Adelaide Neilson Vernon McAllister, prominent New York and Salt Lake church, civic, and philanthropic worker, and supporter of the arts, passed away on Monday, February 23, 1998, of natural causes in Salt Lake City. She was the widow of G. Stanley McAllister, well-known New York LDS Church official and retailing executive.
Adelaide McAllister was born on March 1, 1902, in Logan, Utah, to Peter Matt and Adelaide Cornelia Keaton Neilson. She attended Logan City Schools, and graduated from Brigham Young College there in 1921 with honors, completing the normal six-year program in five years.Upon graduation, she served as an Elementary School teacher in the Cache County District, in Hyrum, Wellsville, and Providence, where she was given an exceptional appointment by what is now Utah State University to provide special student-teacher training.
After attending the University of Utah for a short period, she married Weston Vernon, Jr., on September 21, 1926, in Logan. She then accompanied her husband to Washington, D.C., where he continued his legal studies at George Washington University. While there, she served again as an Elementary School teacher, this time at the Bradford Home School, a private school in Chevy Chase, Maryland, where she was awarded a citation for outstanding achievement in her teaching work.
In 1930, she moved to New York City with her husband, where he later became a Senior Partner in the Wall Street law firm of Milbank, Tweed, Hope, Hadley and McCloy, and the President of the New York State Bar Association in 1952.
After her first marriage ended, she was married on October 10, 1951, to G. Stanley McAllister in the Logan LDS Temple by President J. Reuben Clark, Jr., of the LDS First Presidency. A former executive with the Columbia Broadcasting System, Mr. McAllister was Vice President and General Manager of Lord and Taylor Department Store in New York City, and later Vice President of its parent company, Associated Dry Goods Corporation, one of the higher quality department store chains in the country at the time, which has since merged with The May Department Stores Company. He also served as President of the New York LDS Stake, and as a member of the Board of Directors of Bonneville International Corporation.
In 1976, six years after his death, Mrs. McAllister moved to Salt Lake City, Utah, where she spent the remaining years of her life.
A dedicated contributor to the up-building of her Church, she served in many significant capacities throughout her life. In addition to her activities as a teacher and Stake Board member in all the auxiliary organizations of the Church, she served as President of the Primary for the New York Stake, and later in a special calling by LDS Church President Harold B. Lee as Advisor to Young People in that Stake. She was also a recipient of the Honorary Golden Gleaner Award, and Captain of the New York Camp of the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers.
She was also very active in civic, educational, and philanthropic endeavors. Significant among them while in New York was her service as Vice President on the National Board of the American Mothers, Inc., and as Vice President of the Parent-Teacher Association of the Browning School for Boys.
Mrs. McAllister played important roles with the Utah Symphony's three Carnegie Hall concerts in New York, given in 1966, 1971 (dedicated to her deceased husband, Stanley), and 1974. She was also Co-Chairman of the 1962 Grant Johannesen Benefit Concert for the New York Stake Center LDS Building Fund in Lincoln Center's then-new Philharmonic Hall.
While in Utah, she served on the National Advisory Board of the Utah Symphony, on the General Board of the Utah Opera Company, as a member of the Utah Mothers Association and the `Legacy` LDS Women in Concert Committee, and as Gala Reception Hostess when Ballet West made its debut performance in New York City in 1980. In addition, she served on the Committee for the Belle S. Spafford Endowed Chair for Social Work at the University of Utah, and held offices in the Salt Lake City Women's Classics Club and Fine Arts Club. She was also named an Honorary Alumna of Brigham Young University, and received two Awards for Distinguished Service from the American Mothers, Inc. (in 1990 & 1994).
Always known for her compassion, she reached out in New York and became a "mother" for an extended period in her own home to a young, teenage LDS girl, Hildegard Mayer (now Mrs. Gordon W. Andrews of Barstow, California), whose parents had passed away.
Loyal and devoted to her family and friends, she is survived by four children: Weston Vernon, III, of Silver Spring, Maryland; Robert Gerard Vernon of Salt Lake City, Utah; Maridon McAllister (Mrs. John W.) Morrison of Bountiful, Utah; and Kenneth Fielding McAllister of Amelia (near Cincinnati), Ohio; and 19 grandchildren; 38 great-grandchildren; and a sister and a sister-in-law: Ellen N. (Mrs. Maurice R.) Barnes and Marilyn H. (Mrs. Rulon K.) Neilson, both of Salt Lake City, Utah. Six brothers preceded her in death: Preston M. Neilson, Judge George D. Neilson, Rulon K. Neilson, Horace W. Neilson, Roy Harold Neilson, Alfred J. Neilson.
Funeral services will be held on Friday, February 27, 1998, at 12 Noon, in the 27th East Ward Chapel, 1300 East Fairfax Road (5th Avenue & Virginia Street), Salt Lake City. Friends may call at the Larkin Sunset Lawn Mortuary, 2350 East 1300 South, on Thursday evening 6-8 p.m., and at the ward on Friday, 10:45 - 11:45 a.m. Interment will be Friday afternoon in the Logan City Cemetery (1200 East 900 North), Logan, Utah.
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