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1932 - 2001 |  Obituary | Condolences
James R. Adams Obituary
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September 01, 2015

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September 01, 2015

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August 9, 2014
I just loved him that is all I need to say
March 7, 2001
I first met Jim at an open house at McKinley Airport in the summer of 1987. He was there with one of the Warren Flying Club's airplanes (9359H)promoting general aviation. Didn't take him long to convince me that this was the club to belong to and learn how to fly. I did join and earned my pilot's license in July of 1988.
1988 was also the year I began my annual pilgrimage to the EAA airshow in Oshkosh, WI. First year I went alone, then the following years with my entire family. The trip would not have been complete without stopping by the Action Air booth and to see Jim selling his model airplanes. Always bought his latest edition for my son to build. Won't be the same now without him.

His love of aviation and dedication to the Warren Flying Club was inspiring. I'll always have fond memories of him.

Dan Blake
March 6, 2001
Those who were unable to attend the memorial service for my father might be interested in the eulogy I gave at his memorial service on March 3, 2001 below. On behalf of my entire family, I would like to thank all of my father's friends for their support and encouragement through phone calls, cards, visits and prayers during his illness.

James Adams

James Robert Adams was born the second of three children in Louisville,
Kentucky during the height of the Depression on March 19th, 1932.

As a child, he was a bright but mischevious kid, turned off by school and
his teachers, to the point where he just got by, graduating second-to-last
in his high school class.

Defying all odds, and surprising his friends and teachers, he enrolled at
the University of Louisville. He began studying art, but soon dropped out
to see the world and sort things out. Jim took a Greyhound bus from
Louisville to New York City, where he lived for a year-and-a-half between
tours of duty as a merchant seaman, sailing to the Mediterranean and South

He joined the Army during the Korean War and served in Germany, where he
met his future wife Rosemarie Dietrich.

After several adventurous years, he returned to college determined to
become a teacher, to be better than the best teacher he ever had, to make a
difference in the lives of students who were like he had once been. He was
inspired to study history by Stewart Holbrook's book Lost Men of American
History, which tells the stories of mavericks, unorthodox thinkers, men and
women who went against the wind and the tide.

During his 35 years in the classroom, most recently at Roseville High
School, he became known to students as Brother Adams, while the students
were called brothers and sisters as well. To be a part of that friendly
fraternity was something special. That salute anywhere always brought a
smile, a feeling of warmth and friendly respect.

For him, teaching was a mission, and he never hesitated to set an example
with his life or lead the way. In Brother Adams' class, learning went
beyond the textbook--there was always a practical application for what was

He brought his history lessons alive with the 8' x 12' sand table in his
classroom, spending hours after school in tabletop combat, teaching young
people valuable tactical and strategic lessons applicable to all aspects of
their lives. In later years, this was equally true of the high school
soccer program he established and coached for many seasons.

He set an example to his civics students by getting involved in local
government, running for office and serving as Fraser City Councilman from
1979 to 1983. After a lost bid for re-election, he remained active in the
local community, most recently serving on Fraser's Civil Service
Commission. Jim Adams also fought unsuccessfully to preserve McKinley
Airport in Fraser. Those who did not believe that a local airport would
preserve the uniqueness of the community can now satisfy themselves with a
trip to the Meijer store on 15 Mile and Utica.

Future entrepreneurs in his economics class heard first-hand about Brother
Adams' experiences with his company, Promotion Models. When he got his
private pilot's license in 1980, Jim Adams searched the shops for a model
that would look and fly like a real airplane. When he couldn't find one,
he set to work designing the best looking, best flying models anywhere for
a reasonable price. Since then, he designed a new model each year, and
travelled to air shows, hobby shows and other events selling, talking,
listening and swapping ideas to bring out the best general aviation models

Inevitably, aviation became another opportunity to teach. Jim Adams led
the Young Eagles Program of the EAA (Experimental Aircraft Association) and
the Macomb Science Olympiad, teaching young people about aerodynamics,
holding flying contests and encouraging young pilots who were fellow
members of the Warren Flying Club to pursue a career in commercial

Not only did he find it satisfying to stretch the intellectual capacities
of the bright, motivated student, but he was especially concerned with
bringing around the turned off kid.

This was particularly evident in his involvement in Project IDEAL, an
alternative program for students who do not attend normal classes for a
variety of reasons. Jim Adams taught in the program in the late afternoon
/ early evening after a full day of regular school during the final years
of his teaching career, and substituted in the program regularly after
retiring in 1991 until last fall. Even among this tougher crowd, students
left his class a better person as well as a smarter person. According to
him, you may fail the subject, but you do not fail the friendship.

Those of you who attend this church will remember him as a member of the
Council of Ministries and the Administrative Board, but perhaps most
memorably as a trusted mechanic for the Spokesmen cycling and singing
group, often patching up bicycles--and kids--to get them back on the road.

Throughout his nearly ten years of retirement from Roseville Community
Schools, he remained active in his church, community, business, aviation
and other organizations such as the Masonic Lodge and VFW, but never missed
an opportunity to encourage young people to better themselves and expand
their horizons.

When I visited him for the first time after his diagnosis in mid-December
of last year, my father maintained a remarkably Stoic attitude while he
continued to fight his disease. During that weekend, he often startled
friends by saying: "All of our days are numbered, you just haven't started
counting yet".

The challenge he has left us with is to make each day count by striving to
bring out the best in others, and in doing so, in ourselves. Thank you.
March 3, 2001
As a teenager in the 1970s, I participated in Christ United Methodist Church's Spokesman program.

In that program, teens would bike to other churches then sing and give witness to their faith. It was a terrific experience for the hundreds of teens who went through the program.

Jim was one of the core volunteers who made the program work. Virtually every weekend, all summer long, he would help repair bicycles and offer words of encouragement.

Now that I'm an adult with teenage children of my own, I'm staggered at the amount of time and energy Jim made available to the teenage children in his church. It was a huge exertion, yet Jim made it seem easy.

Thank you, Jim. It was a blessing to know you.
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