990 Tony and Roxiann moved to Yakima where they currently live. They have two children, four grandchildren and one great grandson.
Katherina “Kathy” was born at Springbrook Dairy farm and remembers washing the milk bottles and helping in other ways. One time she was asked to help in the barn but after letting one cow out while still attached to the milking machine her work there ended. When the family moved back to Yakima in 1946, Kathy attended Washington Junior High and Yakima High and then, like her brother, Yakima Community College, finishing her Education degree at Central. Initially she taught at Gilbert School in Yakima, then in Randall, Washington, and in California for six years. She took a leave of absence to visit Greece and remained there for two years, teaching at the American Community School in Halandri, an Athens suburb. After returning to Yakima and substituting, she learned that four librarians would be added to the district staff. Kathy went back to school for media classes and then worked as a librarian at two schools, ordering books and teaching students how to use the library. She also obtained her master’s degree in Business Education at Columbia University Teachers College in New York City and retired in 1993.
Cleo, the youngest sibling, was named after her mother. While it is the Greek tradition to name a granddaughter after her grandmother, Clio did not want to wait to pass her name along to grandchildren–thus the variation of the name spelling. Cleo says hers was a blissful life with two older siblings working on the farm while she played. She recalls that Springbrook Dairy farm was so named because of many water springs on the property. It was originally a garbage dump and her father burned everything on the land to clear it for the dairy cows. Although he learned some farming as a youth in Cephalonia he didn’t know about horses. Along with a hired man, he worked 14-16 hours a day with no tractors, only horses and a plow to prepare the hay and grain fields and to irrigate the 90 acres. He kept one cherry tree under which the horses could rest in the shade. According to Cleo all the children had dogs: Sport, Tippy and Pat. Pat, obtained from a Greek shepherd, gathered the errant cows. When Cleobegan school, she hadn’t known other children her age and couldn’t stop chattering with them until her teacher used a ruler to get her attention. Despite the humiliation she loved the teacher, the country school and walking through the fields. She followed her sister’s educational path, also graduating from Central Washington College and teaching in Yakima at Terrace Heights Elementary. She took the opportunity to teach in France for one year. Cleo returned to Yakima, taught for a while and then took advantage of an opening in California near her sister. Then she and Kathy traveled to Greece where Kathy taught school and Cleo worked as a secretary and later as a teacher. When she returned to Yakima, her mother was visiting Cephalonia and her father was aging so she stayed and helped him. About this time she met and married E. John Rumpakis and moved to Portland, Oregon. There she worked in real estate with her husband and became very active in the Daughters of Penelope (AHEPA’s sister organization), a result of her deep Greek roots in Yakima. She presently serves as Grand Governor of Zone IV (western states) and is one of nine members of the national Grand Lodge with responsibility for nearly 10,000 women in the organization.
The senior Adelines spoke Greek to each other and English to their children. The Greek language came later to the girls during their years in Greece. Tony, Kathy and Cleo vividly remember the Greek community of their youth. There were several “working class” Greek restaurants in Yakima in a 2½-block area. Harry Rallis’ and Mike Poulos’ secret chili sauce at the Coney Island was unforgettable. There were many bachelors in Yakima at the time and they were highly respected and cared for by the Greek families. The George E. Phillies Chapter 299 of AHEPA had a large membership in Yakima from 1934 until most of the bachelors died and others moved away. It was disbanded in June of 1967. AHEPA members from Yakima, Prosser and Ellensburg attended social events, fund raisers, name day celebrations and holiday activities, many at the Knights of Pythias Hall. There was a special fondness for Nouno (godfather) Chris Fouscaris who baptized all three Adeline children and was like a second father to them. There was one Evzone (Greek royal guard) uniform which many children wore over the years. The Greek community raised the largest amount of money for war bonds in World War II. AHEPA chose Yakima for its district convention in 1938. Greek women formed their own social group which became the Daughters of Penelope, Laurel Chapter #390 from 1955 to 2008.
These experiences, coupled with the opportunities to travel to Greece with their family and by themselves were impetus for the book, Hellenic Heritage, A History of Greek Immigrants in the Yakima Valley through 1950. Tony’s involvement with the Yakima Valley Museum, of which he was president for three years, led to the idea of chronicling the Greek community in Yakima. Tony found the idea intriguing because he knew so many of the people first hand. Several family stories were written by the family members themselves. Kathy, the librarian, used the local genealogy society, funeral homes, census reports, city directories, newspapers, libraries, the National Archives, Washington State Archives and Greek Orthodox Churches for statistical information. While in Washington D.C. Cleo and Kathy found the correspondence of Yakima’s AHEPA chapter in bound books which are now housed at the Immigration History Research Center (IHRC) located at the University of Minnesota library. The book was self-published with no copyright so its contents may be used without restriction. It has been distributed to Yakima families included in the book and given to public and university libraries, archival centers, churches and interested individuals.
In the video segment, Tribute to Adeline Family and Yakima Greeks, Cleo explains how many Greeks in Yakima, particularly the bachelors, would be forgotten. The book acknowledges all those Greeks that crossed their paths while the Adeline children were growing up. Cleo concludes by saying that but for the book, the majority of the people would not have been “acknowledged beyond the stones that mark their final resting places. This book is for them.”By John and Joann Nicon, September 2011
1 Cleo Adeline Rumpakis, Antonio “Tony” Robert Adeline and Katherina “Kathy” Adeline
2 Robert on a fallen tree in Skagit County, 1906
3 Robert and Clio Adeline, 1924
4 Baptism of George Massouras, Constantine Karras, Peter Salagianis and Kathy Adeline, 1934
5 At Springbrook Dairy farm: Mike Poulos, Clio Adeline, Ada Poulos, Kathy Adeline, Cleo Adeline, circa 1939
6 Cleo Adeline in the shared Evzone uniform, circa 1940
7 AHEPA convention, circa 1950: (left, front to back) Harry Rallis, Tina Rallis, Gus Pallas, Dorothy Pallas, Clio Adeline, Robert Adeline, Gus Nakis; (right, front to back) Unknown, Unknown, Peter Taggares, Mary Taggares
8 Nouno (godfather) Chris Fouscaris, circa 1920
9 Adeline Family: Kathy, Clio, Tony, Robert and Cleo, circa 1950
10 Kathy, Tony and Cleo, circa 1980
11 Hellenic Heritage book cover
Photo 1 and 11 by John Nicon; all others from Adeline family collection SOURCES
Video interview by John and Joann Nicon, September 2011; Autobiography of Robert Adeline; Hellenic Heritage, A History of Greek Immigrants in the Yakima Valley through 1950 by A.R Adeline, Katherina Adeline and Cleo Adeline Rumpakis, 2002; “Some Fond Memories of Springbrook Dairy Days” National Herald, September 18-24, 2010