Dr. Bobby ELL Adams

June 27, 1929 ~ July 11, 2023 (age 94) 94 Years Old
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Dr. Bobby ELL Adams, age 94 of Rutherfordton, died Tuesday, July 11, 2023, at Rutherford Regional Medical Center.

When Bob was born in rural Oklahoma (Sulphur Springs) at the beginning of the depression, June 27, 1929, I doubt anyone would have imagined he would live the life he did.

Born to Eldred Egbert Adams, a bookkeeper, and Ida lrene Walker Adams, a homemaker, Bob’s first memories were of a new house with electric lights, a bathtub, and a garage for their car. Within a few years, his father lost his job, and the family moved to rural Arkansas where they rented a farm and scratched out a living.

When Bob graduated from high school in 1947, he and two friends took the trip of a lifetime. They bought a model T Ford for ninety dollars and drove to the Pacific Northwest, working in wheat harvests until they reached Oregon and worked at dismantling explosives from the Second World War.

When they returned to Oklahoma, his parents had moved to Tahlequah, a college town, so college became a possibility for the first time. It was in college, that his call to ministry came, so instead of becoming a high school teacher, he went from college to Central Seminary in Kansas City, MO, then Vanderbilt’s Divinity School, and finally Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas.

He was in ministry for 70 years until his first strokes at 88 years old. The position varied: pastor, missionary to Chile, Colombia and Argentina, theological educator at the Baptist Seminaries in Cali, Colombia, and Buenos Aires, Argentina, and in the US at New Orleans Baptist Seminary, Southwestern Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, and Gardner-Webb University divinity school, in North Carolina.  He was also a chaplain at Pharr Yarns in McAdenville.

As the apostle John would say “the world could not contain the books, were we to list every revival, mission deputation, retreat, vacation bible school, summer camp, and so on and so on. 

Bob was proudest of a “night school” seminary in Spanish he and former students started for pastors from Latin America, who had not been able to get an education in their home countries.

Bob was married twice. He married his college sweetheart, Catherine La Verne James. They had three daughters, Catherine Jane Adams, June Elaine Adams, and Barbara Anne Adams. After La Verne’s death, he married Sheri Dawson Adams, and had one daughter, Rachel Caroline Adams.

The thirty plus years age difference between his daughters was never an issue in their love and care of one another, which was a source of joy to Bob.

Bob is missed by his wife, Sheri, his daughters, two splendid sons-in-law, Elaine’s husband, Hussein El-Lessy and Rachel’s husband, Alexander Byers, and a magnificent grandson, Alexander Adams El-Lessy.

A memorial service will be held Sunday, July 30, 2023 at 3:00 pm at First Baptist Church, Rutherfordton, NC. Visitation will be held in the church’s fellowship hall after the service. McMahan's Funeral Home & Cremation Services in charge of arrangements.

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Family Directed Memorial Service
July 30, 2023

3:00 PM
First Baptist Church of Rutherfordton
246 North Main Street
Rutherfordton, NC 28139


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