John Adams

March 13, 1924 – December 17, 2019

John Adams

John Quincy Adams, 95, of Bainbridge Island, WA passed peacefully on December 17, 2019 with family present. John was born on March 13, 1924 in West Allis, Wisconsin to Irving (Daniel) and Martha Adams.

After graduating from Nathan Hale High School (West Allis) in June of 1942, he began working as a machine operator for the Economy Tool Company. In April 1943 he entered the US Army and received training as an Airborne Radio Operator and Gunner on the B-24 Bomber. From England he flew 36 missions over Germany and Northern France before returning to the States and resuming civilian life in November of 1945, having earned the Good Conduct Medal, European Theater of Operations ribbon (w/3 bronze stars) and Air Medal (w/ 5 oakleaf clusters). Shortly thereafter, in March of 1946, he matriculated into Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI, receiving a Bachelor of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering in February 1949.

It was in that same year he began his long career with Boeing Airplane Company in Seattle. Over the course of 36 years of service he participated in many programs such as the P-26 airplane, B-29 Bomber, BOMARC missile defense, B-47, B-52 and the Saturn-Apollo mission to the moon. During his tenure he took on greater management roles and responsibilities related to the logistics of the space program ground facilities at the Kennedy Space Center, Florida. And finally for the procurement, storage and maintenance of all test instrumentation in Boeing’s Kent, WA space and aeronautical facilities, as his last assignment prior to retirement in 1985.

John married Vivian K. Parrish in 1977 and together they settled into a new home on Bainbridge Island, WA. Once they both retired, focus shifted to enjoying a wonderful retirement of sailing, fishing, travelling across the USA in their RV and visiting Europe, Hawaii and Canada. John was an avid woodworker who made furniture and Christmas gifts for his family, and even took up painting. He enjoyed gardening and provided tomatoes and vegetables to many over the years, as well as his terrific dahlias. They hosted many memorable Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve dinners. An ardent fan of baseball, he was eternally optimistic the Seattle Mariners would one day soon be playing at the World Series.

On 19 June 2018, John was able to fly one farewell mission on the last remaining B-24 Bomber still in service, from the Bremerton Airport, WA. The crew and others that day were in awe to have an actual veteran of WWII with them.

A man of great humor, patience, with much love for life and his family and friends, he will remain loved by all those that knew him and were fortunate to enjoy his presence.

Preceded in death by his wife, Vivian Katherine Adams (Bell); daughter, Diane L. Martin (Adams, daughter of John and Mary Adams); brothers, Darius (Dan), Theodore (Al), Benjamin, and David (Pete); sisters, Marcella Fenning (Adams) and Genevieve Jaeger (Adams); Parents, Irving (Daniel) and Martha Adams (Hopp).

John is survived by his former wife, Mary Ellen Adams (Gehl) and their children and families: Gail A. Smith, Mark J. Adams, Jean M. Clark, Janet L. Jizba, Margaret M. Oswald, Anna Eban-Buonto; the daughters of Vivian K. Adams: Diane L. Schwank (Dixon) and Denise K. Nelms (Dixon); as well as his former daughter-in-law, Denise McKelvey. John was the proud grandfather and great-grandfather of over 50 (and growing) grandkids, great grandkids and many nieces and nephews.

A viewing and funeral Mass to Celebrate John’s life will be held on Saturday, January 18, 2020 at 9:30 AM at Saint Cecilia Catholic Church, 1310 Madison Ave N., Bainbridge Island, WA. A reception will follow in the parish hall. Remembrances may be made in John’s name to The American Heart Association (

Please visit the Guest Book:

Arrangements are entrusted to Cook Family Funeral Home.

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