John H. Adams
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Headmaster Emeritus

John "Jack" H. Adams passed away Tuesday, July 8, 2014 surrounded by family and friends after a brief battle with cancer. He was born in Buffalo, New York on January 10, 1918 as the middle child to John Howard Adams and Ruth Clark Adams.

Jack's early life was spent in Hamden, Connecticut where he finished high school before entering Yale University with the class of 1941. Within a few months after completing college, he entered the military service with the United States Army Air Force, trained as a navigator during World War ll and was eventually stationed in northeast England. In November of 1943, his plane was shot down and he spent 18 months as a POW in Stalag Luft I, a German prison camp. After he was released and returned to the states, Jack worked at the Yale recruiting office to assist returning veterans with enrolling in order to further their education.

In 1946, he married the love of his life, Dorothy Wheeler in Woodbridge, Connecticut. They were soon blessed with three children and Jack began a life of teaching. The family moved from New Haven to Cleveland and back to New Haven before heading west to Santa Barbara in 1958. There, Jack accepted a teaching position at Laguna Blanca School in Hope Ranch where he enjoyed several years teaching history and English. When Headmaster, Samuel Rugg, died in 1961, Jack was recruited to take over and held that position until his retirement in 1983. The Laguna campus, staff and students (new and old) remained near and dear to his heart for the rest of his life.

Once retired, Jack and Dotsy traveled and loved being grandparents; they especially enjoyed summer vacations in Jackson Hole where their friends and families often gathered. In 2002, they moved into Casa Dorinda where Jack would pursue various activities, dedicating his life to his family, his veteran organizations, education, playing bridge and the many causes he believed in. He was a donor to Direct Relief International and the American Red Cross and he was a member of the Santa Barbara Club, the Yale Club, Birnam Wood Golf Club and the Valley Club of Montecito.

In his later life, Jack's greatest accomplishment was authoring his book entitled "Lest We Forget: A Navigator's Tale," the story of his boyhood fascination with early aviation, his military career and the 18 months he spent as a POW. Thanks to his co-author, Ann Moore, and a host of others, Jack was able to see the book to its completion, have it published and in the local book stores?a very proud time for him.

Jack is survived by his loving wife of 67 years, Dotsy, and his three children: Arthur C. Adams (Denise), Nancy Adams Vidoni (Pier) and John H Adams lll (Bonnie), a brother, Bruce C. Adams of South Carolina, five grandchildren and two great grandchildren. The family would like to thank the staff at Casa Dorinda and especially his personal care givers, Miguel, Vicente and Riggo, who protected and patiently cared for him for so many years. Also making his final transition so peaceful was staff from the Santa Barbara Visiting Nurse and Hospice Association.

A memorial service will be held Friday, July 18 at All Saints by the Sea Episcopal Church in Montecito at 3:00 p.m. followed by a reception at Casa Dorinda. 

Contributions in Jacks's honor may be made to the "Jack and Dotsy Adams Scholarship Endowment" at Laguna Blanca School or All Saints by the Sea Episcopal Church. Jack was a friend to everyone who knew him and will be greatly missed. The world was a better place with him in it. Jack loved "High Flight," the poem written by John Gillespie Magee that spoke so eloquently to their mutual love of flying?

"..And, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod the high untrespassed sanctity of space,

Put out my hand, and touched the face of God."

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in Santa Barbara News-Press from Jul. 15 to Jul. 19, 2014.
Memories & Condolences
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4 entries
July 18, 2014
Dear John,

I am so sorry for your loss but, WHAT A "LEGACY".May the Lord be with you in your time of grief. Love you.

Virginia McVay
July 17, 2014
Nancy ~ I hadn't had the pleasure of meeting your dad, but what an enormous life presence he must have had.
-Karen Vidoni
July 16, 2014
Just found out. I'm so sorry for your loss. If there's anything I can ever do for you just call. From here or there. Love is sent your way Kathy
Kathy Alire
July 15, 2014
Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Love to you all,
Ellen & Jim Edwards
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