Olin L. Adams Jr., superintendent of schools in Carroll from '76 to '87

January 19, 1995|By Anne Haddad | Anne Haddad,Sun Staff Writer

Olin L. Adams Jr., known for an economy of words, budget and educational programs during his 11 years as superintendent of Carroll County schools, died of cancer Monday at his Westminster home. He was 73.

"He was a strong leader," said Robert E. Kersey, who was Dr. Adams' assistant superintendent for instruction. He took the helm between Dr. Adams' retirement and the selection of his successor.

"He knew what direction he wanted to take the school system in and he held firm to it," Dr. Kersey said.

Dr. Adams' career spanned four decades in four states. He was Carroll superintendent from 1976 to 1987, during a time of recession, increasing enrollment and residents pushing for


8TC return to basics and less emphasis on "social problems," Dr. Kersey said.

Reading, writing, math and science were Dr. Adams' priorities, along with a belief in fiscal responsibility. He submitted lean budgets, streamlined school board meetings and expected the same kind of economy from his administrators.

"He'd say, 'Bob, I want a report. Don't give me a lot of gobbledygook: Bring me a one-page report on this,' " Dr. Kersey said. "He was all business. We did it now; we didn't procrastinate with various things."

During Dr. Adams' tenure as superintendent, three new schools opened: Liberty High, Hampstead Elementary and the Carroll Springs School for special education.

Dr. Adams' son, Olin L. Adams III of Athens, Ohio, said his father's personal strengths were also his professional ones.

"When I think about him, I think about the person with the most solid character that I've ever known," said Mr. Adams, who teaches accounting at Ohio University.

Most of Dr. Adams' career was in the Midwest, between time spent in Maryland. Dr. Adams was born in Mount Holly and reared in Salisbury, both in North Carolina. He graduated from Pfeiffer Junior College in 1940 and Catawba College in 1942. He earned a master's degree from Ohio University in 1952 and a doctorate from the University of Maryland in 1958.

He served in the U.S. Army Air Forces during World War II, then worked as an accountant for Joseph E. Seagram & Sons in Baltimore and St. Louis in the late 1940s.

Dr. Adams began his education career as a teacher, then principal, in Wellston, Ohio. He returned to Maryland as supervisor of elementary education for Prince George's County in 1954, then accepted a position as superintendent in Oak Hill, Ohio, a year later. He also led school systems in Marietta and North Royalton, Ohio; Knoxville, Tenn.; and Warren, Mich., before coming to Carroll County in 1976.

Besides his son, Dr. Adams is survived by his wife of 47 years, Juanita Vinson Adams of Westminster.

Services will be at 1 p.m. today at the Westminster United Methodist Church on East Main Street.

Memorial contributions may be made to Carroll Hospice, 95 Carroll St., Westminster 21157.

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