Gordon Adams
Gordon Adams
Gordon Adams
Gordon Adams

Obituary of Gordon T. Adams

Adams, Gordon T. (Gordy), age 94, of Hovland, Minnesota, died peacefully at North Shore Hospital, Grand Marais, on May 2, 2024. Formerly of Glenwood City, WI; Coon Rapids; Minneapolis; and Hanover. Gordon was the only child of Erhardt and Jeanette Roy Adams. He spent his early boyhood in Hanover, MN, and then moved to Minneapolis at age 9. He attended Ascension Catholic School in North Minneapolis through Grade 8, followed by Cretin-Durham Hall and Minneapolis North.

Gordon described himself as a rebel in late-adolescence, dropping out of school at age 16, working at hundreds of jobs (many lasting hours or days when he got fired or simply quit), and then enlisting in the U.S. Army at age 19. He served one year of active duty during the Korean War followed by 27 years in the U.S. Active Army Reserves, achieving the rank of Sergeant Major. He met Carol Louise Nelson while living and working in Minneapolis and they married in 1950. Their son, Craig, was born the following year and a daughter, Lynn, was born four years later. Gordon and Carol moved to Coon Rapids in 1955 where they lived for 21 years. After working for Hires Root Beer, Gordon began 34 years of employment in 1958 with the Minnesota Department of Transportation where he worked in surveying, road inventory (mapping), inspections, and traffic engineering. Gordon’s road inventory travels introduced him to the North Shore of Lake Superior and led ultimately to the purchase of a cabin on McFarland Lake in 1964. The cabin and its wilderness setting featured significantly in family life and in the lives of extended family and friends. While living in Coon Rapids, Gordon participated in Toastmaster’s Club, union activities, various teaching and leadership roles at Faith Lutheran Church, and as assistant scoutmaster in Boy Scout Troop 212.

Gordon and Carol purchased a dairy farm and moved to rural Glenwood City, Wisconsin in 1976, commuting back and forth to their jobs in the Twin Cities for a number of years. While at the farm, Gordon and Carol rescued dogs and cats, and they enjoyed beautifying their property and being part of a meaningful farming and back-to-the-land community. They also cared for aging parents in their home for 22 years. In Glenwood City, Gordon assumed leadership roles in Holy Cross Lutheran Church Council and Social Justice Committee in which he organized food shelter drives and served homeless shelter meals in the Twin Cities. He especially enjoyed fostering relationships among the various churches in the area and generating discussion about issues such as the death penalty and addressing poverty at home and abroad. He also became an active member and advocate for the local Farmer to Farmer organization founded by his son and daughter-in-law, helping to develop relationships with a community of weavers and coffee growers in Santiago Atitlan, Guatemala. Along with his wife Carol, they made time to attend all the activities of their children and grandchildren, including multiple sporting events, parades, musical concerts, and adult education programs at the local library where their daughter was director. Upon retiring, Gordon and Carol purchased a vacation home on the North Shore of Lake Superior when it became more difficult to manage their roadless wilderness cabin. Gordon and Carol also enjoyed exploring genealogy interests together, and they traveled to meet relatives in Sweden and Canada. In retirement, Gordon also drove patients to medical appointments, attended senior outreach classes at area colleges, and attended Elder Hostel (now Road Scholar) programs with his wife, Carol, until her death in a tragic automobile accident in 2004. In later years, Gordon enjoyed traveling to Central and South America and living part-time in Ecuador and Florida, listening to jazz, watching Turner Classic movies and Netflix series, singing karaoke (Frank Sinatra and Neil Diamond songs were his specialty), and conversing with friends and acquaintances.

Gordon is remembered fondly as a great nature and animal lover, deep thinker/philosopher, and fearless adventurer. He believed in maintaining both mental and physical fitness, and he enjoyed running, swimming, and strength training on a daily basis. He enjoyed a vigorously active life until age 80, leading his pack of dogs on trails through the fields and woods, snowshoeing or cross- country skiing as many as 10 miles through deep snow or leading his family in hiking adventures straight through the wilderness. He went on backpacking trips in the mountains and on wilderness canoe trips with the Boy Scouts and his family. He loved to drive, leading his family on road trips in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. Gordon possessed a keen intellect, often ruminating about the meaning of life, religion, and politics with his friends and family, while also being a fanciful dreamer. Some of his favorite books were by authors Leo Tolstoy, Deepak Chopra, and Matthew Fox. He had a special love for anthropology, ancient history, astrology, mysticism, and genealogy. He was deeply disappointed to learn he had no Native American ancestry. Gordon was often heard quoting an old Italian proverb: "Age and glasses of wine should never be counted."

Gordon is survived by two children: son, Craig (Lucille Altemus) of St. Paul and daughter, Lynn (Gregory) Barringer of Hovland; five grandchildren: Erin Altemus (Matthew Schmidt) of Grand Marais, Jordan Barringer (Stephanie) of Valrico, FL, Samuel Adams (Lanh) of Woodbury, Louis Adams (Nan Hee Lee) of Tuscon, AZ, and Nicholas Barringer of Zamora, Ecuador; six great grandchildren: Mason and Myla Barringer, Sylvia Altemus-Schmidt; Aedan Barringer; Jace Adams; Rosalie Adams; and many cousins and friends who meant so much to him. He is preceded in death by his wife, Carol Nelson Adams, in 2004.

A small gathering of friends and family will be held in Stillwater in June to celebrate Gordon's life. Arrangements are being handled by the Minnesota Cremation Society, Duluth.

A Memorial Tree was planted for Gordon
We are deeply sorry for your loss ~ the staff at Cremation Society Of Minnesota | Duluth
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