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Robert Louis Adams

May 12, 1931 - January 5, 2023

U.S. Veteran
Obituary Viewed 228 times

Robert (Bob) Louis Adams (Lt. Col. USAF retired), 91, of Orting, WA passed away peacefully on January 5th, 2023.

Bob was born on May 12, 1931, to Robert Ferdinand Adams and Amelia (Emily) Jeske. His mother passed on when he was 8 and her sisters, Amanda Jeske and Augusta (Gus) Denning of Grand Haven, MI helped care for him. When he was 12, he purchased his first car and earned gas money from the school district by transporting other students to school. When he was 13, he began working at Kroger’s grocery store, a job he would keep throughout high school. That same year, he began dating Joyce Wiersema, the girl who would become the love of his life. In high school, he was co-captain of his football team. He planned on working full time at Kroger’s after high school, but one day just before graduation, he got called into the principal’s office. He thought some of his antics might have caught up to him but wasn’t sure which one. He was shocked to find out that the principal had gotten him a principal’s scholarship to attend the Michigan School of Mining and Technology (now Michigan Technology University).

Bob spent the first year at the Sault Ste Marie Campus (which is Lake Superior State University) then moved to the campus in Houghton, MI. His girlfriend moved to Houghton and was a switchboard operator. He earned money by working as a busboy and cook at a fraternity house, as a coal miner, and from the Army ROTC when he became a junior. He wasn’t doing well in school until his girlfriend moved there and she got him back onto the path of studying and towing the line (a pattern which would repeat itself many times!!). When they were coming home for Thanksgiving, their car broke down going up a hill and it was then that he asked Joyce to be his wife. They got married in Indiana with his dad and stepmom (Theresa), her dad Stephen (Stub) and stepmom (Rose) and her youngest sister (Stevie) in attendance. They then returned to school and were able to obtain student housing.

Bob got his degree in Mechanical Engineering and went to work for US Steel Corporation in Gary, IN just outside of Chicago. Five days after his son was born, he was called up to serve in the US Air Force. He first studied to be an electronics/electrical officer but then switched to being an explosive ordinance disposal (EOD) and munitions officer. During his 26 years in the US Air Force, he and his family lived in many places: Biloxi, MI; Rapid City, SD (where Cyndi was born); Guam (where Denise was born), Lake Charles, LA (where Gini was born), Marquette, MI; Bossier City, LA; Riverside, CA; Pearl City, HI; Bellevue, NE, and Albuquerque, NM.

After retiring from the USAF, Bob started a second career at Boeing, first working on nuclear safety for the B-52 in Wichita, KS and then working as the Boeing Ordinance Engineer in Seattle, WA. While in Seattle, he lived on Lake Tapps Island, WA and in Lacy, WA. After 15 years he retired from Boeing and moved to Vancouver, WA. In retirement, he and his wife enjoyed traveling in their RV around the country and taking trips overseas, including a cruise around the world. When they were not traveling, Bob became a passionate tinkerer who would often find something that needed to be “changed or fixed” in the various homes they lived in.

In 2014, Bob and Joyce moved to Orting, WA. In 2017, after 65 years of marriage, the love of his life passed on and he missed her tremendously. They always said they would “keep the fork” for when they sat down at the Lord’s table. Dad would say “Mom’s getting the table ready”.

Bob was a force of nature, determined to provide for his family and give them the life he felt they deserved. His family meant more to him than anything else in the world.

Bob was predeceased by his mother, Amelia (Emily), his father, Robert, and his wife, Joyce. He is survived by his:

  1. Four children: Robert, Cynthia, Denise, and Virginia.
  2. Ten grandchildren: Mike, Joe, Megan, Amanda, Jessica, Sara, Nikki, Ashley, Donald, and Adam.
  3. Twenty-four Great Grandchildren:

Bob’s final resting place will be with his wife, Joyce, at the Tahoma National Cemetery.  

In lieu of flowers, donations can be given to the Alzheimer’s Association (https://act.alz.org/donate) or the American Heart Association (https://www.heart.org/donate).