The Rev. Thomas Benjamin Adams, 86, passed away Thursday, May 30, 2019, at home. A memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. Tuesday, June 18, at Community United Methodist Church, 3301 W. Broadway, in Columbia. Visitation will be from 1:30 p.m. until time of service the same day.
Tom was born Thomas Benjamin Ralston Jr. on April 14, 1933, to parents Thomas Benjamin Ralston and Lillie Christine Spencer in Trenton, Missouri. After his father was killed in an industrial accident at the Missouri Public Service Co. in 1934, he was adopted by his cousin Beulah Ralston Adams and her husband, John Raymond Adams.
Tom graduated from Trenton High School and Trenton Junior College before receiving his bachelor’s degree from Central Methodist University in 1955. He married his wife, Luella Josephine Ratcliff, on June 5, 1955, in St. Joseph, Missouri.
Together, they moved to Dallas, Texas, where Tom pursued a Master of Divinity at Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University. After graduating in 1958, they moved back to Missouri, where Tom began his career in ministry.
In his 63 years of ministry, Tom served many Methodist churches in Missouri: Chillicothe (Liberty Rural), Wilcox/Pickering, Wellsville/Middletown, Centralia, Eldon/Iberia, Mexico, Hannibal-Kirksville (as district superintendent) and three in the Columbia area (Community, Hallsville and New Horizons, in succession).
During his ministry, he led three major building projects, including the construction of two new church buildings.
Tom greatly valued building community and fostering relationships with people from all walks of life. And as any person who knew him will attest, the journey he walked with God was one he eagerly desired to share with friends and strangers alike.
He took great pride in his family and was consistently present in the lives of his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He delighted in sharing with them stories from his youth and passed down his love of music.
He was preceded in death by both his birth and adoptive parents and his siblings, Marian, Raymond and Sharon.
He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Luella; four children, Thomas Mark (husband to Leslie), John Christopher (husband to Carla), Charles Phillip and James Andrew (husband to Heidi); grandchildren, Zach, Corey, Andrew, Haydan, Devyn, Emily, Parker and Abby; and great-grandchildren, Kaius and Koah. Tom is also survived by his sister Marlene.