A lone, scraggly apple tree is all that remains of the orchard that once provided apples for Rosalie Arnold Smith and her husband. From 1899 until her death in 1993, she lived at 2420 St. Elmo Ave. NE in a home built by her father. Today, that home is set to provide temporary shelter for others, courtesy of the Granted Wish Foundation.
A lone, scraggly apple tree is all that remains of the orchard that once provided apples for Rosalie Arnold Smith and her husband.
From 1899 until her death in 1993, she lived at 2420 St. Elmo Ave. NE in a home built by her father.
Today, that home is set to provide temporary shelter for others, courtesy of the Granted Wish Foundation.
“Rosalie’s House” was the brainchild of Granted Wish founder Rodney Napier, who knew Smith as a child. The home, which was dedicated this week, will offer temporary shelter for families and individuals displaced by fires and other emergencies.
The foundation is working in partnership with the American Red Cross, Northeast Ohio Region, and the Canton YWCA.
Stephanie R. Coletti, executive director of the Granted Wish Foundation, said she knew Smith, who was fabled for shooting rock salt at neighborhood children who tried to steal apples from her orchard.
“She was a feisty lady with a heart of gold,” she said with a laugh.
As a neighborhood boy, Napier, befriended Smith, eventually earning $3.50 a day, picking apples and cutting grass for her when she became a widow.
“She was childless and he didn’t have a grandmother. He became her adopted grandson,” Coletti said.
Smith also worked for Weber Dental until she was 76. When her health began to fail, Napier purchased the home to help provide her with funds for nursing care. Napier donated the home to Granted Wish upon her death.
Based in Jackson Township, Granted Wish is a nonprofit foundation that provides “wish fulfillment” and assistance to people who are disabled or disadvantaged.
During Thursday’s dedication of Rosalie’s House, a ribbon was cut by Andy Kutscher, one of the foundation’s first beneficiaries, and now a donor.
“This is a beautiful home,” he said. “It’ll help a lot of people.”
“I think it’s an amazing opportunity,” said Red Cross disaster specialist Barb Slater. “When you lose everything in a fire, it’s devastating.”
Coletti said that in addition to private donations, the home was furnished with contributions from Levin Furniture, Lowe’s, Home Depot, T.J. Maxx, La-Z-Boy and H.H. Gregg.
Volunteers from fraternities and sororities at University of Akron, Malone University and the University of Mount Union helped clean and restore the two-story, wood-frame home.
Coletti said donations still are being sought to replace the kitchen floor, and to underwrite the cost of utilities. Call 330-244-8281, or visit www.grantedwish.org.