Mary M. Adams, 95, of Overland Park, Kansas, entered eternal life on December 13, 2023.
Mary was the oldest daughter of William Joseph and Verena Nadine Noble, born on June 28, 1928, in Kansas City, Missouri. Mary was raised with her sisters, Betty and Sue, in Kansas City where they shared many memories of being raised in a home of hard-working parents. She graduated from Central High School in 1945 and went to college at Kansas City University (KCU - now UMKC), earning a degree in Social Work and then working in the field for several years. She joined the Cho Chin Sorority at KCU, which later became Chi Omega. She enjoyed being a Chi Omega and the lasting lifelong friendships.
Later, she acquired a teaching degree and taught almost 40 years at the following schools: Potwin Elementary, Topeka, KS; Hale Cook Elementary and Loretta Academy in Kansas City, MO; and North Oxford and Stanley Elementary schools, which are now in the Blue Valley School District in Johnson County, KS. Mary was a beloved teacher to many students, keeping in touch with several into adulthood. Education was very important to her, and she often encouraged her family to pursue it with passion.
Mary met her husband, Robert (Bob) Adams, at a “Sadie Hawkins” dance at the Swope Park Baptist Church in Kansas City. They were married on June 8, 1952, at Oak Park Christian Church and were blessed with 62 years of marriage. They enjoyed entertaining family and friends, ballroom dancing and playing music together – Mary singing and accompanying Bob on the clarinet. They moved from Kansas City, Missouri, to Overland Park, Kansas, in 1967 to raise their two children, Jane and Doug. Mary was active in her children’s lives, leading Bluebird and Camp Fire Girls, supporting her daughter’s dance lessons, and making all of the dance costumes because she was a skillful seamstress. She put her son in art classes at an early age at the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art because she loved the creative arts and fostered that in his life. She encouraged her children to persist in all their endeavors but particularly with piano lessons because of her love of music. She taught her children the importance of loving and caring for others.
Beyond family, Mary was deeply invested in the neighborhoods where she lived, making lifelong friends, attending gatherings, and joining in parades. She knew the importance of “loving your neighbors” from Matthew 19:19, and her home was always welcoming – for instance, her front door was always open when she was home.
Mary enjoyed hosting elegant dinner parties and gatherings for family and friends with a high level of attention to quality food preparation, beautiful table settings, and decorations.
Mary had a deep love for her country that spurred her involvement in the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) – Tomahawk Chapter, and the National Society Daughters of the American Colonists (DAC). She wanted to pass that love on to the younger generation and was a sponsor for a chapter of the Children of the American Revolution (CAR).
After raising her family, Mary and Bob often traveled with friends in their retirement to Europe visiting many countries, including the UK, Ireland, Germany, Spain, Portugal, France, Switzerland, Italy, Norway, Denmark, Poland, Netherlands, Belgium and others. She also found more time to focus on her passion of genealogy, researching her family history and keeping detailed records of her findings from visiting libraries, courthouses, and cemeteries across the U.S. Her passion for genealogy was passed down to her twin grandsons. She was “Grahamy” to her grandchildren and was deeply involved in supporting their education, special music and sporting events.
Mary is preceded in death by her husband, Robert Adams; parents, William and Nadine Noble; sister, Virginia Sue Markham; two sister-in-laws, Virginia Kloepful, and Roberta Cannaday, and their husbands.
She is survived by sister, Betty Clark of Arlington, TX; brother-in-law, Peter Markham of Windermere, FL; daughter, Jane (Greg) Vandegrift of Lakeville, MN; son, Doug (Afrah) Adams of Olathe, KS; six grandchildren, Collin (Alyssa) Vandegrift of Woodbury, MN; Nate Vandegrift and fiancée, Anessa, of Kasson, MN; twin sons Joel and Jacob Vandegrift of St Paul, MN; Sarah and Ben Adams of Olathe, KS. She loved all her nieces and nephews and their families in the Kansas City area, Texas, Florida, Georgia, and Iraq.
A family graveside service will be held at Forest Hill Cemetery on Saturday, Dec. 16 for family and close friends. A Celebration of Life service will be held at 2:00pm on Saturday, March 23 at Mary and Bob’s long-standing church, Rolling Hills Presbyterian, in Overland Park, KS.
Memorial gifts can be given to the Lee Ann Britain Infant Development Center - a center for early intervention and development of special needs children in Mission, KS. Mary’s grandson Ben and great niece Allie greatly benefitted from this organization’s care and expertise. Home | Britain Development - B.E. Smith Family Center