Arthur Ray Adams


August 21, 1930 - October 29, 2015


Arthur “Art” Ray Adams was born August 21, 1930 to Ray Edward and Anna Nancy (Wranek) Adams at Wewela, SD.  A year later his parents and an older brother, Clarence moved to White River, SD.  They lived there a few years where a sister Alta joined the family in October 1932.  In 1937 they moved to Garretson and Arthur started first grade. Art had a job setting pins at the local bowling alley and had picked up the nickname “Tarzan” because of his dare devil antics often near historic Devils Gulch.

The family moved to rural Alexandria, SD in April 1945 where his father rented a farm.  Art began helping his father on the farm and learned to farm with horses, pick corn by hand, shock grain and milk cows. Art never got to finish high school education which was a disappointment to him over the years.  He was a freshman when the family moved from Garretson to Alexandria. In 1951 the family moved to rural Mitchell where Art was a farm hand for the Reese Green family before joining the Marines in the fall of 1951.

He was stationed in San Diego, CA where he received training as a wireman-SigScolBn,MCRD, which was a lineman, telephone operator. He received infantry training at Camp Pendleton, CA and was sent to Korea in August 1952. He was assigned to Signal Battery, First Marines Wire Platoon. He served on the mainland of Korea for four months then transferred to West Coast Defense in the Yellow Sea. He served on four different islands, as far north as the China Mainland, as a telephone and radio operator connecting ships in the area to the mainland. One of the islands he was stationed on was Younypongdo where the North Koreans often did night bombing runs.  He had interesting tales of those bombing runs which even include some funny incidents. Art received a Honorable Discharge from the Marine Corps October 30, 1953 at Hastings, NE. He had received the Korean Service Medal, United Nations Service Medal and National Defense Service Medal.  He will be receiving the Korean Government Ambassador Peace Medal posthumously in January 2016.

Art returned to Mitchell where he went to work for several area farmers.  In later years he worked on the Big Bend Dam at Fort Thompson for several years and then worked construction for Lindekugel and Sons, Vittoe Construction, Commercial Asphalt and finally Clark Paving. After retiring from construction he began employment as custodian for the Mitchell School District retiring in 2012. 

Art was a life time member of the American Legion and VFW.  In his younger years he loved to play pool, golf, darts and looked forward to deer hunting with his uncle Donald Adams and cousins in the Black Hills.  He also enjoyed going to rummage sales and attending  Mitchell Kernels boys basketball games at the Corn Palace.  Art was always a big support to his Mom and Family over his life time. Siblings can recall the many times growing up they would leave a note asking for money for school need and he never failed them. Then into their adulthood if a family member needed help, Art was always there to help in any way he could and a friend was free to call upon him at any time.  Family was always a first priority in his life and his caring and love extended not only to family members but many little foster children who entered his life through sisters who cared for foster children.  He would step in if called upon for babysitting duties if a family member had to run a quick errand and called upon him for help.  Those family members that lived close by were truly blest to have Art in their lives weekly and some every day.  Art will truly be missed by the many friends who have come to know him over the years.  Art was known for his strong opinions on most subjects but his passion for being right was held “special” for all who knew and loved him.  Art was known to be a collector of things whether they worked or not.  He didn’t believe in throwing anything away.  Art Loved feeding his birds that hung around the bird feeders in his yard.

Art is survived by four brothers and five sisters: Clarence E., Newcastle, WY, Alta M. (Melvin) Gering, Oklahoma City, OK, Betty L. Christensen, Mitchell, Kenneth E. (Judy), Hartford, Nancy A (John) Kirchmeier, Mitchell, David R. (Dorothy), Everett, WA, Joanne M. (Stanley) Hofwolt, Mitchell, Gary L. (Linda), Marathon City, WI and Diana F. Wick, Mitchell, 37 nieces and nephews, 57 great nieces and nephews, 18 great-great nieces and nephews, two uncles: Russell Adams and Edwin Swanson, numerous cousins, brother- in- law, Donald E. Underwood and a long time very close special friend, Darlene Goldammer and her family.  Art was preceded in death by his parents, sister, Esther I. Underwood, sister- in- law, Jeanne (Underwood) Adams, brother-in-law, A.H. Christensen, nephew in infancy, Timothy Ray Adams and stillborn great nephews, Juan Carlos Garbard and Thomas Johnson.


Friday, November 6, 2015
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Bittner Funeral Chapel
Prayer Service ~ 7:00 PM
805 West Havens
Mitchell, South Dakota


Saturday, November 7, 2015
10:30 AM
Mitchell Wesleyan Church
601 North Sanborn Street
Mitchell, South Dakota


Military Graveside Rites
Servicemen's Memorial Cemetery
Mitchell, South Dakota

Posted by Susan Hohn on November 5, 2015
Fond memories of Art. He came to IL. Many, many times bringing mom. Our girls remember these special times as we do. You will be missed.
Posted by Jodi Hofer on November 5, 2015
Will sure miss him and always hold him dear too my heart....RIP Grandpa......
Posted by Norman Peters on November 5, 2015
My prayers go out to the family and friends of Mr.Adams. I did not know Ray, but I'm originally from Mitchell so he is family.
Posted by Angela Dew( Hohn/Goldammer) on November 4, 2015
Art was one of the sweetest men I have ever met. I have fond memories of him as a child, always remembering birthdays and special events with a hand written card. He had a wonderful sense of humor and huge heart.
Posted by Troy Torgerson on November 4, 2015
My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone in Art's family and friends. I had the wonderful opportunity of meeting him last year Memorial Day when out for Grandma's ceremony. He was a very special man and charismatic, I knew it immediately when we started talking. I will always have that memory of a wonderful man who touched so many lives. God Bless you Art. Thank you for your service to our country and making my world better by being in it.
Troy Torgerson (Gary and Linda's son in law)
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