April 20, 2012
Marathon supervisor remembered for commitment
MARATHON — Longtime Town Supervisor Charles Adams Jr. developed a reputation as no-nonsense fiscal conservative who was committed to his community during his 20-year tenure on the Town Board.
Adams died Wednesday at home after a battle with cancer. He was 84.
In a fitting tribute, calling hours will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday at the Town Hall.
Adams was a fixture in the town, serving as the supervisor for 20 years and never losing an election.
Friends, family and neighbors remembered him as a man who put his community first and was always willing to help.
During his time on the Town Board, Adams was known for his efforts to keep taxes as low as he could. He also oversaw the renovation and construction of the current Town Hall at 40 W. Main St.
The final payment on the $600,000 project will be made later this year, just over three years after completion.
Adams was committed to the people who elected him, said Town Board member Thomas Adams.
“He wanted to do what was right,” said Adams, who is not related to Charles Adams. “He had a great sense of community.”
Charles Adams was born in Schenectady in 1928 and earned a degree in mechanical and industrial engineering from the University of Michigan. After he graduated, he followed his father’s footsteps and got a job at General Electric.
In 1974 he took a job at Smith Corona, where he held several positions over the years, including purchasing director and plant supervisor.
In 1984, he married Connie White. The two met while working at Smith Corona.
They have one child, Jefferson, a graduate of Binghamton University.
Adams also has two children from a previous marriage, John and Barbara.
He was elected to Town Board in February of 1992, running at the urging of former Town Supervisor Clyde Parker, and ran successfully for town supervisor that November, said White.
“Chuck said, ‘Oh I don’t know, I don’t know if the people of Marathon will elect me,’ ” she said. “And Clyde told him, ‘Don’t worry, I’ll show you how it’s done.’ ”
Beyond helping others, Adams had a passion for skiing, White said.
“He was a member of the National Ski Patrol,” she said. “He loved the Adirondacks and being outdoors.”
His public service extended beyond the Town Board. He was heavily involved with the Central New York Maple Festival, held each spring in Marathon, and the annual Marathon 1890 Union Fair.
Derek Hartman, who lives two doors down from Adams and White, said for as long as he can remember, Adams was mowing older neighbors’ lawns and attending community festivals.
“I used to grow vegetables and he was always there, helping to judge them,” he said.
Cortland County Legislator Larry Cornell said that Adams was very helpful throughout his time on the Legislature.
“When I was first elected, he showed me the ropes and told me what the town residents were concerned about,” said Cornell (R-Marathon and Lapeer). “He was the type of man that when he spoke, you listened because you knew you were going to learn something.”
Town Board member Patricia Willis said she and the rest of the board will miss Adams’ leadership and financial knowledge.
“He was a fiscal conservative, as is the rest of the board,” she said. “He was always very concerned about keeping the town’s taxes as low as he could.”
That did not get in the way of making sure the town’s employees were treated fairly.
“He always made sure that their wages were in line with county employees’,” Cornell said.
White shared a story that showed Adams’ sense of community and civic duty.
One of their neighbors suffered from glaucoma and hearing problems.
For several years, Adams picked up her mail and brought it to her house each day.
Then he would sit down and read her each piece of mail.
That community-minded spirit is what endeared him to so many Marathon residents.
Jackie Lagana, a family friend and former neighbor described Adams as an All-American man of honesty and integrity.
“He was always helping out someone else and never wanted anything for it,” she said. “He always put his problems aside and never complained. This happened so abruptly because he didn’t want anyone to know about his pain.”
There will be additional calling hours at 1 p.m. on Sunday, followed by funeral services at the Marathon Presbyterian Church at 2 p.m.
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