Rosa V. Adams, a homemaker and longtime resident of Sparrows Point and Turners Station, died Tuesday of complications from dementia at Levindale Geriatric Center and Hospital. She was 85.
She was born Rosa Cragway in Bent Creek, Va., and moved with her family to Sparrows Point in 1928 when her father took a job as a laborer at Bethlehem Steel Corp.
"She grew up in the 800 block of J St., one of two streets designated for blacks on Sparrows Point, the town Bethlehem built for its workers," said her son, Michael Adams, an assistant city editor for The Sun.
"She attended an all-black elementary school within walking distance of the sprawling steel mill, but Sparrows Point did not have a black high school, and there were none elsewhere in Baltimore County," he said.
"If we wanted to go to high school, we had to go to the city," Mrs. Adams recalled when asked about growing up in the company town that was razed in the early 1970s. "We had to take the streetcar all the way to Sparrows Point. It was hard, especially when the weather was bad. We missed a lot of time."
Mrs. Adams attended high school until the 12th grade, when she dropped out to help support her family. During World War II, she worked at Fort Holabird, and later at Western Electric Corp.'s Point Breeze plant.
She was a longtime member of Union Baptist Church in Turners Station, which had been founded in 1888 by black workers who came to Sparrows Point to work in the steel mill.
Mrs. Adams was a longtime Turners Station resident and also attended New Shiloh Baptist Church, also in Turners Station.
She enjoyed cooking and gardening. After suffering a stroke in the mid-1980s, she regained her ability to walk, and often walked several miles a day.
Another stroke in 1999 triggered the onset of dementia and other physical problems, which caused Mrs. Adams to move to the nursing facility, said Mr. Adams.
Her husband of 12 years, John Adams, a businessman, died in 1955.
A viewing will be held today from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. at March Funeral Home West, 4300 Wabash Ave., Baltimore.
Funeral services will be held at 7 p.m. tomorrow at her church, 105 Main St., Turners Station. Graveside services will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday at Arbutus Memorial Park, 1101 Sulphur Springs Road.
In addition to her son, Mrs. Adams is survived by a grandson.