Lessons in giving can last a lifetime. Ask Adaline Klemmedson, who has been giving to Tucson for years and plans to do so until she sheds her earthly bonds.
As a tween and teen, Klemmedson helped out in her parents’ neighborhood market, Meadors Grocery across from Carmichael School in Sierra Vista. “I watched my parents be very giving in that setting,” she recalls — handing children candy they couldn’t buy, providing coins for the soda vending machine, allowing people to pay for groceries later if they came up short.
“Both of my parents were very loving and caring individuals,” she says.
“That was ingrained in me.”
She earned a teaching degree at the University of Arizona in 1974 and taught third grade in Sierra Vista. Two years later and newly married, she moved to Southern California with her husband Dan. At the University of Southern California, he studied dentistry while she earned a master’s degree in public administration.
As a student, she worked in USC’s development office, which helped inform the structures and systems she was learning about in her studies. “The combination of the two has given me the passion I have to serve and share,” she says.
In the ensuing 17 years, she worked as a high-level administrator for what is now Banner — University Medical Center Tucson, and put what she had learned about caring and giving into practice. That’s continued into retirement. Today she serves on boards of directors for YMCA of Southern Arizona, Pima Council on Aging, Angel Charity for Children Inc., and TMC Foundation.
She’s been a member on the boards of Social Venture Partners of Greater Tucson, United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona and San Miguel High School. She’s also been involved with the American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, Children’s Clinic, Tucson Symphony Orchestra and Junior League of Tucson.
Klemmedson also supports organizations related to Dan’s practice, such as the American Dental Association Foundation and the American Association of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery Foundation.
For this and many other works, Klemmedson has been named the 2020 Outstanding Philanthropist of the Year.
“When you consider the level of passion she commits to so many projects and groups, the effect she has on Tucson is staggering,” says Kurtis Dawson, the local YMCA’s CEO and president.
Passion for giving is an apt description. “When I become involved in an organization, I give it my heart and soul,” she says.
“I love Tucson and want to make it a better community for all. I want to help make meaningful change, and help make the biggest impact possible.”
She and Dan want to give until they no longer can. “We have a philosophy that you should die broke,” Klemmedson says. “So give now while you can see the difference you are making and then leave your legacy.”