A eulogy for Charlie Adams (by Kenny)


Since some of my readers are fellow prison volunteers, I asked Kenny if he’d allow me to put up the eulogy for Charlie Adams, whose funeral Mass was celebrated this last Saturday. Here it is. Even if you did not know Charlie, he was quite a man!

CHARLES MARBLE ADAMS III

ON JANUARY 6, 1942, THE FEAST OF THE EPHANY, A SON WAS BORN TO CHARLES AND FLORENCE RIVERS ADAMS AND WAS TO BE NAMED CHARLES MARBLE ADAMS III. HE WAS TO BECOME A LOVING SON, BROTHER, HUSBAND, FATHER, GRANDFATHER, BROTHER-IN-LAW, UNCLE, AND FRIEND.

CHARLIE HAS HAD AN INCREDIBLE LIFE STARTING AT A VERY EARLY AGE. HE WAS AN AVERAGE STUDENT, LOVED SPORTS, SWIMMING, GOLF, SKIING, BASEBALL, HOCKEY, AND FISHING. HIS GRACE ON THE SLOPES WAS SOMETHING TO BEHOLD. HE LOVED FLYING DOWN THE STEEPEST SLOPE HE COULD FIND. OFTEN TIMES HE AND TOMMY WOULD GO UP TO NEW HAMPSHIRE TO ONE OF THE SKI RESORTS, AND WORK IN THE KITCHEN DOING DISHES WHICH WOULD ALLOW THEM TO SKI AT NO CHARGE. CHARLIE AND TOMMY LOVED HOCKEY AND WOULD COACH KIDS WHO COULD NOT MAKE THE HOCKEY TEAM. EACH OF THESE KIDS WERE STARS IN THEIR EYES, NO MATTER WHAT THEIR ABILITY.

FAMILY WAS ALWAYS A PRIORITY WITH CHARLIE. HE TRULY LOVED SPENDING TIME WITH THEM ALL, WHETHER IT WAS WATCHING GEOFF PLAY HOCKEY OR WATCHING JENNIFER AND MELISSA DANCE, OR TAKING A FAMILY VACATION TO COLORADO AND GETTING CAUGHT IN A BLIZZARD IN THE MIDDLE OF A BUSY HIGHWAY.

HIS GRANDCHILDREN WERE ALSO A GREAT JOY TO HIM. WHETHER IT WAS WATCHING THEM PARTICIPATE IN BASEBALL, CHEERLEADING, ACTING, DANCING, SINGING OR GYMNASTICS.   MOST OF ALL HE ENJOYED THEM WHEN THEY CAME TO EASTMAN WHERE THEY WOULD PARTAKE OF ALL THE TREASURES THE HOUSE HAD TO OFFER, THE SWIMMING, HIKING, FISHING,   OR JUST A LEISURLY WALK AROUND THE LAKE. SPECIAL TIMES WERE SPENT ALL TOGETHER, SHARING A HAMBURGER OR A LAVISH MEAL, AND JUST CATCHING UP. DURING THESE CONVERSATIONS DI METHO POLY SYL OXINE WOULD BE BROUGHT UP, EYEBROWS WOULD BE RAISED. NOW THE WORD IS VERY COMMON TO THE FAMILY –AND A WONDERMENT TO THE REST OF US.

EASTMAN IS A GEM, A WONDERLAND, A HOME WHERE TERRY AND CHARLIE LOVED BEING.  THEIR LOVE FOR EACH OTHER OVER THE PAST 51 YEARS OF MARRIAGE HAS GROWN STRONGER AND STRONGER. THIS AREA OF PEACEFULNESS AND TRANQUILITY HAS NOURISHED THEIR LIVES.

TERRY’S DEEP LOVE OF GOD HAS ENABLED HER TO TRUST HIM OR HER, WHICH GETS HER THROUGH THE TOUGH TIMES, BOTH PHYSICALLY AND MENTALLY. HER LOSS OVER THE PAST FEW YEARS HAS MADE A DEEP VOID IN HER LIFE. CHARLIE HAS BEEN HER ROCK AND HER FORTRESS. HER STRENGTH IS INCREDIBLE.

EACH DAY WHEN THEY WERE ABLE, THEY WOULD WALK AROUND THE LAKE AND ENJOY ITS BEAUTY. CHARLIE WOULD ALSO HAVE HIS GARDEN AND TERRY WOULD BE MAKING COOKIES OR PESTO OR CRANBERRY SAUCE, DOING THEIR OWN THING, BUT ALWAYS TOGETHER AND VERY MUCH IN LOVE.

CHARLIE HAD A HEART AS LARGE AS THIS WORLD, NO TASK WAS IMPOSSIBLE, EITHER IN HIS PERSONAL LIFE OR IN THE BUSINESS WORLD, WHERE HE WAS DEEPLY RESPECTED AND TRUSTED. HIS ABILITY TO SEE ALL ASPECTS OF SITUATIONS NO MATTER HOW IMPOSSIBLE THEY MAY BE, COUPLE THIS WITH A SENCE OF HUMOR AND YOU HAVE A FANTASTIC GUY, SOMETIMES A COMPLETE NUT.

