ROBERT W. ADAMS
Dad was born on the Blackfoot Indian Reservation in northern Montana on October 16, 1923. Due to Montana winter weather, his birth certificate wasn't recorded in the nearest town – Browning – until the following May, a discrepancy that would complicate his application for a passport in later years, but not his induction into the U.S. Army during World War II.
He spent the first nine years of his life either living or spending vacations on the reservation, where his mother acted as school teacher, his grandmother acted as nurse, and his grandfather acted as agricultural agent for the United States government. His father was away much of the time in his employment as a customs inspector on the Canadian border. Dad had fond memories of a young Blackfoot friend – Alouicious Many Tail Feathers Coming over the Mountain, nicknamed "Buckskin," a talented horseman. He particularly remembered Buckskin taming a horse that was known as a killer that no one else would even attempt to ride. In addition to horseback riding, Dad and his older brothers, Willard and Wesley, became skilled dry fly fishermen on the Big Badger and Little Badger Creeks near their home.
When Dad was very young, he was adopted by the Blackfoot tribe and given the name of No-sos-ko-ki-yo, or Four Horns, in honor of a long-lived and wealthy member of the tribe. Dad found the adoption ceremony loud and frankly terrifying. He thought the Indians were going to scalp him, and tried to make a run for the house. He was most upset when his grandfather made him give a bag of oranges to the
Blackfeet in appreciation for the gift they had given him.
Dad's family moved to Great Falls, Montana when he started school. He graduated from Great Falls high school at age 17 and shortly thereafter moved to Denver where he was employed as a bank teller. He found housing in a boarding house run by a woman from Montana. Sometime after moving to the boarding house, Dad and a fellow boarder got into a bit of a competition over another tenant – a vivacious petite brunette. She was my mother, Irene Carroll Young Adams. Mom and Dad didn't get to spend much time together because Dad was soon drafted into the United State Army. He proposed on one trip back through Denver, and, during another brief visit, got married at Trinity Methodist Church - only four days after receiving his commission as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Army !
I was born while he was overseas as part of the Army of Occupation in Japan. Mom was living with her parents in a cabin near Estes Park, and the mountains are still home to me. Two of my second cousins from Allenspark are here today, and I want to thank them for coming.
When Dad was discharged from active duty as a First Lieutenant in August of 1946, the GI bill made it possible for him to get a college education. He graduated from the University of Colorado with a degree in accounting. My sister, Linda, was born during these college years – he often mentioned that missing part of an exam in order to be present for her birth cost him the only "B" he got in his entire undergraduate career ! He then went on to obtain a Master of Business Administration from the University of Denver – that was in 1954, long before an MBA became the required degree for anyone wishing to succeed in business! He also received his Honorable Discharge from the Army Reserves in 1953.
His entire professional career was as a Certified Public Accountant. He passed the very difficult four part exam the first time he took it – with the highest score in the State of Colorado and the 4th highest score in the entire nation. He emphasized tax rather than audit work, and was admitted to practice before the Internal Revenue Service, where he won a number of contested difficult tax cases on behalf of his clients. He worked for many years for a local Denver firm, Hamma and Nelson, where he became a partner. When I was in college, he and some associates left to start their own firm. He and his partners didn't remain a small independent firm for too long – they were shortly invited to become partners at Pannell, Kerr, Forster, and international accounting firm. Dad retired from Pannell Kerr Forster in 1985.
Dad came from a long line of committed Methodists. His paternal grandfather was a circuit minister. Dad was a charter member of the Wheat Ridge Masonic Lodge when it was founded in 1959. That Lodge subsequently merged with the Albert Pike Lodge and Dad eventually achieved the 32nd degree, or Scottish Rite. Dad's fondest memory of his own father was the time Granddad Adams boarded a train in Riverside, California and rode all the way to Denver in a chair car just to be present when Dad achieved his third degree in Masons. Granddad Adams then promptly boarded the train and rode it all the way back to Riverside. This same grandfather did not come to graduations or weddings for Linda and me, but he came for this.
