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Dr. Robert Franklin Adams


1938 - 2017 Obituary Condolences
Dr.  Robert Franklin Adams Obituary
Dr. Robert Franklin Adams

Memphis, TN

Dr. Robert Franklin Adams, son of the late Dr. William Milton Adams and the late Catherine Taylor Adams, was born July 3, 1938, in Memphis, TN. Dr. Adams was the second of four children in the Adams family. A product of the Hein Park neighborhood and a graduate of Central High School, Dr. Adams had a fondness for the city of Memphis, and the feeling was mutual.

During his years at Washington & Lee University, he was a member of Sigma Chi Fraternity, where he sharpened his ping-pong skills alongside his older brother, William. More importantly, he met Elsie Oliver from Aberdeen, Maryland, who attended nearby Hollins College. They married and had three children (Emily, Phoebe, and Franklin).

After graduating from W&L, he followed four generations of physicians into the practice of medicine when he attended The University of Tennessee College of Medicine. He continued his medical training at the University of Pennsylvania and at the University of Michigan.

Military service led him to Camp Pendleton in California, where he performed physicals for young servicemen headed to Vietnam.

He returned home to Memphis with his young family to complete a fellowship in rheumatology and began his private practice as a founding member of The Arthritis Group. After Elsie's death in 1969, a friend set him up with a 4th grade classmate from Snowden School, Corinne Ridolphi, who had three children of her own (Lee, Cole (deceased), and Meriwether). They later married and had one child together (Will).

Dr. Adams served as president of the Methodist Hospitals Medical Staff and was the original director of its internal medicine teaching program. His primary clinical interests included the medical challenges in diagnosing musculoskeletal diseases and therapeutic injection techniques. Dr. Adams practiced medicine for nearly 50 years and was the recipient of the Living Award. He was a Founding Fellow of the American College of Rheumatology. He enjoyed the diversity of his practice which led to some long-standing relationships with patients. Along the way, he met a few celebrities including Elvis, Waylon Jennings, and even some animal friends at the Memphis Zoo.

Never one to shy away from a golf game, his swing was referred to as "romantic" by his lifelong friends. He also had a passion for boating and Memphis Tigers basketball which he acknowledged was a curse he passed on to his children. In addition, Dr. Adams had a passion and discerning eyes and ears for the arts, including Opera Memphis. Occasionally his appreciation for the offbeat would find its way home in the form of pets including saltwater fish, a Dalmatian and a beleaguered parrot. His sense of humor was timely, poignant, and endearing. He was forever charming.

In 2016, Dr. Adams married Dr. Frances Hunter (deceased), an English professor at Arkansas State University and retired from his practice. In retirement, he enjoyed spending time at the lake and with his grandchildren who adoringly called him "Buddy."

Dr. Adams leaves behind his three siblings, Dr. William Adams, Ann Adams, and Sue Pittman, his six children, eleven grandchildren, and one great-grandchild. As he was fond of saying, "that's a helluva a deal."

The memorial service will be held at St. Mary's Cathedral, 700 Poplar Avenue, on Saturday, September 23rd at 3:00pm. Visitation will be held at the church beginning at 2:00 pm and following the service, a reception celebrating Dr. Adams' life will be held at the Memphis Country Club. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the , 5352 Estate Office Park Dr., Suite 1, Memphis, 38119.
Published in The Commercial Appeal from Sept. 22 to Sept. 23, 2017
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