James Lee Adams, 89, bank manager, active volunteer


James Lee Adams, a retired bank branch manager who trained pilots to fly P-47 Thunderbolts during World War II, died of cancer Thursday at Ellicott City Health and Rehabilitation Center. He was 89 and lived in Columbia.

Born in Baltimore, Mr. Adams graduated from Franklin High School in 1934 and joined the Army Air Forces in 1941. He was stationed in Georgia and Alabama during the war and trained fighter pilots on the P-47, flown extensively in Europe and the Pacific.

Mr. Adams was honorably discharged in 1945 with the rank of major, and two years later, began a career in banking that spanned 33 years. He started as a teller with the People's Bank in Pikesville and, by his retirement, had become a branch manager for Maryland National Bank, family members said.

He worked at various locations but spent much of his time at the Slade Avenue branch in Pikesville.

Mr. Adams was active at Liberty Grove United Methodist Church in Burtonsville. After his retirement in 1980, he volunteered through the church and at Howard County General Hospital. Family said he volunteered more than 1,600 hours at the hospital, as a chaplain's associate, for instance, helping to coordinate blood drives and managing medical records.

In 2003, the hospital awarded him a certificate of appreciation for his volunteer work.

"He was big into helping people out," said his daughter Donna Warsal of Newark, Del. "He wanted to give back."

In 1987, Mr. Adams participated in a mission trip with his church to the Caribbean island of Anguilla, where for 10 days he built wells, playgrounds and other structures - a trip he would recall as one of his favorites, family said.

In 1942, he married Mildred Espey. The couple divorced in 1972.

In 1986, he married M. Ruth Ober.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. today at the Liberty Grove Church, 15225 Old Columbia Pike, Burtonsville.

In addition to his wife and daughter, survivors include two other daughters, Jean Adams of Richmond, Va., and Susan Wald of Churchville; and five grandchildren. Another daughter, Cheryl Adams Haley, died in 1984.


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