Nancy Adams is grandmother to Joe Tucker, Executive Director of South Street Ministries. She says she is a minor South Street Ministries donor, and states that 80+ years is an unlikely partner, but, nevertheless, is thrilled to be a small part of this ministry. She loves life and laboring for the Lord, having been a church secretary and pianist for over 20 years. Nancy now enjoys watching each Sunday her two favorite local Sunday morning worship services from Grace Church Bath Campus and The Chapel in Akron on her computer via Livestream (which she loves), hearing the Gospel and singing along with them. She makes a joyful noise unto the Lord right there in her home! In the following blog she will share with you how and why South Street Ministries means so much to her today. This blog is a part of the 20/20 Come and See series.
This will be a rather long story as I’m in my early 80’s and have a long story to tell. My name is Nancy Waybright Adams and I have a deep love for and devotion to South Akron, including Firestone Park and Kenmore. To begin the story, my parents moved from Virginia in the early 1920’s with my baby brother so Dad could work at Firestone and live in Firestone Park. They rented a duplex that just happens to be only two houses down from where their great grandson, Joe Tucker, along with his wife Susan and their two children, live today. During the Depression, my parents bought a home in the Allenside neighborhood of Kenmore where I was born. Many years later, my mother, who in Virginia had been a teacher in a one-room schoolhouse, began substitute teaching only in the Kenmore and Firestone Park grade schools.
The saga of my family connections to Firestone Park continues long after living in Kenmore. My parents bought a rental duplex property on Archwood Ave in the Park. That home saw a lot of my family living in it. My husband and I moved into it in the late 50’s/early 60’s where two of our three children were born. My parents had intended to ultimately sell in Kenmore and move into the downstairs apartment of their Archwood home, and rent out the upstairs apartment to have freedom to travel in retirement. Sadly, that dream never came to pass, as my father died in 1964 at age 64 after working 42 years in management at Firestone at the Plant Two Tube Room. It was one year short of his retirement age.
In 1967, Mother sold her home in Kenmore and moved into Archwood, as my husband and I had bought our own home by then. Mother lived there until her death in 1983 at the age of 86. I inherited the property and rented it out for 10 years–some of those years to my daughter Jodi Adams Tucker, husband Pete, and their three young children, of which the oldest was Joe Tucker, my first grandchild. As you can read, Kenmore and Firestone Park are definitely in our familial veins.
It is ironic to me that today Kenmore High and Garfield High are now combined. I went to Kenmore High graduating in 1953, and attended Goss Memorial Church in Kenmore where I met many friends from the South Street area, and the old Margaret Park Grade School that I still keep in contact with to this day. Sad to say, I didn’t keep up with those areas that much until in the early 2000’s when my grandson Joe Tucker, with his Boy Scout Troop, volunteered and helped out at South Street Ministries.
I don’t know if you ever heard this story about my grandson, Joe Tucker. When he was around 5 years old, he knew he had accepted the Lord as his Savior and wanted to be baptized at Fairlawn Grace Brethren Church where his family attended then. As a tot growing up, he had a passion for dinosaurs and had decided he wanted to a paleontologist when he grew up. I don’t exactly remember the question asked by the pastor baptizing him, but his reply was ‘I want to be a preacher’. My first thought was a God-fearing preacher paleontologist. YES…Amen!! My second thought…I looked at my daughter and said, ‘It appears Lois and Eunice have their work cut out for them again’ (See II Timothy 1:5). Joe, to my knowledge, didn’t waver from that call he seemed to have heard/received those many years ago. Praise God! My favorite times were holding Joe and singing with him “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so.” Any wonder he’s still so precious to me along with his dear wife, Dr. Susan Tucker, and their two sons, my great-grandchildren.
Joe has opened my eyes and heart to the needs of inner-city Akron, including Firestone Park and Kenmore, all close to my family, and how South Street Ministries are helping to meet those needs today. At South Street Ministries, Joe says they are being met by neighbors, interns, patrons, donors, board members, customers at the Front Porch Cafe, all being unlikely partners who bear witness to the heart of Christ. At my age and with some health issues, I must be content with being a donor financially and prayerfully standing beside the whole team at South Street Ministries.
I can’t say enough about Duane and Lisa Crabbs and their wonderful family. I have never been inside their home, but I have seen Duane’s extensive library. On my!! Here’s an interesting story about their home. When I was a member of The Chapel, I was part of the Touching Lives For Christ Sunday School class. One Sunday I was talking to the whole class about South Street Ministries. I don’t remember if Joe was the Executive Director yet. After class a lady came up to me and said, “Nancy, you know that house Duane and Lisa live in now? I was raised in that home on South Street.” WOW! Small world! Just this past summer that same Sunday School class volunteered at South Street. They did envelopes for newsletters and helped out at the Bike Shop and the lady who grew up in that house was a part of that group.
Over the years I have thoroughly enjoyed and saved all of the many Akron Beacon Journal articles about South Street Ministries. Sorry to say I accidentally threw them out with some other old saved newspapers, as I’m preparing to leave my home in Bath Township after living for and loving my family here for 53 years. I always look up in the ABJ their articles on philanthropic donation recipients and hope to find South Street Ministries among them. Happily, I often do, and sadly, sometimes I don’t, but realize they must be shared around. I am presently a member of Grace Church Bath Campus and was thrilled when I learned that Grace Church serves and supports South Street Ministries as one of their outreach ministries into inner-city Akron.
What the staff at South Street have done with The Front Porch Café is just wonderful! I’ve seen it from its beginning and they have greatly upgraded and enhanced it. I started going to dine there after my husband Paul died in 2009. I do remember well Thomas Jones, Executive Chef. He would always say to me, “Hello Joe’s grandma. We don’t see you often enough in here.” God rest his sweet soul in his passing, and may God continue to bless South Street Ministries. I went to the dedication of The Front Porch building at the 20/20 event last May. It was amazing to be there, as the only other time I had seen the upstairs area was when it was nothing but studs. I couldn’t believe what God and all His workmen had accomplished. He provided the people, and the means monetarily and construction wise. I was in total awe! The furniture throughout is so beautifully appointed. The beautiful Sun Room with windows everywhere. The Faithful Servants Clinic in the lower floor back room, which I am thrilled about! My granddaughter-in-law, Dr. Susan Tucker, is on Faithful Servants staff in that beautiful facility.
I am blessed and humbled to be a small part of South Street Ministries and their outreach. God has truly blessed its mission beyond all measure. We thank Him, praise Him, and give Him the glory.
Now you know the many reasons why the many missions of South Street Ministries are precious to me today.
To become an unlikely partner in the work of South Street Ministries, click here.