John “Jack” Adam Jr. of Santa Maria died July 13 at age 86.
Jack was born Feb. 5, 1928, into a local pioneer farming family as the son of Hester (Myers) and John F. Adam. Jack attended Miller Street and St. Mary of the Assumption Elementary schools and graduated from Santa Maria High School with the class of 1946. During his senior year, he held the fastest 440-yard dash time of any high school athlete in the United States and was a state officer for the Future Farmers of America. Jack continued his education at UC Davis and UC Berkeley, graduating with a master's degree in agricultural economics.
After college, Jack enlisted in the Army, serving with U.S. Counter Intelligence at the Pentagon.
That same year, he married Dena Acquistapace, and they shared the joy of raising five children for over six decades.
Following his service in the military, Jack began Adam Farms. He was later joined by his brother Richard, and together they sold quality produce throughout the United States for over 40 years. In subsequent years, Jack formed and managed Adam Growers and was involved with Gold Coast Packing.
As a City Council member for 12 years, Jack also held the position of mayor pro tem and was instrumental in securing state water for the City of Santa Maria. He was a representative to LAFCO, assisting with the formation and development of local governing agencies and was a member as well as chair of the Santa Barbara County Planning Commission. Jack was an active member of the Farm Bureau, served on the Regional Coastal Commission and has been a director for the Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce and La Cumbre Bank. Jack was honored for his contributions to local farming as well as his service to the Santa Maria Valley as the Santa Barbara County Fair Farmer of the Year, Elks Parade grand marshal and by the Santa Maria Noontime Rotary Club as a Paul Harris Fellow.
Jack had a passion for living and for filling his days with new knowledge, innovative ideas and creative solutions. An avid outdoorsman, he enjoyed hunting trips with family and friends as well as teaching his grandchildren the skills needed for camping, backpacking and fishing. He greatly enjoyed his children and grandchildren’s participation in sporting events, taking time to attend many competitions. He was an avid supporter of local athletics and a longtime Booster Club enthusiast, assisting with the development of an all-weather track and field facility at St. Joseph High School.
Yet, what truly set Jack apart was his strong faith and character and the daily example of integrity and courage he set for his children, grandchildren and the community.
Jack’s family was unquestionably the center of his world. His beloved and devoted wife of 61 years, Dena, son Mark Adam and wife Lois, son John Adam and wife Sandi, daughter Christine Adam Cruden and husband John, son George Adam and wife Debbie, daughter Katie Adam Ficken and husband Frank, along with 17 grandchildren — Ben and Stuart Adam, Matt and Kate Prancevic, Tyler and Justin Adam, Jessica (Mike) Rabener, Jennifer, Patrick, Kaileen and Kevin Cruden, Jeff (Abby), Philip, Nicole and Bridget Adam, Scott and Eric Ficken — and three great-grandchildren — Daniel Adam and Emma and Lily Rabener — will be forever grateful for “Papa’s” love, adventurous spirit and counsel. His reluctance to leave his earthly home gave us many bonus years of memorable times together. He also leaves behind his brother, Richard Adam (Bernadette), and many nieces, nephews and cousins.
We will miss his unique raise of an eyebrow, his thoughtful and often sage advice and his ever-present appreciation for simple pleasures like strawberry ice cream and milkshakes.
A Rosary will be held at 6 p.m. Sunday, July 20 at Dudley-Hoffman Mortuary, with visitation beginning at 5 p.m. A funeral Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated at 9:30 a.m. Monday, July 21 at St. Mary of the Assumption Catholic Church.
In lieu of flowers, if you care to make a donation in Jack’s name, you may consider remembrances to Mission Hope Cancer Center.
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