Missing Adele: From Hank’s Yanks to Smithers

WHITESTONE, NY – February 13th will mark seven years since the death of Adele C. Smithers. She was the sweetest woman I’ve ever come across. Adele was more than a woman, she was the “godmother of philanthropy,” always giving to various charitie, including Derek Jeter’sTurn 2 Foundation.She was a huge Yankee fan and had a fondness for the captain.

Her love for baseball wasn’t only for the Yankees but also for the youth team that Hank Steinbrenner sponsored. She came to a game that was played at Baisley Park in Jamaica, Queens. After cheering on the Hank’s Yanks during a win, Adele spoke to the players and made it a point to outfit them with another pinstriped uniform.

Adele would have me, on occasion, sit in on her distribution meetings where she would write out checks and explain to me how this charity game works. Her lawyers, who didn’t want me present, would cringe when she asked me if she should low-ball some of her donations.

Smithers name would be all over the sports pages when New York Mets stars Dwight Gooden and Darryl Strawberry were dealing with their demons.  She was also the “godmother of recovery” through the Smithers foundation, which was a rehab for drug and alcohol abusers.

She and I would get into some serious disagreements over my belief that addiction wasn’t a disease, it was a choice. She would sit my ass down in her office at Mill Neck, NY and verbally smack some sense into my thick skull. She was a true warrior for me just in the way she handled her own disease, Parkinsons. I remember being in a restaurant with her and a group of people when she started shaking uncontrollably, because of the medication wearing off. She held court as the trembling got worse. The group looked uncomfortable as they feigned as though nothing was happening. I grabbed Adele and hugged her tight and whispered in her ear, “If I had one wish it would be for this shit to go away forever.” She looked right in my eyes and smiled.

Aristostle “Mugsy” Sakellaridis

Her death came the day before Valentines Day 2017. I smile when I think of the time I sent her a giant poster size V-Day card. I filled up the card from top to bottom with words of what she means to me. She blew my mind a few months later, when I went to her home and she took me to a wall where that same card was framed and displayed.

I miss her smile, I miss her phone calls, I miss her inquiring mind whenever she asked me about me.

What I truly miss is Adele C. Smithers.

 

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About Aristotle "Mugsy" Sakellaridis 114 Articles
Aristotle "Mugsy" Sakellaridis is the junkiest of baseball junkies. He plays in 4 leagues, well past his 40th birthday, and spends the winter in Florida shagging flies at Yankees minor league complexes. He's also a retired Riker's Island Corrrection Officer - having worked the night shift for 20+ years.