Adelaide Hamilton Hapala, 95, died peacefully on Tuesday, March 2, 2021 at The Hermitage in Richmond where she resided for 11 years. The happiest years of her life were with her husband, Milan E. Hapala, to whom she was married from 1947 until his death in 1992. A devout Presbyterian, Adelaide longed to be reunited with Milan, and her family is at peace with the knowledge she is now at rest with the love of her life. Adelaide was a much beloved mother to Milan E. Hapala, Jr. (Susan) and Mary Elizabeth Hapala; grandmother to William Hapala McCahill (Chesney), Leigh Hapala Ferrell (Brandon), and Caitlin McCahill Wahlstrom; and great-grandmother to Adelaide Elizabeth Ferrell (“Libby”), Edward Ellerson Ferrell, and Kayleigh Elizabeth McCahill.
Adelaide was born in Franklin, NC, and grew up in Fort Myers, FL. She graduated from Duke University where she met her husband, Milan, in a political science class when he was pursuing his Ph. D. After their honeymoon, they settled at Sweet Briar College where they raised their family. Together, they enjoyed dancing at the SBC student galas and travelling, especially to the Czech Republic to visit Milan’s mother and friends, and to Paris and Scandinavia.
Adelaide taught in Amherst County schools, first at the elementary level and then in the high school as a teacher of American government. She loved leading the annual senior class trip to New York City and producing the senior play. Adelaide was an amazing soprano who sang in the choirs at Duke, the University of Michigan Choral Union, and the First Presbyterian Church of Bryn Mawr. She also played piano and organ and was a skilled bridge player.
In retirement, she was an active member of the Amherst Garden Club and Friends of the SBC library. Though Adelaide was a talented and accomplished woman, she wished most of all to be known as Milan Hapala’s wife. Her family cherishes memories of her love of family, her beauty and style, her sense of humor, and her lemon meringue pie.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Milan E. Hapala Scholarship Fund, Sweet Briar College, P.O. Box 1057, Sweet Briar, VA 24595 or The Hermitage Team Member Fund at 1600 Westwood Avenue, Richmond, VA 23227.
The family plans a service at a later date on the campus of Sweet Briar College.