“Jeanne was a fabulous and amazing woman,” said Gail Crockett, who worked for Adams’ son, former Brentwood school district superintendent Doug Adams. “She brought sunshine into the room and was involved in everything. It’s a great loss to her family and to the community.”
Born Ruth Jeanne Weitze in Nora Springs, Iowa on Feb. 7, 1921, Adams was raised on a farm in Corning, Calif. along with her six siblings. She met her husband, Jack, while a student at UC Davis, but World War II interrupted their college educations when the campus closed for the remainder of the war. During that time she worked in area hospitals, serving meals to stateside soldiers while Jack served in the Army Air Corps. Adams later completed her science degree at UC Berkeley, but when she and Jack married in 1944 and moved to Brentwood, she was forced to switch careers.
“When she came here (Brentwood) there were no hospitals in the area, so she turned to teaching and had no regrets,” said her son, Doug. “Mom was very good at balancing her career with family, not to mention her community service, and that was unusual in her generation. She believed that no matter what you do, no matter what challenges you face, you have a responsibility to take them on, and she did – with relish.”
Adams taught in the Brentwood Union School District for 29 years and was an active volunteer in the community, involved in a number of local organizations including the Brentwood Women’s Club, the Brentwood Sorority and the East County Historical Society. For more than 40 years she sat beside Jack in the sports booth as he announced the Liberty High School football games, and she was a key organizer of the annual Lions Club Fall Sports Awards banquets.
“Jeanne was an honorary (Brentwood) Lion for 53 years and she never missed a meeting unless Jack (her husband) was ill,” said Brentwood Lion Fred Ginsler. “Every time I saw her I would give her a peck on the cheek and I would always proclaim her cheeks as the softest in Brentwood. They were as soft as velvet. She always got the biggest kick out of that. She was a wonderful woman.”
Over the years, Adams touched legions of former students, colleagues and friends with her compassion, kindness and famous sense of humor.
“She was my second-grade teacher, and she was the funniest, best teacher I ever had,” said Mary Black, former assistant superintendent for the Brentwood Union School District. “I still remember the light bulb puppets we made in class … she was just one of those sparks in your life that would light up your day. She always thought of everyone else first.”
But for those who knew the energetic, spirited Adams best, her thoughts – and heart – lay foremost with her family. “With mom it was family first, and I will miss that love she had for her family and her grandchildren,” said Doug. “But what I’m really going to miss is the laughter; Mom really enjoyed the laughter. She led a wonderful, wonderful life for 89 years and for that we are all grateful.”
Adams is survived by Jack and Doug, as well as siblings Keith, Betty and Bob. She also leaves behind daughter-in-law Jackie, grandchildren Vanessa Schasker and Sarah Adams, son-in-law Todd, and many friends and extended family members.
A Celebration of Life was attended by hundreds on Oct. 27 in Brentwood. Donations in her memory can be made in her name to Adams Middle School, 401 American Ave., Brentwood, CA 94513.