William Tolbert Adams
Shreveport, LA – Lt. Col. William Tolbert Adams, USAF Ret., was born on May 11, 1931 to Myrtle Taylor Adams and Marion Tolbert Adams in Jena, Louisiana. He passed away peacefully following a long illness on August 24, 2019, in Bossier City, Louisiana.
A memorial service will begin at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, August 31, 2019 in the Couch Chapel of First United Methodist Church in Shreveport, Louisiana. An inurnment service will follow the memorial service in the Memorial Garden.
Col. Adams is survived by his wife, Mary Anna Rees Pringle Adams of Shreveport, Louisiana; his sister, Beverly Adams Curtis and husband, Douglas Wright Curtis of West Monroe, Louisiana; son, James Floyd Adams and wife, Kathleen Peterson Adams of Dallas, Texas; daughter, Sara Elizabeth Adams Tsuboi and husband, Kenneth Keith Tsuboi of Palo Alto, California; stepchildren, Dr. Robert Perry Pringle, Jr. and wife, Dr. Kelly Niederhausen Pringle of Louisville, Kentucky, Catherine Rees Pringle Smith of Shreveport, and John Spencer Pringle and wife, Terese Lukacs Pringle of Shreveport; grandchildren, Spencer Douglas Adams and wife, Dr. Heidi Kloefkorn Adams of Atlanta, Georgia, and Mallory Elizabeth Adams of Dallas; and great granddaughter, Margot Claire Adams of Atlanta. Step grandchildren are Caroline Paige Pringle and Benjamin Rees Pringle of Louisville; Mary Elizabeth Smith, Mark Henry Smith, Jr., Spencer Lukacs Pringle, and Eleanor Rees Pringle of Shreveport; Laila Conradson Kerrigan and husband Rian Thomas Kerrigan of Sebastapol, California, and Danielle Nobuko Tsuboi of Palo Alto. He was preceded in death by his brother, James Ray Adams and sisters, Patricia Adams Walters, Susan Adams, and Oren Adams.
Bill grew up in Jena, Louisiana. He attended Jena High School, where he played basketball, was Senior Class President, and Valedictorian. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Math and Science from Louisiana State University Baton Rouge, where he served as the Flight Officer of the Air Force ROTC. At the University of Texas at Austin he earned a Masters of Business Administration.
His 22-year Air Force career began when he was commissioned just after college. In 1953 he entered active duty at Lackland AFB, Texas. His pilot training was at Bartow AB, Florida, and Bryan AFB, Texas where he became a rated pilot, and at Nellis AFB, Nevada where he became Fighter Qualified in the F-86.
Col. Adams helped start the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado, as an Air Training Officer, 1954 to 1957. There he flew the F-86 and the T-33. He also helped create the academy’s glider program by raising money for purchasing the Academy’s first glider. Next he worked at Chaumont AB, France in 1957-58, as a Fighter Pilot in the F-100 as well as Operations Officer.
He stayed in Europe for his next assignment (1958-59), Operations Officer at Hahn AB, Germany, where he met and married Betty Jean Vermillion of Chickasha, Oklahoma. Their son Jim was born at Hahn in 1959. In 1960 they moved to Austin, Texas, where he earned his Masters of Business Admin-istration at the University of Texas and was an Air Force ROTC instructor.
His daughter Sara was born in Austin in 1961. In 1964 the family moved to Vance AFB, near Enid, Oklahoma, where he became Flight Commander and Instructor Pilot, flying the T-37 and T-38.
In the Vietnam War, in 1970-71 he flew 128 combat missions in the O-2, earning the Distinguished Flying Cross. He served with the 101st Airborne Division at Camp Eagle as Division Air Liaison Officer and as a Forward Air Controller.
After Vietnam, Bill and his family moved to Bossier City, Louisiana, where he was Squadron Commander and Maintenance Officer at Barksdale AFB until 1974. He retired from the Air Force that year. Then he began a teaching career, at Airline High School in Bossier City where he taught Air Force ROTC, and then at Bossier Parish Community College where he taught Management and Economics.
In 1985, he married Mary Anna Rees Pringle and joined the First United Methodist Church in Shreveport, where he served on the Finance Committee. He volunteered for the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) and was a Paul Harris Fellow of the Shreveport Downtown Rotary Club. He was on the State Central Committee of the Louisiana Republican Party. Bill also served on the Board of Directors for the non-profit Providence House.
The family wishes to thank the staff of the Northwest Louisiana Veterans Home and Melissa Solomon of Regional Hospice Care, for their excellent care and compassionate care.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Eternal Flame Endowment Fund, First United Methodist Church, Post Office Box 1567, Shreveport, Louisiana 71165-1567 (firstshreveport.com).