David Dickson Adams

David Dickson Adams passed away peacefully at his home in Charlton, NY on Thursday, April 5, 2018.   He was the son of the late Lee F. Adams and Ruth I. Mussen Adams, and brother to the late Linn Adams, Douglas Adams, Chuck Adams, and Ruth Adams Hoffman. His dry sense of humor, dedicated pursuit of excellence, continued devotion to his family, and commitment to community service will be greatly missed. 


Born in Schenectady, New York on August 21, 1928, Dave graduated from Scotia High School as Salutatorian in 1946. He met the love of his life, Arlene Valent, during a high school trip to Sherman’s Amusement Park in Caroga Lake, NY, and they married on June 17, 1950 in Gloversville, NY.  He graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1950 with a B.S. degree in Chemical Engineering and volunteered as a MIT Educational Counselor for over 50 years. In recognition for his continued service, Dave received the Harold E. Lobdell ’17 Distinguished Service Award (1989) and the George B. Morgan ‘20 Award (2007) from the MIT Alumni Association.


Dave began his career at General Electric in 1950 on the Chem-Met program. After assignments in Schenectady and Pittsfield, he joined the Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory (KAPL) in 1952 working on the design of sodium cooled reactor plant for the US Navy’s first nuclear submarine Seawolf.  During his tenure at KAPL, he held a variety of assignments in both power plant system and component design including several major projects KAPL undertook to develop nuclear reactors for the U.S. Navy fleet, such as the destroyer Bainbridge and Trident class submarines, and managed the development of the Los Angeles class submarines.  After retiring from GE/KAPL, Dave consulted on various energy projects for a number of years.


Active in local politics, Dave served the town of Charlton as a councilman for 29 years and was instrumental in establishing the town’s water system and zoning regulations.  He also served on the Saratoga County board overseeing the EPA Hudson River dredging project, and participated in other watchdog projects.


Dave was an active member of the Immaculate Conception Church in Glenville, and served the parish as a Eucharistic Minister distributing Communion to patients at Ellis Hospital in Schenectady.


A patron of the arts, Dave especially loved opera.  He regularly attended the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Metropolitan Opera Center in New York City, Albany Symphony and the Saratoga Opera. He continued to “practice” the piano for most of his life.


Dave was an all-around sports enthusiast and an avid fan of the New York Yankees, Giants and Rangers. He played tennis and skied into his mid-80s, and enjoyed spending winters at his second home in Breckenridge, CO.  Throughout his life, Dave loved to travel and visited many national parks and historical sites throughout the US and Canada, as well as foreign destinations such as France, Italy, Ireland, Norway and the United Kingdom.


Above all, Dave valued his family and friends. He was happiest when spending time with his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and arranged frequent reunions to bring his large clan together. He also made frequent trips to visit those living across the US and in Europe.  He gave freely of himself, and generously supported his children's and grandchildren’s dreams and aspirations. 


Dave is survived by his wife of 67 years, Arlene Valent Adams, and his six children: Barbara Adams Marin (Ulysses), Janet Hibbins Carmack (Steve), Mary Ellen Adams (Malcolm Cameron), Nancy Adams Contino (James), Patricia Adams, and Paul D. Adams (Alexcia), his 14 grandchildren:  David Blundell (Garria), Betsy Blundell; Jennifer Hibbins (Joe Salzano), Sean Hibbins (Masumi Sekiguchi), Kristina Carmack (Tyler Deluca); Alistair Black, Cameron Black; Louise Contino (Will Geary), Jacklyn Contino; Joshua Nixon, Rose Nixon; Simon Alexander-Adams, Oliver Alexander-Adams (Sara Lovett), and Andrew Adams, and five great grandchildren:  Ella Blundell, Alice Blundell, Julia Salzano, Henry Salzano, and Charles Sekiguchi Hibbins.


Calling hours will be held on Friday, April 20 from 5pm to 8pm at the Glenville Funeral Home.  A Requiem Mass will be celebrated on Saturday, April 21 at 11:00 am at Immaculate Conception Church in Glenville, NY followed by a reception at the church.  As music was Dave’s passion and joy, donations in lieu of flowers may be made in his honor to establish a Piano Fund at the Immaculate Conception Church (Glenville) or the Saratoga Opera.