Cover photo for K. Gary Adams's Obituary
K. Gary Adams Profile Photo

K. Gary Adams

August 4, 1944 — June 2, 2024

Bridgewater

K. Gary Adams

Kermit Gary Adams (Gary), 79, died Sunday, June 2, 2024, at Bridgewater Retirement Community after an extended journey with Alzheimer’s Disease. 

Born in Ardmore, OK, on August 4, 1944, Gary was the son of the late Kermit and Lillian Adams. 

Following graduation from Ardmore High School in 1962, he attended Baylor University, where he earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music. From 1968-1971 he served as trombonist at the rank of Specialist 5 in the 328th Army Band, stationed at Fort Wolters, TX, and received National Defense Service and Good Conduct medals and his honorable discharge. He earned a Ph.D. in musicology at the University of North Texas (UNT) in 1979.

While at UNT Gary met his future bride, Mary Catherine Adams (Mary Kay), and was married August 23, 1975, in Houston, TX. They have two sons, Evan (Veronica), of Houston, TX, and Brian (Nancy Ballesteros), of Arlington, VA.

Early in his career as a music professor, Gary taught at Carl Albert Junior College in Poteau, OK, and at Dallas Baptist University in Dallas, TX, and he played trombone in the Fort Smith Symphony (AR). Upon moving to Bridgewater, VA, in 1982, he taught at Bridgewater College until he retired in 2012 as Professor of Music Emeritus. While there, he enjoyed relationships with students and colleagues, earned the Ben and Janice Wade Outstanding Teaching Award, authored William Schuman: A Bio-Bibliography, co-authored Claudio Monteverdi: A Guide to Research, published journal articles, held leadership roles in Omicron Delta Kappa and Pi Kappa Lambda, and served as an adjunct professor at James Madison University. As a member of Bridgewater Presbyterian Church, he sang in the choir and served as a ruling elder. Pursuing music outside teaching, he sang in the Shenandoah Valley Choral Society.

In addition to his wife, Mary Kay, their sons and their wives, Gary is also survived by his grandsons, Matthew and Daniel of Houston and Thomas of Arlington; his brothers-in-law, George Gabel of Davidson, NC and Bob Evans (Joyce) of Houston, TX; his nieces, Laura Hartman (Bill) of Brookline, MA, and Meredith Harris (Jay) of Davidson, NC; his great-nephews and great-nieces, Fletcher and Lilly (Eliza Balch) Hartman and Charlie and Sara Kate Harris; and many dear cousins and friends. Gary maintained lifelong ties to far-flung family and friends. He and Mary Kay loved traveling regularly to visit their parents, siblings, cousins, sons and friends.

In addition to his parents, Gary is predeceased by his sister, Judy Adams Gabel. 

Special thanks is given to Legacy Hospice and the teams of Joy House and Gardner House at Bridgewater Retirement Community who so lovingly cared for Gary in his final five years.

A Celebration of Life will be held at 2:00 PM on Saturday, June 22, 2024, at Bridgewater Church of the Brethren (420 College View Drive, Bridgewater, VA 22812) with Rev. Kate Rascoe and Rev. Jeff Carr officiating.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in Gary’s memory to the Bridgewater Presbyterian Church (110 E. College Street, Bridgewater, VA 22812) or to the Valley Program for Aging Services (VPAS) (975 South High Street, Harrisonburg, VA 22801).
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of K. Gary Adams, please visit our flower store.

Upcoming Services

Celebration of Life

Saturday, June 22, 2024

2:00 - 3:00 pm (Eastern time)

Bridgewater Church of the Brethren

420 College View Dr, Bridgewater, VA 22812

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