NASHVILLE — Dr. James Richard Adams, retired Director of Development at the National Association of Free Will Baptists, died unexpectedly Friday, March 2, at seventy-two years of age in Antioch, TN.
Dr. Adams was born in Erwin, TN, and lived there until he moved to Nashville to attend Free Will Baptist Bible College. After graduating in 1966, Richard and his beloved wife Carolyn (deceased), moved to Kannapolis, NC, where he became the pastor of Ben Avenue Free Will Baptist and stayed until 1970. At that time, the couple, along with their two children, moved to Elizabethton, TN, where “Preacher Adams” served as the much-loved pastor of East Side Free Will Baptist Church for twenty years.
In January of 1990, the Adams’ family moved to Nashville, TN, where Richard became the Director of Development with Free Will Baptist Home Missions North America. Over the next eighteen years, Richard directed the Church Extension Loan Fund which enabled church planters to buy land and build facilities all across North America.
Richard worked tirelessly with the Build My Church Campaign raising millions of dollars for Home Missions. He and Carolyn traveled around the world to Canada, Mexico, the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and the United States, representing the cause of Christ and Home Missions. In honor of Richard’s tireless work for missions, the Free Will Baptist Home Missions Board named the million-dollar endowment of funds he raised in his name — the Richard and Carolyn Adams Endowment.
Dr. Adams made a tremendous impact of the cause of Christ and for Free Will Baptists around the world. He will be sorely missed not only by family, but also by literally hundreds of friends across our nation.
Richard and Carolyn had two children, the late James Mark Adams, formerly of Elizabethton, TN, and Bethany Adams Walser. Bethany is married to Randal Steven Walser, of Elizabethton. They and their daughter, Alana Karel, currently reside in Nashville, TN. He had two sisters, both from Erwin, TN, Willa Dean Early and Betty Lou Tilson (deceased). His two nieces are LuAnne Powers, of Georgia, and Sydney Paige Masters, of Erwin, TN. Also of Erwin, are Leo Masters (deceased) and Edna Masters, Richard’s in-laws, and Johnny and Chearie Masters, his brother and sister-in-law.
A memorial service will be held on Sunday, March 4th, at Cofers Chapel Free Will Baptist Church on Franklin Road in Nashville. The family will receive friends beginning at 2:00 p.m. and continue until the service begins at 5:00 p.m. Pastor Tim York and Rev. Larry Powell will conduct the service.
A funeral service will be held on Monday, March 5, at East Side Free Will Baptist Church in Elizabethton, TN. The family will receive friends from 3:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. when the service will begin. Pastor Tim York, Rev. Justin Deaton and LuAnne Powers will officiate.
The burial service will be held at Evergreen Cemetery in Erwin, TN, on Tuesday, March 6 at 10:00 a.m. Active pallbearers are Brian Crowe, Alan Walser, Jeff Carr, Jason Bunton, Glen Marley, Kenny Lethcoe, Larry Peters, Joe Williams, and Johnny Holder. Honorary pallbearers are Jack Bunton, Don Wilson, Jim Troutman, John James, Bill Cline and George Greer. Everyone will meet at East Side Free Will Baptist Church at 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday to go in procession to the cemetery.
Online condolences may be sent to the family by visiting www.tetrickfuneralhome.com and signing the guest book or by fax 423 542-9499.
Tetrick Funeral Home, Elizabethton, is serving the family. Office 423 542-2232, Obituary line 543-4917.