Although a college education was something his father never contemplated for him – and in fact Dad had to turn down a partial scholarship to Northwestern University because his parents couldn't or wouldn't help with tuition - Dad saw to it that college was a given for my sister and me. He also saw to it that we lived in beautiful homes, took family vacations to every national park in the Western United States, learned to swim and dive at Rolling Hills Country Club, learned to ride horses in Westernaires, and even gave us an eight week trip to Europe during the summer of 1964. Even in the 60's, Colorado College was an expensive proposition – I got a wonderful education, and my most conservative father, in return, got a very politically liberal daughter. My sister attended CU – and got golf and skiing lessons, as well as a car, in lieu of all that tuition my parents paid to Colorado College.
Mom and Dad had a very small wedding under wartime conditions at Trinity Methodist Church in downtown Denver. Mom's Dad was in Alaska and wasn't even there to give her away. But they saw to it that Linda and I had beautiful formal weddings with all the bells and whistles. Then they waited – not too patiently in my case – for grandchildren. They threw a large reception in their home to welcome their first grandchild, Heather Linn Lopez, in 1970, and helped care for Heather while I was at the hospital delivering her sister, Amber Elise, in 1972. They timed a visit to Florida in order to be present when Julie Rebecca Bugner arrived on their wedding anniversary in 1975, but couldn't make Germany for the arrival of Adam Marshall in 1979. Finally, Dad had a male heir and he and Adam always shared a special relationship.
Mom and Dad were able to travel extensively to Southeast Asia, Japan, Tahiti, Hawaii, Egypt, and Europe, before my mother's failing health curtailed their travel. Dad was a faithful and patient nurse for Mom's long decline. She died the day before their 49th wedding anniversary on November 24 in 1993.
Some time after Mom died, Dad received a lunch invitation from an old bowling competitor from Rolling Hills Country Club – Marie Stolte. Marie had a condo in Mexico, and after spending some fun time deep sea fishing with her there, he came home to Colorado, bought a Santa Claus outfit, and flew back to Mexico to surprise her on Christmas Day. You may notice the Santa Claus in shorts hugging a good-looking petite brunette in the slide show that accompanies this service. Dad and Marie were married on Valentine's Day in 1998, and had a lot of fun traveling to Mexico and building a house together at Cambridge Park. Marie's children, Sherry and Mark, and their spouses, Mike and Linda, welcomed Dad into their families and treated him as one of their own. Dad also acquired three new grandchildren: Scott, Taylor and Steven.
Dad welcomed his first great grandchildren, Luke and Jake Folsom, into the world in 2001 and 2003, and never missed a birthday celebration. Luke and Jake's Mom, Heather Folsom, was the only member of Dad's own family in the Denver area, and she and her husband Matt did their best to include Dad in their busy lives. Matt also did his best to keep Dad's aging and frustrating computer up and running. Dad learned to handle e-mail, and faithfully kept up with his correspondence on the computer. He also traveled to Mexico for Amber's wedding to Shawn in 2007, and displayed several pictures of himself hugging a beautiful bride on a Mexican beach around his home.
When Marie's health also went into steep decline, Dad was once again a patient and loving nurse. He lost Marie on July 1 of 2007.
Linda and her husband John then brought Dad often to their home in the St. Louis area, where he had a ball as a member of their extensive social circle. After I moved back to Pueblo from Texas, I helped when I could, and treated him to birthday and Father's Day celebrations at the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs, where he and Mom spent their brief honeymoon.
Dad was sad and lost after Marie's death. He set a goal for himself: to get to the weddings of the two grandchildren who were not yet married. He attended wedding for both Julie and Adam in 2008. He was tickled at the prospect of more great grandchildren when both Amber and Julie announced their pregnancies in 2009.
He didn't like to cook or eat alone, so he ate often at Chili's at 32nd and Youngfield. There the bartender, Bruce, and a group of regulars eventually enticed him to join their circle, where they made him one of their own. They all visited often during his last illness.
Dad was a fierce competitor and loved the game of cribbage. He was willing to take on anyone willing to be routinely humiliated. He won the last two games of cribbage we ever played together the week before hi8s stroke.
Dad survived two heart attacks, lung cancer, bladder cancer, skin cancer and a small stroke. His body was a war horse, but it couldn't overcome the damage to his ability to swallow, reason and communicate that was inflicted by the massive stroke he experienced in September of last year. With the loving help of the staff at Wheat Ridge Manor Nursing Home, he fought hard to come back to us after that stroke, but just couldn't make it. We will miss him terribly.
What we inherited from Robert Warren Adams was his integrity, honesty, love of God, love of country and love of family. When someone you love becomes a memory, the memory becomes a treasure.