Walter Strong Adams III, 88, of Chattanooga, passed away at his residence. He was born January 7, 1924, in Chattanooga to Walter Strong Adams Jr. and Inez Catherine Gray Adams at their home on Cameron Hill. He had two sisters, Nell Worrall of Denver CO and Gray Johnson of Montgomery, AL.
Walter attended Missionary Ridge Grammar School and Brainerd Junior High School. He graduated from Chattanooga High School in 1941 where he was Cadet Major of one of the ROTC battalions. His lifetime hobby was photography. He regularly attended the Methodist Church with his family.
After high school Walter attended Georgia Tech in Atlanta where he was studying engineering. After Pearl Harbor was bombed, he was conscripted into the army at Fort Oglethorpe. Following eight months in the A.S.T.P. and basic training, he was sent overseas to Europe with the 106th Infantry Division, Company 423-G, where he was classified as a Light Machine Gunner.
In Europe, their destination was in an area in the Ardennes, near St Vith and the city of Schoenberg, along the German/Belgium border. The battle started December 16, 1944, and has since become known as The Battle of the Bulge. Fortunately, Walter was not killed, but the Company ran out of ammunition, food, and radio connections. They were surrounded by the Germans and had to surrender. Walter became a prisoner of war. After arriving at prison camp 4B in Germany, he and other prisoners were selected to work illegally in a German benzene factory making synthetic gasoline for the German armored units.
Walter was a prisoner of war for a total of 4 1/2 months. He was liberated in a half-starved condition by an advanced guard of the oncoming Allied armies in April 1945. He had jaundice and blood poisoning in his right leg caused by untreated shrapnel wound. Back in the States, he was given an Honorable Discharge at Fort Oglethorpe. With the G.I. Bill of Rights, he earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. He was active in the Rotary club while living in Chattanooga in the 70's.
Walter started work in 1953 at American Lava Company in Chattanooga, in charge of quality control and engineering for Tatania Products. Soon after, this company merged with Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company (known as 3M) of St. Paul, Minnesota. By 1965, he had become plant manager of Titania in Chattanooga as well as the 3M plant, which he had opened in Laurens, South Carolina. He rose from manager to Marketing Director, and finally became in St. Paul the International Marketing Management Information Manager of the Electrical Products Division. On January 27, 1986, he suffered a heart fibrillation, which ended his working career. He officially retired from 3M in 1989.
In 1946 he married Mary Sue Anderson and they reared three sons and a daughter. They are Walter IV, and his wife Charlla; Isaac and his wife Betty; David and his wife LeeAnn; and Rebecca Adams Levi Beardsley and her husband Jeff. Walter's children presented him with 10 grandchildren: Matthew, Quinn, Lauren, Issac Jr., Ashley, Scott, Jeremy and John Adams; and Brianna and Marissa Levi. Walter Adams also had 3 great granddaughters, Lily, Ella, and Gwendolyn Adams.
In 1985, Walter married his high school sweetheart, Joy Effron Abelson. They enjoyed numerous activities, such as square dancing, theater, travel, and evenings together. Their travels included two cruises to the Caribbean, a vacation to all the Scandinavian countries, and a trip to St. Petersburg, Russia.
Special thanks and appreciation to: Lachel Britt, Trina Brown, Angela Smith, and to the Chattanooga Hospice staff for their loving care.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Walter's name to Hospice of Chattanooga, 4411 Oakwood Drive, Chattanooga, TN 37416 and to Mizpah Congregation, 923 McCallie Avenue, Chattanooga, TN 37403.
A Memorial Service celebrating Walter's life will be held at the Ochs Memorial Temple, 923 McCallie Avenue at 12:30 p.m. on June 17, 2012, with Rabbi William Tepper and Chaplain Dewayne Renfro officiating. A military service will be included honoring Walter's service in the Battle of the Bulge during World War II. Please share your thoughts and memories. Following this service, a meal of consolation will be served in Feinstein Hall in the Mizpah complex.
Arrangements are by the North Chapel of Chattanooga Funeral Home, Crematory and Florist, 5401 Highway 153, Hixson, TN 37343.