Adele Charlson was born Harriette Adele Stucky on Christmas Eve, 1905, in Winnemucca, Nevada, to Harriette (née Powers, 1866-1935)
and Jacob Stucky (1861-1902). Her family moved to Sparks, Nevada, in 1909 for her father's job with the Southern Pacific Company.
Charlson left Sparks to attend San José State Teacher's College, graduating in 1927. During her time at San José State she
was active in Delta Pi, a campus club for students in the Homemaking Department, serving as its president in Spring 1926.
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