John Robert Adams

September 23, 1921April 21, 2012

John Robert Adams, the son of Lala Green and Eddie Paul Adams was born September 23,1921 in Greensboro, North Carolina where he lived until he came to Raleigh in 1940 to attend college at North Carolina State University. He was called to serve during World War II in the Army Infantry 89th Division, known as the Rolling “W’s,” and was discharged a captain. He and his unit saw action in Western Europe, liberated a concentration camp and served to restore order at the conclusion of the war. When he returned to Raleigh, he completed his Bachelor and Master degrees in Civil Engineering. John settled in his adopted hometown of Raleigh and spent the remainder of his personal and professional life celebrating this decision. He frequently expressed his fondness for Raleigh by declaring it the best possible place to live for its beauty, its community assets and its climate. He was an avid reader and a health and fitness enthusiast who enjoyed running, biking, hiking and North Carolina State athletic events. Those who knew John described him as a visionary and an innovator. He was also known for his willingness to engage in spirited discussions.

As a residential and commercial builder and developer, he was the first in the area to include air conditioning as a standard feature in the homes he built. He was also the first to build zero-lot line homes, to include recreational facilities in a neighborhood, to bring pre-built trusses to his job-sites and was among the first to build town homes in the area. His firsts are many. As a result, his neighborhoods, communities and buildings have won numerous awards. He was a founding member of the Raleigh-Wake Homebuilders Association and its first president. He has been inducted into the Hall of Fame for both the North Carolina Homebuilders Association and the National Homebuilders Association.

In spite of his professional success, John remained humble and used his personal success to encourage others. He employed and mentored a number of younger people who later went on to have successful careers of their own in fields related to building industry. He also served as a Deacon for many years at the First Presbyterian Church of Raleigh and on the Board of Trustees at Peace College and was actively involved in many activities at his Alma Mater, North Carolina State University.

John is survived by his wife of thirty years, Judith Dawn Schaefer Adams; his three children, Carolyn Adams Gatwood, Robert Noel Adams, and his wife, Michelle, and Kaye Adams Yadusky. He has four grandchildren, Ashleigh Ellen and Robert Aaron Gatwood, William Yadusky and his wife, Katie, Aleksandra Yadusky and Nina Michelle Alvarez. He has one great grandchild, Gia Kaye Alvarez. He is predeceased by his brother, Paul Green Adams and his wife, Meryl, and leaves behind many dear friends.

The family is deeply grateful to all who have served to care for John in his illness and sends a special thanks to the staff at Sunrise and to Angie Whitt. The family will receive friends and family from 7:00-9:00 pm on Tuesday April 24, at Mitchell Funeral Home, 7209 Glenwood Avenue, Raleigh, NC. The funeral services will be held at 10:30 am on Wednesday April 25 at the Mausoleum Chapel at Raleigh Memorial Park, 7501 Glenwood Avenue, Raleigh.

In lieu of flowers, please send donations to Habitat for Humanity of Wake County, 2420 Raleigh Boul. Raleigh, NC 27604, Hospice of Wake County, 250 Hospice Circle, Raleigh NC 27609 or the Alzheimer’s Association’s of Eastern North Carolina, 3739 National Drive, Suite 110, Raleigh, NC 27612.

Condolences and special memories can be shared at


  • Funeral Service Wednesday, April 25, 2012
  • Visitation Tuesday, April 24, 2012

John Robert Adams

have a memory or condolence to add?


receive updates when new memories are posted


April 25, 2012

I'll always be grateful to John for giving me my first job in real estate, a calling that has lasted now for over 30 years. Mine was a new position at the time, and I met with John and Ed Clark, his tax accountant, for the interview. Following the offer and the acceptance, Ed asked me how often I would like to be paid. I said that it really didn't matter to me. John grinned, and said "How about once a year?" I said, "OK. If its in advance." John didn't take me up on my offer, but we were able to come up with an acceptable alternative. John really meant a lot to me. I'll never forget his impact on my life.

Jim Whited (Adams-Bilt '81-89)

April 24, 2012

Judi, Will and Family, I am so sorry for your loss. You are in my thoughts and prayers. Sherrie and Wade

April 24, 2012

Your father had a long and distinguished life. My father held him in high regard. Please accept our condolences.
Barbara Dick Perkins, NBHS Class of '67

Don Kelly

April 24, 2012

We are sorry for your loss- John helped me get my first job as a lad of 15

April 24, 2012

Dear Judi, dear Will, and to all of your family - please know you are in our thoughts at the loss of your beloved John. We will miss him. Kathleen and Tony and Emerson.

Rusti Castano

April 24, 2012

The pictures were beautiful ! John will live forever in our hearts. All our love & prayers to you.

William Dail

April 24, 2012

Our family has many fond remembrances over the years.Our sincere condolences for your lost.

William H. Dail, III and family
Faye Dail (Widow of Henry Dail)

Tricia Fitzgerald

April 24, 2012

Kaye, my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Love you my friend. Tricia Benton-Fitzgerald

April 23, 2012

Sincere condolences to the family,

David and Jeanne Smoot

April 23, 2012

Sorry to hear about John's passing. I will keep you and your family in my prayers during this time.
John Winston