Gayle E. Adams
COLUMBIA — Gayle E. Adams, a former MU electrical engineering professor, enjoyed dancing, doing work around the house and staying active, his wife, Lila Adams, said.
He was involved in many organizations, both before and after his retirement from MU in 1990. He was Chairman of the Advisory Committee, a member of the Board of Directors, a line dance leader and teacher and organizer of more than 400 educational seminars for the Columbia Area Senior Center.
Mr. Adams died at Boone Hospital Center on Tuesday, June 24, 2008. He was 80.
He was born on Nov. 24, 1927 in Cherry Valley, Ill., to Ernest and Hattie Volsch Adams. He was married on Sept. 15, 1951, in Madison, Wis., to Lila Johnson.
While he accomplished many things throughout his professional and personal life, dancing was always the hobby he enjoyed most.
“Dancing was always something very special to him,” Lila Adams said.
Mr. Adams was a professional square dancer and a dance director at the Senior Center. Mr. Adams was involved in the Senior Center, serving on the Special Events Committee to help raise money. With the help of his wife, he planned and organized special events for the center.
“He was always the top ticket seller for the events,” Lila Adams said.
He was also the “Panera bread picker-upper,” his wife said, meaning he would pick up, sack, label and deliver bread donated to the center by Panera Bread Company.
Besides dancing and staying active in the Senior Center, Mr. Adams also loved building things and working around the house.
Mr. Adams’ daughter, Nancy Haseman, remembered her father as ambitious and kind.
“He was a very dedicated person,” Haseman said. “He was also very whimsical.”
Haseman chuckled as she recalled her father’s jokes and his habit of making up words. He used to say things such as “The mailman came today but what about the mail female,” Haseman said.
“He had a very imaginative and creative mind,” she said.
Growing up, Haseman remembered her father was always busy and was always building things. She saw him “as a builder person.” Haseman said her father worked a lot, but he would always make sure his family’s needs were met.
“He always wanted to buy me a dress, and he bought me horses,” Haseman said. “He was very generous, and in his last days, he made a great point of being appreciative, grateful and affirming of all of us.”
She also said he was humble and never boastful of his accomplishments and very interested in sports, walking and hiking.
Mr. Adams was a very ambitious man, Haseman said, and even when she was younger, she had a hard time keeping pace with his energy.
“When I was young we’d go on hikes, and I remember thinking ‘I’m ready to go home,’” Hasman said. “I couldn’t keep up with him.”
Mr. Adams attended the University of Wisconsin where he received three degrees, including his Ph.D. in 1952. He was also a member of the Advanced ROTC at the university.
After college, Mr. Adams worked at General Electric from 1952 to 1963. He then served as an electrical engineering professor at Arizona State University until 1966, when he moved to Missouri and began teaching at MU as an electrical engineering professor. He retired in 1990 when he became a professor emeritus.
During Mr. Adams’ career, he authored many papers and books in the field of power and digital systems.
Mr. Adams is survived by his wife, Lila; son, Jeffrey Adams of Columbia; daughter, Nancy Haseman of Rio Rancho, N.M.; and five grandchildren.
Services will be held at 2 p.m. on Friday at Memorial Funeral Home, 1217 Business Loop 70 W. Services will be conducted by Dr. Kenneth Frerking. Visitation will be from 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursday at the funeral home. A private burial will take place at Memorial Park Cemetery.
Memorial contributions can be made to the Columbia Area Senior Center, 1121 Business Loop 70 E., or to the Evangelical Free Church, 600 Silvey Street.