HE WOULD PLAY SANTA CLAUS TO SENIOR CITIZENS AT A NURSING HOME, A SOUP KITCHEN OR A FRIENDS HOME. HIS PASSION IN TOUGH SITUATIONS WAS ALWAYS EVIDENT. I CAN REMEMBER US AT A SOUP KITCHEN IN BOSTON. SANTA CAME IN AND WALKED AROUND THE DINNING HALL GREETING ALL THE GUESTS. HE CAME TO A LITTLE BOY AND ASKED HIM WHAT HE WANTED FOR CHRISTMAS. THE CHILD ANSWERED NOTHING, I ASKED YOU FOR A TRAIN THE LAST TWO TIMES, AND YOU NEVER GOT IT FOR ME. CHARLIE WAS SO TOUCHED BY HIM THAT HE WENT OUT AND BOUGHT A TRAIN. THE NEXT DAY HE RETURNED TO THE SOUP KITCHEN AND ASKED THE DIRECTOR IF SHE COULD GIVE HIM THE NAME AND ADDRESS OF THE CHILD SO HE COULD DELIVER IT TO HIM. HE WAS TOLD THAT THE MOTHER AND CHILD WERE IN THE UNDERGROUND AND COULD NOT BE FOUND. HE LEFT THE TRAIN WITH INSTRUCTIONS THAT IT WAS TO BE GIVEN TO THE CHILD ON HIS NEXT VISIT TO THE SOUP KITCHEN. ONE OF THE GUESTS KNEW WHERE THE CHILD COULD BE LOCATED, AND DELIVERED IT TO HIM.

THE NEXT MONTH CHARLIE WAS TOLD THAT THE TRAIN HAD BEEN DELIVERED AS REQUESTED. CHARLIE NEVER SAW THIS CHILD IN THE KITCHEN AGAIN. SEVERAL YEARS LATER CHARLIE WAS IN THE KITCHEN AND A YOUNG MAN ENTERED THE KITCHEN AND APPROACHED CHARLIE AND SAID ‘HI SANTA, THANK YOU FOR MY TRAIN’

ONE OF THE FUNNIEST MOMENTS AT NORFOLK PRISON THAT I REMEMBER WAS WHEN CHARLIE DRESSED UP AS A NUN ANE SHUFFLED ACROSS THE STAGE WITH CANE IN HAND, BENT OVER, AND HEAD LOWERED. HE WAS SEATED CENTER STAGE WITH HEAD LOWERED AND SPOKE TO ABOUT 200 MEN FOR APPROXIMATELY 15 MINUTES, THEN TOOK THEIR QUESTIONS, AND ANSWERED THEM WHILE INJECTING HIS HUMOR. AT THE END OF THE SESSION, HE GOT UP QUITE SHAKEY AND RAISED HIS HEAD. THE MEN IMMEDIATELY RECOGNIZED HIM, AND BURST INTO LAUGHTER.

SENSITIVITY, COMPASSION AND LOVE, THIS IS CHARLIE.

FOR THE PAST 25 YEARS CHARLIE AND I HAVE BECOME COMPLETELY INVOLVED IN PRISON MINISTRY, THANKS TO CURSILLO WHICH WE LIVED A HUNDRED YEARS AGO. OUR MINISTRY HAS BEEN NOURISHED OVER THE YEARS DUE TO THE FACT THAT WE CONTINUALLY THROW EACH OTHER UNDER THE BUS.

I WILL GET A CALL FROM HIM. HEY, WHAT ARE YOU DOING ON OCT 26, MY REPLY, CHARLIE, WHAT THE HELL HAVE YOU GOTTEN US INTO NOW. HIS REPLY, OH, YOU ARE GOING TO LOVE IT.

THROUGH THESE PAST 25 YEARS CHARLIE AND TERRY HAVE BECOME DEEPLY COMMITTED TO THIS MINISTRY. THEY HAVE BECOME MENTORS, CONFIDENTS AND MEMBERS OF THE LAY DOMINICAN COMMUNITY AT NORFOLK PRISON. THEY MAKE THEMSELVES AVAILABLE TO ALL NO MATTER WHO THEY ARE. THEY ALWAYS SEE THE GOOD IN PEOPLE AND ALSO THE OTHER SIDE OF ANY SITUATION. THEY ARE NEVER TOO BUSY FOR ANYONE. MANY PEOPLE SEEK THEM OUT FOR THEIR ADVISE, CONCERN, EXPERTISE, COMPASSION, HONESTY, AND LOVE OF GOD AND EACH OTHER. UNTIL RECENTLY CHARLIE WAS INVOLVED WITH THE MEN AT NUMEROUS PRISONS. HE HAD TO BACK AWAY FROM THEM PHYSICALLY DUE TO HEALTH ISSUES, BUT ALWAYS REMAINED WITH THEM IN PRAYER.

