Lila Adams was active in community, loved planting flowers

Tuesday, October 29, 2013 | 8:55 p.m. CDT; updated 5:44 a.m. CDT, Wednesday, October 30, 2013

COLUMBIA — Lila Adams had a "prayer list." She prayed every day for people she cared about.

"She had a really strong faith and put that into action," said Nancy Haseman, her daughter.

As a mother, nurse, and volunteer in her community, Adams enjoyed caring for others.

"She loved doing things for people and taking the place of a helper," Haseman said. "She was very committed to always being there as a support."

Lila Adams of Columbia died Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013, at Columbia Manor. She was 82.

She was born May 3, 1931, on the family farm in Highland, Wis., to Edwin and Stella (Reed) Johnson.

She lived in Highland, Wis., and Dodgeville, Wis., where she graduated from eighth grade, before moving to Madison, Wis. She graduated from Madison Central High School in 1948.

She attended Madison's Methodist Hospital School of Nursing and graduated in September 1951.

That same month, on Sept. 15, 1951, she married Gayle Adams. She worked at the hospital in pediatrics for a semester while her husband got his Ph.D.

Mr. and Mrs. Adams moved to Schenectady, N.Y., in 1952. Their son Jeffrey was born that year, and daughter Nancy was born three years later. Mrs. Adams worked in obstetrics at Ellis Hospital in Schenectady until her son was born, then worked some nights there until her daughter was born.

The family moved to Phoenix in 1959 then moved seven years later to Columbia, where Gayle Adams got a job as an engineering professor.

Mrs. Adams was involved in the Fortnightly Club. She also worked part-time in two doctors' offices.

Mrs. Adams was surrounded by many close friends.

Haseman said her mother loved what she called "gadding about," or a ladies' day out. When Haseman came to town or when Mrs. Adams was with friends, they enjoyed eating lunch at a nice restaurant and then going shopping.

Mrs. Adams also loved planting flowers in the garden in her backyard and watching them grow.

"She loved getting her hands dirty in the garden," Haseman said. "She was always trying to plant something."

Mrs. Adams was active in her church. She led a women's Bible study while at Calvary Lutheran Church, then was involved in Community Bible Study for more than 20 years.

Mrs. Adams and her husband were involved at the Columbia Area Senior Center for many years, starting in the early 1990s. Haseman said that after Gayle Adams died in 2008, Mrs. Adams took over projects that she had helped him with at the senior center.

Mr. and Mrs. Adams enjoyed dancing together; from the time they got married, they were involved in group dance programs. That inspired Gayle Adams to start instructing line dancing at the senior center. Mrs. Adams helped him with the classes until he died, then took over afterward.

She also continued to organize the Friday morning seminars her husband had run at the senior center, in which speakers came to talk about health, music and other topics that the audience would find interesting.

Panera Bread donated leftover bread and baked goods to the bread donation program Mr. Adams started at the senior center, and after he died Mrs. Adams continued to organize the distribution of food to people at the center.

Mrs. Adams is survived by a son, Jeff Adams of Columbia; a daughter, Nancy Haseman, and her husband, Rick, of Rio Rancho, N.M.; two grandchildren, Jermaine Adams and his wife, Yasmine, and Stephanie Adams; and three great-grandchildren, Kyrie, Kaylee and Kaden Adams.

Her husband, Gayle Adams, and two sisters, Fern and Bernice, died earlier.

Visitation will be from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Friday at Memorial Funeral Home, 1217 Business Loop 70 W. A viewing will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday at Evangelical Free Church, 600 Silvey St., followed by services at 11 a.m. at the church. Entombment will follow at Memorial Park Cemetery.

Condolences can be posted on the funeral home's website.

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