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Margaret Adelaide Arata Caleal

August 7, 1919 December 11, 2020
Margaret Adelaide Arata Caleal
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Obituary for Margaret Adelaide Arata Caleal

Margaret Adelaide Arata Caleal went to her Heavenly home on December 11, 2020 at the age of 101. She lived in Mishawaka, Dearborn, Detroit and Farmington Hills. Born on August 7, 1919 in Mishawaka, Indiana, she was the middle child of nine, raised in a close-knit family and had a wonderful childhood. Her father was a clerk at the local post office and had a small truck farm. She, as her siblings, earned her allowance by picking fruit and vegetables and selling them at the roadside stand in front of their house. Tired of wearing hand-me-downs, she taught herself how to sew at a young age and became the most skilled of seamstresses.

She graduated magna cum laude from Mishawaka High School in 1937. Described in her high school yearbook as “Black-haired, blue-eyed sparkling Adelaide, our prospective nurse,” she went on to St. Joseph School of Nursing, in addition to studying pediatrics and communicable disease at Indiana University Medical Center in Indianapolis. After receiving her R.N. in 1940, she worked at the Welfare/Relief Clinic for three years and then as an industrial nurse for one year at the Bendix Corporation in South Bend and, also in that capacity, for a short time, after her children were raised.

She met and married automotive designer, Richard Caleal on November 14, 1942 and had three children. She was raised in the Roman Catholic faith, remained devout throughout her life, and gave that gift of faith to her two sons and daughter. Since her husband was an only child, his mother came to live with in their home shortly after their marriage and was with them for 17 years, with Adelaide using her nursing skills to care for her mother-in-law in her last months.

Highly intelligent and creative, Adelaide could have reached the highest level in any profession but chose to devote her life to her family. She was an amazing homemaker, cook, excellent bridge player and master gardener, lovingly caring for her 58 rose bushes. Capable of doing the finest embroidery, she made altar linens and baptismal bibs for her church. Anything she put her hand to was fine, beautiful and perfect.

Her household wasn’t complete without pets, of which the family had many. She raised and sold Boxer pups and bought herself a mink coat and set of fine china. Generous, warm, kind and patient, she welcomed all into her home and became a second Mom to many of her children’s friends. In 2004, She was named Right to Life - Lifespan’s Mother of the Year.

Adelaide was a wonderful and supportive wife to her husband of 64 years. She was even somewhat involved in his revolutionary design of the 1949 Ford, as the project evolved in her kitchen. She warmed the clay for 1/4 scale model in her oven and covered the plywood with navy blue velvet on which the final model was presented to Henry Ford II and selected by him to become the car that would save the Ford Motor Company.

She treasured her immediate family as well as her large and extended family. God must have blessed her with extra casements in her heart where she had a special place for almost everyone she knew. She was fun-loving, had a great sense of humor, loved to tell and enjoy a good joke and made a mean Manhattan.

Preceded in death by her parents, Jenny and Alphonsus Arata, beloved husband Richard Caleal Sr., siblings Joseph, Edward, Catherine, Lucian, Justin and Louis. Survived by her children, Richard,, Jr. (Mayra), Mary Geo Stephenson (Robert) and Daniel (Patricia), grandchildren Laura Seguin (Eri) and Kate Caleal, great-grandchildren Wyatt, Adelaide and Grace, siblings Agnes Pappalardo Laux and Dr. James A. Arata (Jane) and many beloved nieces and nephews.

Special thanks to the wonderful and loving caregivers at Sunrise Assisted Living for their devotion and attention to Adelaide for the past two and a half years.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at Saint Monica’s Church in Mishawaka, Indiana on December 16, 2020 which coincidentally happened to be the feast day of Saint Adelaide. Her final resting place is in the Arata family plot at St. Joseph Cemetery, Mishawaka.


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