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John Alfred Adams was born July 24, 1938, in Lesterville, Mo. His parents were John Quincy and Lula Mae (Scoggins) Adams. He was born in the log house built by his grandpa Mose Adams and was raised on the family farm where he learned hard work and respect. He was a high school baseball and basketball star. When John was 17, he asked his mom to take him to the Air Force recruiter in St Louis to enlist. He did his basic training at Lackland AFB in Texas and specialized training was in maintaining the B47.
In 1956 he got first orders to the Burns Radar Station and traveled as far as Ontario Oregon. The train left early so he ended up hitchhiking to Burns where he met Beverly Jean Curtis. John was a suave airman with a duck tail and when he saw the Bonnie Lassies in a Burns parade, he spotted a specific Lassie. He found out where she lived and showed up at her door. They had a whirlwind romance and were married on March 16, 1958 at Hope Lutheran Church in Hines, Oregon. Their first child, Dennis, was born later that year.
While working at the radar station his duties included Security Police, Managing the Base Exchange and writing for the Mile High Monitor, the base newspaper. The newswriting became the basis for his future Air Force career with tours in Vietnam, Greenland, and Okinawa. He managed radio stations, newspapers and took hundreds of photographs which are now part of the Air Force archives. He had one picture of Dennis with his new sister Jennifer published in the Air Force Times.
In 1959 during an 18-month tour, John received orders to Okinawa where he did public relations and news writing. He then got orders to Eglin AFB in Florida. While stationed there their middle child, Jennifer, was born. The next set of orders came, and he was off to Sondrestrom AFB in Greenland where he ran the TV and radio station for one year. Bev and the kids stayed in Hines with her parents Earl and Dorothy Curtis. The Air Commandos at Eglin AFB was the next destination, where his duties were writing copy for the new space program. This is when their youngest daughter Julie was born. In 1966 he was ordered to Ft. Benjamin Harrison in Indiana where a joint services communications school was being organized. After completing the training, he became an instructor. John received orders to Vietnam in 1969 and was tasked as the NCOIC for combat news, where his reporting was fed to all news outlets.
In 1970 he received orders to Scott AFB MAC headquarters and coordinated the Air Force news service. This was his last assignment where after 5 years he retired from the Air Force completing 20 years of service. Military honors he received included: Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal, Combat Action Medal, National Defense Service Medal, and Vietnam Service Medal. During his time in the Air Force John met several dignitaries. They included: Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson, as well as Air Force Colonel Jimmy Stewart.
In 1975 he moved Beverly and the kids to Harney County Oregon where Beverly was raised. He worked for Hines Lumber Company for four years and began his next career at the BLM Burns District where he was the Maintenance Supervisor for the district’s parks. Among his favorites were Steens Mountains and Page Springs campgrounds. His life outside of the BLM was filled with his love of ranching. They purchased the ranch on Harney Road in 1980, raised beef cattle and harvested hay crops for more than 30 years.
During his 43 years in Harney County John served as an adult Sunday School teacher, deacon and elder at Faith Baptist Church. He has been an integral part in the lives of each of his three children, eight grandchildren and fourteen great-grandchildren where he is lovingly called Papa John. John enjoyed the outdoors and watching football and his hobbies included: hunting, boating, horseback riding, camping and fishing with his son. There were also many epic road trips to national parks and visits back to Adams Holler outside of Lesterville. He played tennis with his daughters and played on Air Force softball teams. He maintained relationships with friends and relatives all over the country. His love of the written word had him offering op ed pieces in the Burns Times Herald and his cards and letters are a cherished memory by all.
He is survived by his wife of 65 years Beverly Jean (Curtis) Adams, three children and their spouses: Dennis and Carol Adams of Burns, OR, Jennifer and Matt Hibbs of Boise, ID and Julie and Jeffrey Finch of Oro Valley, AZ, eight grandchildren and their spouses: Jessi Adams, Gabe and Maddy Adams, Cori and Bryan Wright, Zach and Jen Adams, Alec and Jessica Hibbs, Lauren and Micah White, Ethan Finch, Adam and Natalie Finch and fourteen great-grandchildren: Taylor, Dylan, Riley, Austin, Max, Marek, George, John, Kaitlyn, Ashley, Jack, Weston, Owen, Cameron and one more due in January next year.
John was preceded in death by his parents John Quincy and Lula Mae Adams, sisters Francis and Florence and brother James (Bud), paternal grandparents Mont and Lucy Adams and maternal grandparents Luther and Rosa Scoggins. He has many beloved relatives remaining, including a sister-in-law, nieces, nephews and cousins.
His consistent prayer at gatherings was gratitude for his family and their health and well-being.
We will miss you Papa John.
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