Robert V. Adams
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December 27, 1931 - February 10, 2015 Robert V. Adams, entrepreneur, Xerox executive, board member of the L.A. Opera, philanthropist, nature photographer, beloved husband, father, and grandfather, died in Santa Monica, California on February 10th after a long and courageous battle with heart disease and cancer. He was 83 years old. Born in Hammond, Indiana December 27, 1931, he attended Purdue University on a track scholarship and was the first of his family to attend college. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1954 and in later years he was honored as a Distinguished Engineering Alumnus, won the Outstanding Mechanical Engineer Award, and received an honorary doctorate in engineering. He took great pride in giving back to the university by endowing a chair in Mechanical Engineering. While working as an engineering manager at Inland Steel, he earned his MBA at the University of Chicago and would remain on their advisory board as a lifetime member. The largest lecture hall in the downtown campus of the Business School is named in his honor. He joined Xerox in 1969 when it bought Scientific Data Systems, the company for which he was then working. As president of Xerox's Printing Systems Division he led the development, manufacturing, sales, and marketing of laser printing products and became executive vice president of Xerox in 1985. After retiring he returned to become CEO of Xerox's new venture capital operation, Xerox Technology Ventures. He started nine new companies; two of which went public. In an interview Bob once said, "When you're in a new venture, there are no rules. There is no path. You cannot look at where you've been to figure out where you want to go. You cannot look at someone else who's doing it already. You have to invent as you go along." In 1998 he joined the board of the L.A. Opera company, creating a long range plan that to this day has a significant impact on the company. With his wife he underwrote the Robert Wilson production of Madama Butterfly and in 2009 he was elected a lifetime trustee of the opera. In recent years he pursued his lifetime passion for photography. His nature photographs drew critical praise, appeared at the San Diego Natural History Museum and were featured at galleries in Twin Bridges, Montana and Venice, California. He loved nature, music, fly fishing, travel, his ranch in Montana, books, fine wines, films, hiking, and was devoted to his many friends and his family. Always the last to speak, he had the most to say with the fewest of words. He is survived by his wife Barbara Abercrombie; the children of his first marriage, Leslie Adams of Twin Bridges, Montana; Julie Olson of Oahu, Hawaii; and Bo Adams (Kristine) of Torrance, California; his stepchildren, Brooke Abercrombie and Gillan Abercrombie Frame; his brothers Richard Adams and Paul Adams, and seven grandchildren. A memorial service will be held at All Saints Episcopal Church in Beverly Hills on February 21st. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to The Music Guild of All Saints in Beverly Hills or The Educational Fund of the Los Angeles Opera or a charity of your choice.

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Published in Los Angeles Times from Feb. 19 to Feb. 20, 2015.
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11 entries
February 13, 2019
Never forgotten and still miss seeing him and Barbara in Twin Bridges.
Michelle Van Dyke
March 3, 2015
Though we knew Bob only through his ranch in Montana. Jim and I felt a connection to a fine man who had integrity and kindness. Barbara was a shining star in his life and my heart goes out to her and his family. May you all keep those memories of him close to your heart. My deepest sympathy, Michelle Van Dyke
February 23, 2015
February 23, 2015
In loving memory of a wonderful person who lived life to the fullest, may he rest in peace, and may our God and father grant you the comfort needed by means of prayers, at this sad time
Gary L
February 22, 2015
I only knew R though the eyes of his wife
Barbara. But the love and friendship that existed between them was enviable and rare in today's world. May he be missed for all he meant in the life of those who loved him, and may Barbara find the strength to go on with only the memories they collected during their time together, and in the writing she shares with the world. Sending you blessing.....Rabbi Lynne
February 20, 2015
My thoughts and prayers are with you in your time of grief. May your memories bring you comfort.
A. H.
February 19, 2015
Rest in peace Sir.
Fermin Abac
February 19, 2015
Hold on to all of your good memories. They will help to comfort you.
February 19, 2015
Uncle Bob clearly was a very generous, brilliant, and much admired man. I was so sorry to hear of his long struggle with illness and of his passing. I know he will be desperately missed by family and friends who have relied on him for wisdom, guidance and love. My thoughts and prayers are with all who loved him.
Linda Uhl Dremstedt
February 19, 2015
I worked for Bob for almost ten years and he was a great guy. He was super smart, tough and a great leader. He was anti-corporate while in parallel being a top executive. We remained friends after I left Xerox and joined Sun Microsystems. I am sad and will miss Bob. He helped me when I was down and was always straight and you knew where he was coming from. A very cool guy! My heart goes out to his family and friends.
John Shoemaker
February 19, 2015
Mr Adams was truly a great person who will be dearly missed. My sincere condolences to the family, and may they be comforted by the words at 1saiah 33:24, which says in part "No resident shall say, 'I am sick'"
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