LeNeve Foster Hodges Adams, of Raleigh, died Thursday, April 22, 2010 at Select Specialty Hospital in Durham. She was born in South Hill, VA on August 13, 1931, daughter of the late Yewell Melvin and Ellis Elizabeth (Foster) Hodges.
Ollie was born and raised in South Hill, Virginia, and graduated from South Hill High School. She attended Westhampton College in Richmond, Virginia and graduated in 1952 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, with a degree in economics and as a member of Phi Beta Kappa and the Alpha Delta Phi sorority. In college, she acquired her nickname "Ollie" from Olive Oyl in the Popeye cartoon. After college, Ollie married Joseph Allen Adams in 1953, after which they were stationed at the U.S. Naval Ammunition Depot in Hawthorne, Nevada for his Naval service. Afterwards, they moved to Raleigh in 1958, settling in the Cameron Park neighborhood in 1960 where she resided the rest of her life.
By profession Ollie was a travel agent, and later a real estate agent with Merrill Lynch and York Properties, until retirement. As a volunteer, she served for a number of years as treasurer of the Wake County Phi Beta Kappa Society, and also, using Ellen Mordecai's original journals, restored the garden at the Mordecai House in Raleigh. She was also a docent at the Mordecai House and at the North Carolina Museum of Art. She was an active member of the United Church of Christ when it was in downtown Raleigh, and of the Raleigh Oratorio Society and of the Raleigh Fine Arts Society. In 1977, she completed a postgraduate course in garden design at the Inchbald School of Design, London, England, and was also accepted for graduate school at Harvard University. Ollie was a longtime member of the NC Botanical Gardens in Chapel Hill, as well as the JC Raulston Arboretum of NC State University in Raleigh. As a noted and creative gardener with extensive knowledge of rare plants, she was friends with English gardening authors Rosemary Verey (who designed one of Prince Charles' gardens) and Beth Chatto, and is mentioned in several gardening books. Ollie combined her loves of gardening and travel, to organize and lead a number of garden tours to England, and cultivated a number of friends in England, who visited her in Raleigh. She also traveled to Russia, India, China, and Egypt, as well as Europe and Mexico.
A devoted grandmother as well as mother, Ollie spent countless hours teaching her grandchildren the art of gardening and the Latin names of many plants while planting bulbs, ferns, herbs and rare plants in her extensive and constantly changing personal garden at her home in Cameron Park, which was featured in Southern Living magazine. Sensitive to all, Ollie would often bring her children articles from The New York Times, that were of interest to them.
Ollie maintained a lifelong passion for economics and finance, and her children will greatly miss her advice. Despite her worldly travels, she never lost her small-town open and talkative nature. After the stroke which silenced her voice, she showed her immense strength in the battle with the complications that followed. Even after losing her voice, she managed to communicate with her loved ones through her beautifully expressive, blue eyes. Only a week before her battle was over, a close friend from Chicago, a fellow literature and opera lover – flew to Durham to spend five days just with Ollie - holding her hands and sitting in her room – for long hours at a time.
Survivors include her daughter, Ann A. Borden and husband William of Raleigh, sons, Jefferson H. Adams and wife Dorota of Raleigh and Poznan, Poland, and Spencer A. Adams and wife Dennise of Chapel Hill; grandchildren, Stefan Gruber, Caroline Borden, Eva Gruber, James Borden, and Morgan Adams; sisters, Jacqueline Walker of Lawrenceville, GA and Betsy Sterman of Washington, DC, and brother, Falcon Hodges of South Hill, VA. She was preceded by her parents and her brother, Melvin Hodges.
Funeral Service will be held on Monday, April 26, 2010 at 12 Noon in the chapel of Brown Wynne Funeral Home, 300 St. Mary's Street, Raleigh. Family will receive friends on Monday from 11 AM until the time of the service at the funeral home as well as at the home of LeNeve following the funeral service. Burial will follow on Tuesday, April 27, 2010 at 2 PM at Oakwood Cemetery in South Hill, VA.
Contributions for the Ollie Endowment in LeNeve's memory can be made to JC Raulston Arboretum, Campus Box 7522, Raleigh, NC 27695-7522. (memo line: In Memory of Ollie Adams)