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Charles C. Adams

1927 - 2016
Charles C. Adams Obituary
CHARLES C. ADAMS Charles C. Adams, age 88, passed away peacefully at Chico's WindChime Senior Living Center on July 30, 2016 after battling a severe neurological disease for several years. At his passing, Charles was surrounded by his loving wife Neva and their four adult children. Charles was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma on December 11, 1927 to Paul and Ona Adams. After migrating with his very religious family to California as itinerant farm workers during the Great Depression, Charles became a Church Of Christ minister at the tender age of 13. Always a person with high personal expectations, Charles went on to graduate from a two-year religious college in Tennessee. But destiny had other long-term plans for the young preacher. After meeting his future wife Neva Brockman in Butte County in 1946 during church-affiliated activities, Charles decided to obtain an emergency teaching credential and increase his salary in anticipation of marriage and family. He began teaching eighth-grade English at Bird Street School in Oroville, a job he held for the next nine years. Charles and Neva were married in March of 1948, and Charles went on to obtain a Bachelor's Degree in English at Chico State College by attending night school and summer classes during the next decade. It was a busy time for the dedicated husband, father, and teacher. Charles discovered he had a love for academics, and in 1958, he, Neva, and their four young children moved to Seattle, Washington where Charles pursued graduate studies at the University of Washington. He ultimately earned a PhD degree in English with a specialty in linguistics, the study of languages. The family moved back to the Chico area in 1959, where Charles was hired as a Professor Of English at Chico State University. From there, Charles found his academic career skyrocketing to ever increasing heights. In 1967 and 1968, he served as the prestigious Faculty Senate Chairman for Chico State, and then served as the Chairman of the Chico State English Department from 1970 to 1972. In 1971, Charles published his best-selling book titled "Boontling: An American Lingo". This fascinating volume, still popular after nearly five decades, describes the history and lexicon of a secret language spoken by Irish and Scottish settlers in coastal California's Anderson Valley during the late 1800's and early 1900's. Charles' keen understanding of language and his unique personal affinity for the ranching and hunting lifestyles of rural Anderson Valley residents allowed him to gain the trust of locals, crack the secrets of Boontling, and establish a full-blown dictionary of more than 1,500 terms once known only by local inhabitants. Charles' landmark book can still be purchased at bookstores and websites like Amazon.com. In 1972, riding high from the publication of his book, Charles was named the Chairman of the California State University Academic Senate, a statewide and highly important post that found him directly negotiating educational issues with then-governor and future U.S. President Ronald Reagan and other influential political figures of the time. After holding that Senate position for three years, Charles was promoted yet again to Chairman of the Task Force on General Education for the entire California State University System. In 1979, he was named Associate Vice President for Faculty and Staff Affairs, a rank he held at Chico State University for 14 years until he retired in 1993 at age 65. Charles was a true "Renaissance Man" with a passion for many things besides academics. He enjoyed woodworking, gunsmithing, leather working, and gardening, with a special fondness for growing exotic varieties of hot peppers. He loved dogs, especially hunting breeds, and always had one or more canine friends by his side. Outside the University System, his greatest passion of all was hunting upland birds and big gamea lifestyle undoubtedly fired by his need to feed his family from an early age with squirrels, rabbits, and other edible wildlife taken with his trusty .22 rifle during the lean years of the 1930's. Charles loved nothing better than hiking the California hills in pursuit of elusive blacktail deer, always toting one of his many rifles lovingly custom-stocked with beautifully figured Claro black walnut, a rare and exotic hardwood found only in the immediate Chico vicinity. Charles is survived by his wife Neva; children Chuck Adams, Elizabeth Wilson, Rebecca True, and Sylvia Kurko; grandchildren Joi True, Matthew and Hannah Wilson, and Sara Kurko; brothers Robert and Richard Adams; foster brothers Don Garvin and Jim Lee; and numerous cousins, nieces, nephews, and in-laws. An open-casket viewing will be held at Newton/Bracewell Funeral Home in Chico on Wednesday, August 3, 2016 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Graveside services will follow that same day at Chico Cemetery on Mangrove Avenue at 11:30 a.m. Please call (530) 342-9003 for details and directions. Charles selected "Home From The Hill" as the epitaph for his gravestone, a phrase from Robert Louis Stevenson's famous poem, "Requiem". This choice from one of the greatest of all English authors is perfectly fitting for Charles' splendidly successful life in academics and the great out-of-doors: Under the wide and starry sky Dig the grave and let me lie: Glad did I live and gladly die, And I laid me down with a will. This be the verse you 'grave for me: Here he lies where he long'd to be; Home is the sailor, home from the sea, And the hunter home from the hill. Please join the Adams family on Wednesday, August 3, to honor the life of Charles C. Adams.
Published in Chico Enterprise-Record on Aug. 2, 2016
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