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Nonna Marie Adams


1920 - 2018 Obituary Condolences
Nonna Marie Adams Obituary
Nonna Marie Adams
Mar. 13, 1920 – July 8, 2018
Resident of Santa Cruz
Our mother, Nonna Marie Adams, was an extraordinary woman. Born March 13, 1920, she was the eighth of Melchior and Theresa Schwery's twelve children. If the priest hadn't thought she was ninth she may have been named something like Octavia! Raised on a farm in southwest Iowa, she always dreamed of something more. She was the first of her siblings to graduate from high school, and then entered Mercy Hospital School of Nursing, becoming a registered nurse.
Nonna considered coming to California, where there was a shortage of nurses, but instead joined the Army. She initially wanted to join the Navy, but was rejected because she wore glasses (which had been part of her life from the age of 18 mos). Nonna proudly served her country in the Army Nurses Corp. during WW2. She was stationed in places like India and Burma, where she really missed the beef steak she grew up eating. When she was discharged in 1946 she had attained the rank of Captain.
Nonna met her husband, Leonard D. Adams on a blind date. She realized he was serious when he drove from Iowa to Denver, CO just to see her. They were married September 4, 1946, and began farming in Iowa. After that first winter they both agreed farming was not for them. They decided to leave family behind, and headed west where Dad had been stationed in the Coast Guard. After visiting his mother in Arizona, they started in So. California, eventually moving up the coast to the Monterey Peninsula, where they lived for 13 years.
Nonna worked at the Monterey Hospital until her second child was born in 1951. At that time Leonard was called back to the service for the Korean conflict, so Nonna took her two little girls to stay with her mother in Iowa until he returned from Japan.
In 1962 the family, now consisting of Mom and Dad and their six children, moved to Santa Cruz. They settled in the house where Nonna remained until her death. One thing many people remember of those early years was the wonderful aroma from the six loaves of bread she baked weekly. Somehow she found time to sew, making clothes for herself and her family.
Always a risk-taker, and determined to learn and do new things, she learned to braid and hook rugs. At the age of forty she learned to drive and to swim.
When the new Dominican Hospital was being built Mom decided it might be time to get back to nursing, so she took a refresher course to sharpen her skills. Though she never worked at Dominican, she embarked on a second career in nursing, beginning at Garden Nursing Home in 1971. She retired from Batterson's Convalescent Hospital in the late 1980's. She had a reputation for being tough but well respected.
After retirement, Nonna filled her time with hobbies she had always enjoyed, as well as some new passions. She belonged to two senior centers, SCO and Mid County. She signed up for many trips, especially those on the bus to Reno and Tahoe. Her favorite was the Delta Queen on the Mississippi River where she was chosen Mardi Gras Queen.
Along the way she discovered Bingo, and made a whole new circle of friends. At one time she played three or four times a week and had amazing luck. She also played cards any chance she got, and gave no breaks, always playing to win! Loving games and puzzles, she did the Sudoko and Cryptogram in the newspaper every day to the end. She always had a jigsaw puzzle going. I was struck by the fact that the last one was completed and put away the night she was taken to the hospital.
Mom was an avid reader, going through piles of paperbacks (hardbacks were too hard on her arthritic hands). Her hands continued to knit, however, mainly layette items for charity. She had knitted Christmas stockings for all of her grandchildren.
Nonna had an unbelievable tolerance for pain, so we knew it was bad the few times she did complain. The last five years were a challenge physically. Already a breast cancer survivor and living with a severely damaged heart, she had a number of falls resulting in many broken bones. Not content to be in a wheelchair, she was determined to walk, and did the work in rehab, time after time. Her last set-back was a little too much for her and her heart finally give out at 1:00 am on July 8, 2018.
Nonna was preceded in death by her husband, Leonard; her parents; her sisters, Margaret, Viola, Magdalene, Verena, Zita, Mildred and Theresa; her brothers, Alfred, LaVern and Melvin.
She is survived by her sister, Cleopha; her children, Renee Zuschin (Ron), Deborah Barrett (Gary), Terence Adams (Diana), Kevin Adams (Jean), Philip Adams (Katharyn) and Natalie Adams; her grandchildren, Scott, Cynthia, Steven, Corey, Kyle, Lucas, Alissa, David, Jeffery, Thomas, Jennifer, Michael, Gregory, Christopher and Andrew; her great grandchildren, Dontea, Julian, Mateo, Diego, EmmyLou, Rosalie, Stevie, Zane, Ruby, Lilah, Claire, Lincoln, Ayla, Hadley, Katara, Kroy, Nathan, Lydia, Lily, Grace, August, Benjamin and a great grandson and great great granddaughter on the way. Along with many loved nieces and nephews.
The family would like to thank Dominican Hospital and staff, Drs. Eisendorf, Sawhney and Spiegel for saving her life twice and patching her up. Also Drs. Morris and Costa. She was able to remain in her home due to the wonderful, compassionate care from Fely, Nena and Edith of Maximillian Home Health.
A vigil and recitation of the holy Rosary will be held at Benito & Azzaro Pacific Gardens Chapel, 1050 Cayuga St., Santa Cruz on Thursday July 26th at 7:00 pm. Visitation will be held at the funeral home chapel on Thursday from 3:00 pm unitl the beginning of the vigil service. A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated at Holy Cross Catholic Church 126 High St, Santa Cruz, CA on Friday July 27th at 11:00 am. The funeral procession will leave the funeral home chapel on Friday at 10:30 am. Nonna will be laid to rest following the funeral with military honors at Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery, 2271 7th Ave., Santa Cruz, CA.
In lieu of flowers donations may be made to Holy Cross Church or Holy Cross School in memory of Nonna. To express your condolences or share a remembrance with Nonna's family please visit www.pacificgardenschapel.com.


View the online memorial for Nonna Marie Adams
Published in Santa Cruz Sentinel on July 15, 2018
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