Adele Turshin Berardi

BerardiAdele Turshin Berardi, 100, on February 17, 2022, in Lancaster, Pa. Adele was born on August 4, 1921, in New York City to Joseph and Sophie Turshin, Russian-speaking Jewish immigrants from Kyiv, Ukraine. She grew up across the street from the Bronx Zoo, and in 1949 married the love of her life, Frank P. Berardi; they met when they were students at the City College of New York. Frank and Adele lived in Bayside, N.Y., for 45 years. They loved to entertain, and Adele’s multi-course dinners for her family and friends were legendary. For herself, she followed a careful diet, which she believed enabled her to reach the age of 100 with minimal problems and a clear mind. Even at her life’s end, she kept control of her finances and planned ways to use her money to help others.

Adele’s worklife engaged her passions for teaching, science, organizational leadership, and social justice. She served as a Navy electronics inspector during World War II. She worked as an assistant to Edward Bernays, a pioneer in the field of public relations, an experience that gave her tools to coach others to become savvy consumers and trained her already substantial political acumen. She also worked as a teacher for EduForce, as an administrator for the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, and for 15 years as director of legal personnel for a major New York City law firm, where she took a lead role in minority hiring.

Adele was a spiritual seeker. In 1973, and again in 1975, Adele, Frank, their daughter Nadine, and Nadine’s Indian mentor traveled in India. Adele’s experience in the Chidambaram Nataraja Temple in South India was transformative and deeply influenced her understanding of life and the way she lived. After returning to New York, Adele—who always lived life on her own terms—consulted a meditation instructor and developed her own meditation practice. She was also active in the Ethical Humanist Society of Long Island. In 1995 she spent time at an ashram in the Catskills, where she received saktipat, or spiritual energy, transmitted by Gurumayi Chidvilasananda.

When Adele and Frank moved to a retirement community in Lancaster, Pa., she became an active member of Lancaster Meeting. She was one of the founders of a group that met monthly to explore the connections between science and spirituality. Officially called the Science and Spirituality group, Adele gave it the nickname of Spi-Sci, pronounced “spicy.” Even though her vision got progressively worse, Adele continued to participate in Spi-Sci. She used her powerful magnifying glass to inch her way through the readings, then at the meetings she would ask other members to read the passages she wanted to emphasize or discuss. In the last five years of her life, Adele could no longer attend the group’s meetings, but she continued to engage in discussions when Spi-Sci members visited her. When the group was reading a book about Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla, a member visited Adele and was talking about the book. Adele looked as if she were asleep, but suddenly she piped up, “I’m still mad at Edison for the way he treated Tesla!” Another Spi-Sci member said it was always a pleasure to visit Adele and talk with her about current events, history, Lancaster Meeting, and other things, like the BBC television series based on War and Peace.

Adele was predeceased by her husband, Frank Berardi, in 2015. She is survived by two children, Nadine Berardi (Kirby Danielson) and Elissa Berardi (Bruce Bekker); one grandchild; one great-grandchild; and many cousins on both sides of the family.

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