James “Jim” Adams, 72, passed away peacefully at his home on April 16, 2020. Jim was born on July 30, 1947 in Elkhart to Leroy “Sparky” Adams and M. Pauline (Schram) Adams.
He had many wonderful childhood memories including trips to Bear Lake, Michigan and mushroom hunting with his parents, his older brother Ray (Judy) Adams, and his twin brother, John (Donna) Adams. He graduated from Elkhart High School and excelled in football - where one of his greatest claims to fame was burning an “E” in the Goshen football field. Jim enlisted in the United States Marine Corp before his graduation from high school, along with his best friend, Chuck Ort. He proudly served his country from 1966-1972 during the Vietnam War and attained the rank of Sergeant. During his time he was awarded many honors including (but not limited to) a Presidential Unit Citation, Combat Action Ribbon, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, and Sharp Shooter Badge. He and Chuck formed a bond that lasted a lifetime due to what they experienced in the war together. Jim’s role as a Marine was his proudest accomplishment and one of the most important aspects of his life.
Jim married his love, Kay Varney Johnson, on January 22, 2000. She survives. Jim is also survived by two daughters, Jamie (Matthew) Fisher, Nicole (Jeff) Cripe, and 3 grandchildren: Eva, Jaden, and Greyson. He enjoyed letting his grandchildren dress up in his Marine Corp gear and especially loved when they would trick or treat at his home in the fall. Lastly, Jim is survived by his “favorite child”….his dog Semper.
Jim was a bricklayer, cement mason, and Elkhart County Reserve officer throughout his life. He was a member of the DAV, Chapter 19 in Elkhart, and formerly a member of the American Legion Post 143 in Bristol, as well as VFW Post 985 in Goshen. He enjoyed hunting, fishing, driving around to look for deer (“deer runs”), and taking meticulous care of his lawn. He had a serious affection for annual TV Christmas specials, and always called his girls when The Grinch was on TV. He enjoyed being out on the water, and treasured family boat rides. Most importantly, he loved his country fiercely and instilled that love in his children, grandchildren, and others. Many will remember him in later years sitting on his front porch wearing USMC clothing, watching his American flag wave in the wind, and drinking his beverage of choice, Miller Lite. Jim was a self proclaimed “Lean Mean Fighting Machine” and his last battle was against Alzheimers. In true Jim fashion, he fought with everything he had.
Due to current health restrictions, Jim will receive a Military funeral and burial at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to any of the following: New Hope Methodist Church, 28765 CR 4 Elkhart, IN 46514. Heartland Hospice, 230 W. Catalpa Dr, Suite D, Mishawaka, IN 46545. Riverview Adult Day Center, 2715 E. Jackson Blvd., Elkhart, IN 46516. Stemm-Lawson-Peterson Funeral Home is entrusted with Jim’s arrangements. Online condolences may be made on the funeral home website.
“Most people go their whole lives wondering if they have made a difference…the Marines don’t have that problem” - Ronald Regan
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