Dr. Willie Gray Adams
June 6, 1922 – June 9, 2018
Dr. Willie Gray Adams “W.G.” was born June 6, 1922 in Linden, Alabama to the late Mary Shields Adams and Alf Adams. He departed this life on June 9, 2018 in Pell City, Alabama, where he was a resident in the Howard State Veterans Home.
“W.G.,”, as he was fondly called by family and friends, accepted Christ as his Savior at an early age and joined the First Missionary Baptist Church in his hometown. After relocating to Decatur, Alabama, W.G. continued his spiritual growth by affiliating with Macedonia Cumberland Presbyterian Church in that city and later with Church Street Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Huntsville. In each church, he served as an elder and enjoyed lending his rich bass voice to the choirs.
He completed his early education at Linden Academy which was founded by his maternal grandfather, Dr. Edd W. Shields, a man who had been both enslaved and emancipated. Upon graduating from high school, W. G. enlisted in the United States Army, achieving the rank of Corporal. Realizing that education was the great equalizer, he earned three higher education degrees… the Bachelor of Science Degree from Alabama A&M College (University), the Master of Science Degree from Tuskegee Institute (University) and the Doctor of Philosophy from Pennsylvania State University.
After receiving his undergraduate degree at Alabama A&M, “W.G.” quickly began his professional career in Courtland, Alabama as a teacher of Vocational Agriculture at Courtland Negro High School. His employment at the Courtland School was more than a position or just a job, it was a calling. He enjoyed mentoring students and being involved in the community. Today, many of those students and community leaders call him ‘friend.’ He remained at Courtland until he was granted a scholarship to pursue the terminal degree at Penn State University.
In record time, “W.G.” completed requirements for the Ph.D. and was recruited to join the 1890 Cooperative Extension Program at Delaware State University. This position allowed him to teach and engage in research in the areas of Agricultural/Natural Resources, while designing programs in 4-H and Youth Development. Always advancing in the Extension program and the University, he remained at Delaware State for more than thirty years.
On June 21, 1954, “W.G.” and Eva Walker were united in marriage and established their home in Decatur, Alabama. He truly loved his wife and they enjoyed hosting activities at their home.
Dr. Adams was a warm and engaging person who never met a stranger. He enjoyed group singing and reciting Scriptures, especially Psalms 23 and 121. He loved his fraternity, Omega Psi Phi of which he was a seventy-year life member. He was initiated at Alabama A&M College on the charter line of the Nu Epsilon Chapter in 1948. While serving at Delaware State University, “W.G.’S” brotherhood in his fraternity was a vital part of his life and his mere presence in the organization touched the lives of so many of the members there. After returning to Huntsville in retirement, he affiliated with the Xi Omicron Chapter to which he continued his love and devotion. During his tenure with the chapter, he received the National Founder’s Award. Other organizational memberships included, but not limited to the American Vocational Association, the Association of Extension Educators, E. D. White Men’s Fellowship, and the North Huntsville Kiwanis Club.
Preceding Dr. Adams in death are his wife, Dr. Eva Walker Adams, parents and siblings: Hudson Adams, Woodrow Adams, Alfred G. Adams, Sr., Mary E. Littles, Benjamin Adams, Eddie Adams, Doris Juanita Farris, Velma Lankster Jones, and Essie Spellman Williams. He is survived by brother, Robert C. Adams (Martha), guardian and niece Shirley Reid, caregiver and niece Elizabeth Anette Bell, goddaughter Sherri Yvette Mc McDonald, and a host of nieces, nephews, and friends.
Visitation will be held Friday, June 15th from 12 – 3pm at Valhalla Funeral Home. Funeral Services will follow at 3:00 p.m. in Valhalla’s Chapel, with Pastor Mitchell M. Walker, Sr. officiating.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that contributions be made to the Building Fund at Church Street Cumberland Presbyterian Church or Alabama Aging Resources, Inc.
- Public Viewing Friday, June 15, 2018
- Funeral Service Friday, June 15, 2018