George Hamilton Adams, Jr., age 89, passed away on Monday, March 28, 2016 exactly as he lived: surrounded by good books, exciting ideas, people he loved and those who loved him in return. Born in Mecklenburg County, NC on June 29, 1926, he was the only child of George Hamilton Adams, Sr. and Eldridge Tutt Adams.
At the age of six, he moved with his family to 1611 Craig Street in the Hayes-Barton neighborhood of Raleigh, NC. George recounted many fond memories of friends in that area, but he held none more dear than Dan Martin. They met in 2nd grade and remained lifelong friends. Georges mother and father were founding members of Hayes-Barton Methodist Church, and he spoke warmly of the circle of friendships created by that church family. A Sunday afternoon ritual was helping his Dad, church treasurer, count the collection for that day.
In 1944, he graduated from Broughton High School and left the following night from the old Seaboard Train Station for basic training. George enlisted in the Navy and was trained as a Medical Corpsman assigned to the US Marines. He served his country honorably and was discharged in 1946.
George was always grateful for the G.I. Bill, which helped him to achieve a wonderful liberal arts education at Davidson College. There he honed his ability to look at all sides of an issue, draw conclusions based on facts, and to appreciate the value of differing opinions. He was a member of Beta Theta Pi fraternity and served as president his senior year, prior to graduating from Davidson in 1950.
George began his career in Charlotte with the WBT radio station, in the promotions department. He remained in Charlotte for a few years but moved back to Raleigh and went to work for Vocational Rehabilitation, where he was able to work with newly released patients from the mental hospitals. With the development of new drugs, mental illness could be managed, and people were able to return to normal lives. He moved from V.R. to what was then the Department of Mental Health, and went to work as an Information Specialist.
George remained with the Mental Health System, through many changes, for almost 38 years. During that time, he served as interim Director of Caswell Center on two occasions and ended his career as the director of the Eastern Region Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, Substance Abuse Services in Greenville. One of his great disappointments was witnessing the demise of true community mental health with the advent of the so-called reform effort.
George always believed his finest accomplishment was being a Dad, and he served as a wonderful role model for his four children. He embodied the Robert Louis Stevenson quote, and it would be his wish that we remain constant in tribulation, moderate in wrath and in all changes of fortune, even to the gates of death, loyal and loving to one another. He was always a generous man, with items of measurable and immeasurable worth, like his love and his time.
He was an ardent believer that the greatest commandment is that we love one another. George faithfully served many churches throughout his lifetime, beginning with Hayes-Barton Methodist. He served on the Board of Deacons of Pullen Memorial Baptist Church in Raleigh and in later years as a deacon at First Presbyterian Church in Greenville, NC and as an Elder of West Haven Presbyterian Church in Rocky Mount, NC.
He deeply believed in social justice and that people should have as many chances as necessary. Putting those beliefs into action, George served on the Farmville Child Development Center Board, P.O.R.T. (adolescent drug abuse treatment center) Board of Directors in Greenville, N.C., and various other boards dedicated to helping people reach their full potential.
George was a lifelong, proud Democrat and developed his love of politics listening, as a young child alongside his parents, to the Fireside Chats of President Franklin Roosevelt. He helped his father tack up signs when his Dad ran for the office of State Auditor in the early 1930s.
George was a precinct chair and judge in Nash and Pitt Counties. He served on the Nash County Democratic Executive Committee and the Executive Committee of the NC Democratic Party. He proudly cast his vote for Roy A. Cooper every time he ran for office, and again in March for Governor in the Democratic Primary.
George was grateful for having lived a full and happy life, and we, his family, are grateful for having been a part of it. We always knew we were prominent in his thoughts, because he never missed an opportunity to tell us so. For George, family was everything, and he rejoiced in our presence, and in particular that of his grandchildren. He will be truly missed by those who loved him and were loved by him, and we are better for it.
George leaves behind to cherish his memory, his wife of 34 years, and his forever love, Pat Bivins Adams; his sons, Michael G. Adams of Chapel Hill; David H. Adams of Raleigh; daughters, Ann Adams Bova and her husband, Tony; Sharon E. Adams and her husband, David Schneiderman, all of Colorado. He is also survived by his grandchildren, Morgan Bova of Colorado; Justin Adams of Seattle, WA, and Andrew Adams of Chapel Hill; and Andrews mother, Jenny Cobb Adams; his brother-in-law, Douglas Gordon Bivins; and his former wife and good friend, Nancy G. Adams.
His family invites you to join with them at Georges home in Rocky Mount on Wednesday, March 30, 2016 from 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM to enjoy good food, drinks, fellowship and memories. All are welcome. A Celebration of Life will be held Thursday, March 31, 2016 at 11:00 AM at West Haven Presbyterian Church, 1001 West Haven Blvd., Rocky Mount with the Rev. Sam Coddington and Rev. Dan Davis officiating. A private scattering of ashes will be held at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, please consider donations to the West Haven Presbyterian Church, 1001 West Haven Blvd., Rocky Mount, NC, 27803 or the Friends of Hospice, 2460 Curtis Ellis Dr., Rocky Mount, NC, 27804.
Arrangements entrusted to Wheeler and Woodlief Funeral Home & Cremation Services, 1130 N. Winstead Avenue, Rocky Mount, NC 27804. You may share memories and condolences with the family by visiting www.wheelerwoodlief.com.