SELMA, AL – Eleanor Elizabeth “Betty” Adler, wife of our communion’s founder and first patriarch, Austin Randolph Adler, died in his arms on Friday, December 14, in Selma, Alabama, after a long battle with heart and lung ailments. She was 70 years old.
Betty Adler was born in the tiny Florida town of Lawter, the daughter of a Pentecostal pastor who served churches from Key West to Panama City and many towns in between. She attended nursing school in Orlando, meeting and marrying Maj. Kenneth Paul Tanner there. She had four children with Maj. Tanner before his death in Vietnam in the summer of 1970.
For the next four years, she worked as a nurse and raised their children until she met and married a young Pentecostal minister, the man we know as Archbishop Adler. She traveled with him to churches in North Palm Beach and Orlando and then to Southern California where they served 27 years at St. Michael’s Church in San Clemente.
Mrs. Adler is cherished by thousands for the Spirit-anointing they felt when she sang. She’s also remembered by them as a courageous, truthful teacher and friend who came to their retreats, their homes, their villages, their churches, and brought wisdom, joy, a listening heart, and deep empathy with those who were suffering or felt left out or tossed out.
From the mid-‘90s on, she traveled around the world with Archbishop Adler, singing, speaking and laughing her way into many hearts. Testimonies from those who were touched are pouring in from everywhere, story after story of how she made sure those she was with knew they were in the grip of Grace as she acted in the love of Jesus Christ for them.
She was an avid golfer, loved gardening, decorating, and making things beautiful, she could have had a successful career as a comedian, and she was particularly proud of her work as a midwife.
Besides her husband, she is survived by four children (Kenneth, Mia, Chris, and Jill), 35 grandchildren, two sisters (Cecelia and Priscilla) and a brother (Ellery). She is preceded in death by her first husband, Maj. Tanner, by her daughter, Gina, and by three grandchildren (Jonah, Chloe, and McKenzie).
A vigil will be held this Wednesday, Dec. 19, at 6 p.m. at St. Michael’s Church (107 W Marquita) in San Clemente,California. A funeral will follow at St. Michael’s on Thursday, December 20, at 1 p.m. Mrs. Adler will be laid to rest near her daughter and grandchildren in El Toro, California.
A memorial will follow at Christ the King Cathedral in Selma, Alabama, on Friday, January 4, at 7 p.m.