ADAMS, DR. RICHARD (DICK) PAUL – husband of Kathleen (Kathy) Woods Adams, died Wednesday, September 7, 2022 at their home in Watkinsville, Georgia at the age of 75.
Born in Columbus, Ohio to the late Percy Guy Adams and Pauline Serger Adams, Dick was raised primarily in Knoxville, Tennessee, where in the nearby Smokey Mountains he gained his love of hiking and the outdoors. He and his family also spent several intermittent years during his childhood living in France, and spent their vacations during these periods traveling throughout Europe, experiences that engendered both his interest in languages (he spoke and read French and Danish and could converse in German and Spanish) and a life-long love of traveling.
In 1969, Dick received his undergraduate degree in International Studies from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and then, for the next four years, served his country as an officer in the United States Marine Corps. While in the Marines, Dick was introduced to what was to become one of his lifetime passions, the sport of orienteering (cross-country running through forest terrain using a topographical map and compass to navigate to preset control points), and he went on to become one of the Corps’ top competitors, representing them on both the Armed Forces Orienteering Team and the U.S. Orienteering Team. Following his discharge from the military in 1973, he continued to compete - on the elite level until 1978,representing the United States in three world championship meets as a coach, captain and member of the U.S. International Orienteering Team, and then as a hobby for the next 45 years, participating in local meets around the country, including, in what was to be his last one, a small meet in nearby Tugaloo State Park as recent as this past April.
In 1973, Dick also began his graduate studies in exercise physiology, ultimately receiving his PhD in Physiology from the University of Tennessee in 1979. He then did post-doctoral fellowships at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark and the University of Alabama Medical Center before joining the Dept of Health Sciences faculty at Boston University in 1982. Six years later, he shifted from teacher to student again when he was accepted into the PhD to MD program at the University of Miami School of Medicine and it was there, in 1990, he proudly received his medical doctorate, becoming, as his father liked to call him, “Dr. Dr.” Adams.
While completing his internship and residency in emergency medicine at Emory University School of Medicine (in Grady Memorial Hospital), Dick met and, in December 1991, married his Kathy, the ying to his yang. And with her partnership and support, he went on to serve in the grueling but fulfilling role of attending physician in emergency medicine at Emory University Hospital, Grady Memorial Hospital and Gwinnett Medical Hospital for the next 15 years. During this time, he also became the very proud father of Nathaniel (Nathan) Paul Adams.
In 2001, Dick and family moved to Oconee County, where he became a member of Watkinsville First United Methodist Church and where, following his retirement in 2005, he became active in community service. He coached youth soccer for the Oconee County Parks and Recreation Dept, acted as Committee Chairman of Boy Scout Troop 149, served as Church Coordinator for the Interfaith Hospitality Network for the homeless and volunteered for many years as a Medical First Responder for the Oconee County Fire Rescue Department.
Dick or “Dr. Dr.” Adams was a scholar, an adventurer, an athlete, a healer. He was a man of faith and compassion, dabbled in poetry, wrote great letters and enjoyed making people groan with his puns. With his family, he was funny and even silly at times, and it was with family that Dick was always his most content.
In addition to wife Kathy and son Nathan, Dick is survived by a sister and her husband, Elise Adams and Mark Behrman of Oklahoma City, OK. He was predeceased by his parents and by sister Andrea Adams Hadley and her husband Max of Bowie, Maryland.
A memorial service will be held Sunday, September 11, 2022 at 3:00 pm at Lord and Stephens West Chapel, with The Rev. John Dukes officiating. A reception will immediately follow the service at the funeral home. In lieu of flowers the family asks that donations be made to Oconee Veterans Park and Recreation (Memo Line: Soccer Fields), 3500A Hog Mountain Road, Watkinsville, GA 30677 or to Oconee County Fire Rescue (Memo Line: Explorers Group), P.O. Box 732, Watkinsville, GA 30677.
Lord and Stephens Funeral Home, WEST, Watkinsville, GA is in charge of arrangements. www.lordandstephens.com