by Pat and Sandy Cook
Jon Adelsman passed into the arms of his Beloved Baba in the early hours of June 16, 2011. Jon had a congenital heart defect that he had kept at bay since his youth. Several years ago it started manifesting, leading to severe and persistent back pain and, finally, heart failure. He died in his own bed at home with his hands being held by his two daughters, Heidi and Anjeli. Jon had two sons also, Michael and Bruce. Bruce was also near his side. Hedia, Jon’s wife, had been his devoted companion and caregiver for the years leading up to his final illness and through loving care made it possible for Jon to spend his last days at home.
Jon was born in Fergus Falls, Minnesota. His parents were Swedish Baptists. Jon grew up singing Baptist hymns and later he loved to join others in Baba song. He had a deep, rich voice.
Jon learned of Baba in the late 1960’s. He found his way to the local Twin Cities Baba community in 1970 and was a wonderful friend and spirited companion to many of us and, for some, remained so until his passing. I [Pat] accompanied Jon on his first trip to Baba’s tomb in 1976. When Jon stepped foot on the tarmac in Bombay, he knelt to the ground and bowed his head in gratitude for his Indian homecoming. He loved the smells and reveled in the colors and professed that he felt he was home.
Jon was an early advocate of the human potential movement. He spent his career as a social worker. He retired from working with male felons in a state prison in Washington State.
A fond memory that Sandy and I both cherish were the many local, organic meals that Jon prepared for many in the 1970’s and beyond. He introduced us to rubbing garlic on the sides of his favorite wood salad bowl before he drizzled extra virgin olive oil on the fresh watercress that he picked along the Mississippi river bottom. Jon was ahead of his time as a gourmet cook.
Jon introduced Wendell Brustman and his then-wife, Barbara, to Meher Baba. Wendell owned a mansion on Park Avenue in Minneapolis. Wendell and Jon began hosting Baba meetings in that house in the early ’70s. Jon fixed gourmet meals for Allan Cohen and many other Baba-lovers in that house and it was a wonderful location for that chapter of the Twin Cities Baba group.
After moving to Olympia, Washington, over twenty years ago, Jon and Hedia designed and built a magnificent home perched near a cliff overlooking the Puget Sound. They did much of the finishing work themselves. Jon did all the landscaping almost single-handedly. Later, as erosion brought them closer to the cliff’s edge, Hedia implored Jon to get out while the getting was good! They bought a house nearer the water level and poured their creative hearts into making it their home. Just a couple years ago, in spite of back spasms, Jon was devising block and tackle methods for moving large beams to extend the deck.
The past few days Sandy and I called Jon and recited Arti with Jon on speaker phone. Hedia said that afterwards he was whispering Baba’s name. We will miss Jon and feel grateful to have shared over 40 years of our Baba journey with him. We are also grateful that Jon was surrounded by Hedia and his family as he dropped his lovely baritone-voiced physical body.
Avatar Meher Baba Ki Jai!
Pat and Sandy Cook