Robert "Bob" L. Adams was taken home by angels and died peacefully in his home, freed of his suffering and surrounded by family on Aug. 7, 2011. Bob was born Jan. 23, 1939, in Mandan, N.D., the middle child of Frank and Barbara (Fusi) Adams.
He spent his childhood years on the family farm outside of Mandan. Though times were hard and the work was grueling, Bob loved the farm and spoke often and fondly of his experiences and life's lessons learned during those years.
On June 6, 1964, Bob married the love of his life, Toni Heck, and together they lovingly raised three children, Lisa, Jon and Steven.
Bob graduated from Dickinson State University and earned his master's degree at the University of Kansas. After graduate school Bob and Toni settled in Bozeman, via a teaching position at Montana State University. In 1973, Bob accepted a position at Bozeman Senior High and embarked on a remarkable tenure of not only teaching, but of shaping and guiding the development of the young people of Bozeman.
A beloved though tough teacher and a gifted and motivating debate coach, Bob has touched and inspired the lives of thousands of people. To cap his coaching career, in 1986 Bob was inducted into the MFEA Forensic Hall of Fame. In 1999, the year he retired from teaching, he was honored by the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program of the U.S. Department of Education, a program that recognizes one teacher per state per year.
Also a talented and creative finish-carpenter, Bob built his own home and spent many summers making people's construction dreams come true. His additions, remodels, decks and other handy-work can be found throughout the Bozeman area and beyond. Other hobbies included country dancing, camping, and spending time with his children and grandchildren. The desire to see his grandchildren grow up was Bob's source of strength through years of declining health.
After retirement, Bob and Toni pursued their long-time dream to travel in their RV and winter in the warmer sun of Arizona. They became expert snowbirds and for the past eight years, have divided their time between Bozeman and Wellton, Ariz., where they have laughed many laughs, created many memories, and have many treasured friends.
Bob was preceded in death by his parents; his mother-in-law and father-in-law, Anton Jr. and Barbara (Schaff) Heck; and other extended family members.
Bob is survived and will be missed by his loving wife of 47 years, Toni; his children, Lisa (Bill) Wheeler of Butte, Jon (Dave Alig) of Kalamazoo, Mich., and Steve (Marnie) of Bozeman; and his treasured grandchildren, Abigail and Jacob Wheeler, and Anthony, Allison, and Alexandra Adams. Bob is also survived by his sister, Betty (Ray) Stroh of Mandan, N.D.; his brother, Ron (Yvonne) of Prescott, Ariz.; and numerous brothers- and sisters-in-law, nieces, nephews and cousins.
Mass of the Christian Burial will be held at 10 a.m. Friday, Aug. 12, at Resurrection Catholic Parish, 1725 S. 11th Ave., Bozeman.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to Bozeman Deaconess Foundation (Memo Line: Hospice of Southwest Montana), 931 Highland Blvd. Suite 3200, Bozeman, MT 59715.
Arrangements are in the care of Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service; www.dokkennelson.com.
Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service
113 South Willson Avenue
Bozeman, MT 59715
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle on Aug. 9, 2011