Mary Louise Adams age 93, of Kalamazoo and formerly of Paw Paw, passed away peacefully on October 6, 2021 at Friendship Village in Kalamazoo.
She was born April 8, 1928, on Easter Sunday, in Paw Paw, Michigan, the daughter of Clifford G. Pugsley and Edith (Baxter) Pugsley. Until her husband’s death in 2005, she was a life-long resident of Van Buren County (Paw Paw and Lawton). Mary attended grades 1-8 in a one room country school house. She was the 8th grade valedictorian… there were two people in her class. She graduated from Paw Paw High School, class of 1946 where she enjoyed music, 4H and helping on the farm.
Later that year, Mary met her future husband when she was crowned queen of the annual Paw Paw / Michigan Grape Festival. As a “suitable bachelor”, attorney Horace Adams was selected as Mary’s escort for the grape festivities. Several months after the festival, Horace discovered photos of Queen Mary under a pile of legal folders and realized he was smitten with the Michigan State coed. Mary completed her nurses training at Grace Hospital in Detroit, Michigan and received her RN and MRS degrees soon after. Horace and Mary were united in marriage on June 24, 1949.
Mary was a devoted wife and stay-home mother to children, Robert and Maryjo. She excelled as a Boy and Girl Scout leader, choir mom, Red Cross volunteer and PTA president. After a 20 year hiatus, Mary returned to Lake View Hospital as a part-time nurse and soon discovered her professional passion for geriatric nursing. After a stellar career of nearly thirty years, she retired as the director of nursing at Ridgeview Manor in Kalamazoo.
In addition to being the most fabulous long-distance grandparents ever, Hoss and Mary enjoyed spending summers with their three grandchildren, Chris, John IV and Hallie in Lawton and Chub Lake, Ontario.
Life-long travelers, Hoss and Mary traveled extensively in their retirement years. The explored all seven continents and visited over 100 countries. They were some of the first tourists to China after the Cultural Revolution, sailed the tall ships, played with Penguins in Antarctica and traveled on the Orient Express, twice. In 2005, Horace and Mary traveled along the Amazon, were home for a month and then returned to Russia. Horace died unexpectedly on the last day of their trip in Moscow. He made a grand exit. Undeterred as a widow, Grandma Mary continued to travel internationally with her grandchildren. An African photo safari to Tanzania with Hallie was one of Mary’s most memorable trips. She refused the payment of three healthy goats to marry her granddaughter!
The Adams family loved musical theatre and were life-long patrons of the Arts. Mary played the violin as a child and Horace and grandson Chris loved the French horn and trumpet. In 2007, a generous trumpet scholarship was created at Western Michigan University’s Music Department. They were both particularly fond of the WMU Gold Company so we are honored they will perform for Mary’s memorial service.
Mary was awarded the Pearl Fisk Award for 60 years of dedication to the Van Buren Youth Camp where she served as a nurse and patron of a camp cabin. Grandson John IV was a camper and became not only a counselor but waterfront staff during college. Mary volunteered for the Red Cross Blood Mobile and Gray Ladies. She was recently recognized as the Outstanding Volunteer of the Year by Bronson Lakeview Hospital. Mary was a member of the First Presbyterian Church in Paw Paw for nearly seventy years.
Mary is survived by her son, Robert W. (Linda) Adams of Boise, Idaho, daughter, Dr. Maryjo Adams (John III) Cochran of Kingwood, Texas; three grandchildren, William Christian (Becca) Adams of Virginia, John Cochran IV of Kingwood, Texas and Hallie (Nathan) Vasseur of Fort Worth, Texas, two great grandchildren, Eva Adams and Preston James Vasseur.
Cremation has taken place. Mary will be laid to rest at Oak Grove Cemetery, Lawton, on Thursday, October 14, 2021 at 2:00 p.m. with Pastor Jonathan Lam officiating for immediate family members.
Family and friends are invited to gather for a memorial service to celebrate Mary's life on Thursday, October 14, 2021 beginning at 7:30 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church, 321 W. South Street, Kalamazoo, with Rev. Seth Weeldreyer officiating and Pastor Tiffany McCafferty assisting. The family would like to thank Dr. Dan Guyette, Dean of the College of Fine Arts and Professor Greg Jasperse for a musical performance by the internationally recognized vocal jazz ensemble: The Gold Company.
In the grand scheme of life, my parents had a true love story. Horace, ever the gentleman, greeted his beloved Mary Louise at the Pearly Gates of heaven at 6:24 a.m. (Marriage: 6/24/1949)
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that Memorial contributions be directed to Eleanor's Pantry in Paw Paw or the Van Buren County Youth Camp.
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