Joseph Harrison Adams Profile Photo
1941 Joseph 2023

Joseph Harrison Adams

May 13, 1941 — July 2, 2023

Joseph Harrison Adams, Gunners Mate Senior Chief, USN, Ret, died July, 2, 2023; at the age of 82 in Mesa, Arizona. The son of Andy and Hilda Adams, he was born in his grandfather's house near York, NE, May 13, 1941, with his Aunt Elsie in attendance. His family moved many times, but he considered Cody, Wyoming, his home and returned to hunt whenever he could.

He joined the United States Navy at the age of 17 attending Boot Camp in San Diego, CA; and spent the next almost 27 years "seeing the world." He was a Gunners Mate on 5" 54 guns. He served on the USS Mark AKL 12 out of the Philippines; USS Yorktown CV 10 out of Long Beach, CA; USS Manley DD 940 out of Charleston, SC; USS Joseph Strauss DDG 16 out of Pearl Harbor and Bremerton, WA; and USS Kirk FF 1087 out of Yokosuka, Japan. He also served at many shore stations including Missoula, MT; Great Lakes, IL; Yokosuka, Japan; Seal Beach, CA; San Diego, CA and others. He was in Vietnam on 7 cruises and was awarded the Navy Commendation medal with Combat V, Combat Action Medal, Navy Achievement Metal with Combat V and star, Good Conduct Medal with 4 stars, Vietnamese Honor Medal from the Vietnam Government, and was Sailor of the Year for the USS Strauss and DesRon 33, 1972. He eventually was diagnosed with asbestosis, the result of removing asbestos from ship spaces; and his breathing got progressively worse over the years.

After retirement, he attended school at Mid Plaines Community College North Platte, NE. He became an electrician and worked at that trade for the next 20 years. He spent the next years doing beautiful wood work in his shop making bowls, rolling pins, pepper grinders and other intricate pieces. Joe was skilled in car repair, plumbing, hanging dry wall, and was good at almost any job requiring hand skills. When visiting friends and relatives, he was often asked to fix whatever was wrong at the house, and he did it all.

He married Cheryl Shepherd on September 24, 1966, in Madrid, Nebraska. She followed him from base to base and considers that 18 years the best part of her life. After retirement, they lived in North Platte, NE, and finally settled in Mesa, AZ. A highlight of the last 20 years was attending the USS Joseph Strauss reunions where they saw many old friends and met many new ones. He is a member of the Madrid, NE, chapter of The American Legion.

His three daughters were the joys of his life. Whether it was timing at swim meets, teaching them to drive, or supervising sleep overs, he enjoyed it all. And 9 grandchildren and three great granddaughters added to the happiness every day

He was preceded in death by his parents, his brothers Richard and Steve and his sisters Nancy and Nita. He is survived by his wife of 55 years; his daughters, Ann (Jason), Michele (Dan), and Rochele; grandchildren Tyler, Skyler, Madison, Jordan, Austin, Warren, Aspin, Zach, and Sailor; one sister-in-law, Colleen; and many relatives and friends. Burial will be in the Madrid, Nebraska, cemetery. Bullock-Long Funeral Home, Grant, NE. is in charge of arrangements. Memorials may be donated to the Disabled American Veterans.




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