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Adele Deleski
Birth: Dec. 12, 1934
Marshall County
Minnesota, USA
Death: Jan. 28, 1958
Stutsman County
North Dakota, USA

Adele suffered from epilepsy which began in adolescence. Surgery was attempted once to help alleviate the severity of her seizures but it was unsuccessful. Adele's illness progressed to the point that she was forced to drop out of high school. Shortly after, she entered North Dakota State Hospital in October of 1955. During her internment she was allowed to visit with family on the grounds. Those visits were more than bittersweet for Adele. It was a taste of the life she wanted desperately and was legally prevented to live. Farewells ended in tears and feelings of helplessness and desperation. From family recollections, NDSH treated her illness with electric shock therapy and by restraining her at length with the use of a straight-jacket. Adele perished after two years and three months in their "care". Death was caused by septicemia(bacteria in the blood) due to decubitus ulcers(bed sores) and pneumonia.

"...The Forum reported that the American Psychiatric Association was brought in to inspect the hospital in 1949. Inspectors made many expensive recommendations, which reached the 1951 Legislature. It's not clear what was done in 1951, but in 1953, the next session increased hospital appropriations, The Forum reported

Then came a period of great reform, under Dr. R.O. Saxvik, who was "loaned" to the hospital from the state Health Department for six years, beginning in 1953. When he took the position, the census was 2,136 and he found chaotic administration, employee confusion, overworked staff and unrest, VanBeek writes.

Together with the blessings of Gov. Norman Brunsdale and the Legislature, Saxvik reorganized the hospital, hired more staff and increased salaries.

By 1956, Saxvik had positive news in his biennial report.

"In three years time one can see and feel the difference," he wrote. "Gone are the cages, strait jackets, leg irons, stern guards, malnutrition, windowless seclusion rooms, unorganized departments, the sixty-hour work week, the naked despondent patient on a back ward, the odors from wards crammed with untidy and helpless men and women, the tuberculosis patients in disorganized treatment areas, the neglected surgical problems and the bedlam of disturbed units," he wrote in one breathless sentence...""


...and yet, Adele Deleski succumbed to the atrocious condidtions Saxvik so proudly claimed he had eradicated.

Ironically, one of the reasons Adele's recently widowed father signed her rights over to the state was that she was suicidal - her desperate response to living with untreatable and chronic seizures. Perhaps he thought the hospital could treat his daughter and that a cure was possible. Instead, the state bestowed upon her a lengthy and yet legal, horrific and painful death - both physically and mentally. Adele was 23 years young.


Adele's headstone reads MOTHER. Should read DAU.
Mary Deleski's reads DAU. Should read MOTHER.
They are buried side by side.
Family links: 
  Stephen Peter Deleski (1907 - 1962)
  Mary Bieniski Deleski (1909 - 1955)
  Adele Deleski (1934 - 1958)
  Lorraine Deleski Johnson (1936 - 2011)*
*Calculated relationship
Saint John the Baptist Catholic Cemetery
Marshall County
Minnesota, USA
Created by: Beth
Record added: Aug 12, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 74827952
Adele Deleski
Added by: Beth
Adele Deleski
Added by: Beth
Adele Deleski
Added by: Beth
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- Ann Maree
 Added: Jul. 19, 2012
We know that whatever we do is simply a droplet in the ocean.But if that droplet were missing, the ocean would be lacking.~ Mother Teresa ~
- Beth
 Added: Aug. 12, 2011
This page is sponsored by: Beth

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