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Charles Frederick Adams

July 7, 1947 ~ May 11, 2023 (age 75) 75 Years Old

Charles Adams Obituary

His laugh was contagious, his warmth authentic and his strength phenomenal.  

With grateful hearts and knowing that his body is pain free we share that Charlie has gone one last trip down the drag strip and is now in eternal wilderness. He passed just shy of 76 years peacefully in his sleep, next to his wife Carol Adams.  He was born to Edith and Fred Adams in Prineville, Oregon joining sister Teresa (Brown-Douglas). He treasured his country boy upbringing.  He was proud of earning his Eagle Scout Award as well as becoming a wildland firefighter. 

Both the Dean of Students at Willamette University and Charlie agreed that the relationship was not a good fit.  A goat was involved.  Charlie enthusiastically transferred to Oregon State University graduating Blue Key 1969.  His affiliation with fraternity SAE and the school newspaper, Barometer were pivotal resulting in life-long friendships.  Charlie became significantly disabled owing to spinal cord and peripheral nerve damage sustained initially working in a sawmill the summer of 1969.

Law school was completed in five and a half years due to the need for surgeries and myelograms. Friendships were formed and stood the test of time.  Charlie completed University of California at Berkeley – Boalt Hall, J.D., Order of the Coif.  His days at Boalt were spent lying down or standing up.

Serving as a law clerk to the Honorable Alfred T Goodwin, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit was a highlight of Charlie’s legal career.  He had to stand or lie down throughout his year of service. Years later Judge Goodwin wrote, in personal correspondence, “In the quarter of a century since we meet, you have written your own volume of Profiles in Courage.” Charlie often reflected that decades before the Americans with Disabilities Act mandated employers must do the right thing, Judge Goodwin instinctively did it. 

Charlie was hired at Davies Biggs now Stoel Rives LLP in 1976.  Charlie wrote that Davies Biggs was years ahead of its time in taking the initiative to accommodate a disabled job applicant. A couch and stand-up desk were custom made for him.  An additional stand-up desk was placed in the library.  Proud of his country roots he often wore his Stetson to the office.  He was ranked among the top 5% of Oregon’s appellate lawyers 2006.

Not able to drive for six years post injury Charlie had a van modified so he could drive standing up. His first date with Carol was in that vehicle where she bounced along on a soda fountain-type chair (with seatbelt). They met Dec. 1977 and were married Sept. 1978.  Charlie was thrilled at the birth of their daughters; Ashley 1980 and Joliene 1983.  A loving and active father he never told his little girls the same story twice.  They fished, hiked the woods, attended drag races and theatre. He was a devoted fan at their hundreds of sporting events.

Eventually Charlie adjusted to sitting for short periods.  Along with building and modifying a 1929 Model A  Ford he began drag racing at Woodburn.  Next came snow shoeing, building snow caves, dog mushing in Denali and the Yukon (40 below). He resumed hunting.   An active member of St. Luke Lutheran Church he chaired the Social Concerns Committee and participated in refugee relocation support.  He volunteered teaching winter survival skills to youth.   John Muir’s sentiments, “I’d rather be in the mountains thinking of God than in church thinking about mountains” sometimes prevailed.  

Both Ashley and Joliene were grateful for their Dad’s efforts to dance with them at their weddings; joyous occasions.  Charlie’s grandsons Hunter and Durham added immeasurably to the happiness in his and Carol’s lives.  Along with his grandsons, Charlie can rest assured his sons-in-law Benjamin DeSanno and Eric Nordstrom will continue his legacy.

The family of Charlie would like to thank everyone, you know who you are, for your compassion and kindness.


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