CHARLIE IS ALSO ON THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS AT BETHANY HOUSE MINISTRY, WHERE THE MEN AND WOMEN IN PRISON ARE MINISTERED TO, NOT ONLY IN PRISON BUT ASSISTED AND COUNSELED AFTER THEIR RELEASE. HE WAS IN CONSTANT CONTACT WITH THEM, AND ASSISTED THEM WHENEVER AND HOWEVER HE WAS ABLE. WHEN HE WAS NOT DOING THIS HE WAS HELPING SR. KATHLEEN WRITE GRANTS TO HELP FUND THE PROGRAMS THEY HAVE TO ASSIST THE MEN AND WOMEN AND THEIR FAMILIES.

CHARLIE WAS ALSO AN ARTIST, WHICH NOT TOO MANY PEOPLE KNEW. HE RECENTLY BECAME INTERESTED IN WATER COLORS, WHICH HE IMMENSLY ENJOYED. HE WAS ALSO BECAME QUITE CREATIVE IN POTTERY, WHERE HE FASHIONED MANY PIECES, WHICH ARE SO SPECIAL TO TERRY. DURING HIS HIGH SCHOOL DAYS HE CREATED AND PAINTED THE LOGO FOR STONEHAM HIGH SCHOOL, AND TO THIS DAY CONTINUES TO BE THE OFFICIAL LOGO THE SCHOOL.

A MAJOR ACCOMPLISHMENT WAS THE DESIGN OF A NEW WING FOR BETHANY HOUSE. IT WAS DEDICATED ON MARCH 21, AND WAS NAMED ‘CHARLIE’S PLACE’, IN APPRECIATION FOR HIS LONG TIME COMMITMENT TO BETHANY HOUSE COMMUNITY.

DURING THE PAST SEVEN MONTHS BARBARA WOULD SAY TO TERRY AND CHARLIE, THANK YOU FOR ALLOWING US TO TAKE THIS JOURNEY WITH YOU.

WE HAVE SEEN THE PERSON WE DEARLY LOVE SLOWLY AND PAINFULLY FADE FROM A HEALTHY, VIBRANT, SMILING, LAUGHING GUY TO A VERY FRAGILE PERSON, STILL SHARP AS A TACK, NEVER COMPLAINING, ALWAYS AFRAID OF PUTTING SOMEONE OUT, NOT WISHING TO BE A PAIN IN THEIR NECK TO ANYONE.

A FEW DAYS BEFORE HIS DEATH, JEN AND I WERE WITH HIM. JEN ASKED CHARLIE IF HE HAS TALKED TO UNCLE STEVE TODAY, HIS VERY FAINT REPLY WAS NO. I DID SEE GRANDMA, SHE WAS DRESSED IN WHITE AND GOLD. WE BOTH TOLD HIM THAT WAS WONDERFUL AND IT IS OK FOR YOU TO LET GO AND JOIN THEM ALL. HE OPENED ONE EYE AND SAID IN A VERY CLEAR VOICE…… NOT TODAY.

HIS WIT NEVER CEASED TO AMAZE US ALL THROUGH THIS LONG PERIOD.

ANOTHER TIME BARBARA WHISPERED INTO HIS EAR, CHARLIE, WHO AM I? A MOMENT OF SILENCE THEN HE REPLIED, DOLLY PARTON, AND WE ALL CHUCKLED. THESE ARE THE MOMENTS THAT WE WILL TREASURE.

TODAY CHARLIE IS IN HIS ETERNAL HOME, WITH GRANDMA, GRANDPA, FRANNY, AND STEVE. HE IS WATCHING OVER US ALL. WE MAY AT ONE TIME OR ANOTHER FEEL A GENTLE NUDGE OR A FAINT BREEZE, IT PROBABLY WILL BE CHARLIE SHOWING US HIS LOVE.

BARBARA AND I HAVE A 4YR OLD GRANDSON NAMED DECLAN.  HE AND CHARLIE HAVE A VERY SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP.  HE HAS BEEN ON THIS JOURNEY WITH US.   HE CALLED ME ONE DAY AND WANTED TO TALK TO CHARLIE.  I TOLD HIM THAT CHARLIE WAS VERY SICK AND HE WAS ASLEEP, BUT WHEN HE WOKE UP I WOULD ASK HIM IF HE WANTED TO TALK TO DECLAN. CHARLIE SAID GET HIM ON THE PHONE.

ANOTHER DAY DECLAN ASKED ME IF CHARLIE HAD GONE TO HEAVEN, AND I SAID NOT YET.

WHEN CHARLIE DID LEAVE US DECLAN ASKED HIS MOTHER HOW HE GOT TO HEAVEN, AND MY DAUGHTER TOLD HIM THAT THE ANGELS CAME AND GOT HIM.

HOW DID THEY GET HIM TO HEAVEN?……. THEY CARRIED HIM.

CAN WE CALL GOD AND TALK TO CHARLIE? THERE ARE NO TELEPHONES IN HEAVEN.

THEN HOW CAN I TALK TO CHARLIE? JUST TALK TO HIM HE WILL HEAR YOU.

THE FOLLOWING MORNING DECLAN SAID, MOM I AM NOT GOING TO PRAY FOR CHARLIE ANYMORE, I’M JUST GOING TO TALK TO HIM.

REST WELL MY FRIEND.  WE LOVE YOU.

–Kenny Neelon