Cyrus H. Adams, Jr.
Cyrus H. Adams, Jr., 95, also called C.H., of Trenton, passed away on March 18, 2023. We will remember the way he lived, with contentment, peace, dignity, and grace.
He was predeceased by his wife of 43 years, Dorothy (Hester) Adams, and his parents, Sibble (Matthews) and Chester Stanford, and Cyrus H. Adams, Sr., an infant sister, Betty Jean Stanford, and an infant granddaughter, Kelly Rose Ritchie. Also preceded by Joyce Berryhill, friend and companion.
He leaves four daughters to cherish his memory: Linda (Kenneth) Kelley, Janice (Kevin) Ritchie, Donna (Randall) Bibee, and Julia (Patrick) O’Neill, and his grandchildren: Laura (Alex) Vlk, Tom, David (Allison) and Michelle Kelley, Faith Ritchie, Eric and Anna O’Neill and his great-grandchildren: James, Andrew and Leah Vlk. Also survived by brothers, Joe Stanford (friend Sandra Hill), and Tom (Gail) Stanford, and a sister, Carolyn (Dennis) Odem, nephew Eddie (Kathy) Stanford, nieces Pam (Ronnie) Bell and Sherry (Kent) White, and nephew John (Olivia) Odem.
Cy had a special ability to understand and remember what was important to others. He asked his friends and relatives about those things, offered a listening ear, and helped everyone remember to be grateful. Many claimed Cy as ‘my best friend’ and the ‘toughest person I know.’ He offered encouragement to anyone, especially in the areas of education and saving and investing money. He loved to laugh and tell stories. He could fix anything mechanical or electrical, especially with his ohm meter. He helped anybody he could, including tutoring those who wanted to earn their electrician’s license or needing assistance learning how to read.
He was born in Florence, Alabama, on July 15, 1927. About age 10, his family moved to Loretto, Tennessee, a community he came to love. He returned to graduate with the Loretto High School Class of 1947 after working in the shipyards in Mobile, Alabama, during World War II and running a grocery store owned by his father in Detroit, Michigan for a summer. He is locally famous as the ‘speedster’ and ‘standout’ for the football play ‘45 Bootleg,’ celebrated at the 70th anniversary of the rivalry game.
Cy worked the summer of 1946 at Great Lakes Steel in Ecorse, Michigan. After graduation, he returned. Beginning as an apprentice electrician and becoming a member of USWA 1299, he retired after 45 years as General Foreman-Electrical Maintenance, Electric Arc Furnaces, while sometimes serving as General Foreman-Mechanical Maintenance and sometimes overseeing both roles. To quote him, “If it was broke, worn out, or obsolete, it was my responsibility. I suppose the perpetual challenges of keeping the furnaces in operation kept me going.” Prior to moving into management, Cy served as Union Steward for all electrical employees at GLS. He knew the badge number of every person he represented which ran into the hundreds.
He served as combat infantry in the Korean War. He believed the U.S. “to be the greatest country and the best form of government ever.”
In retirement he pursued the things he enjoyed. He bought a house in Loretto, Tennessee, which he thought was the best place in the country to live. He helped to coordinate many reunions of his classmates. He delighted in meeting new people and reconnecting with family and friends.
Cy found great satisfaction and joy getting retirees from GLS together for a Steelworker Breakfast, calling everyone with a personal invitation. In addition to renewing the friendships, he thought it was important, due to the bankruptcy filing of National Steel and ongoing lawsuits related to asbestos exposure, to share available information about benefits due them. GLS retiree breakfasts continue. He visited his friends in the hospital and comforted their families at their funerals.
His renowned memory served his coworkers. Cy was a great advocate and instrumental in identifying places in the steel mill where there was asbestos and testifying where an individual worked in the operation that led to exposure. Those present when he was deposed said about Cy, “the lawyers initially underestimated him. Try as they did to undermine him, Cy was three steps ahead of them. When finished, they knew Cy Adams was an honest and very good witness.” His testimony benefitted several hundred people and their families.
He loved to grow things and often said, “only things I can eat.” Cy was known for his big gardens. He generously shared his produce, especially delicious tomatoes and peaches.
Cy’s joy exceeded his suffering. Humble, yet proud, weak, yet strong, his courageous battle has ended. Having bumped his head on the pearly gates many times, he now wears a crown.
In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to the Jesus Mission, 203 Shelton Dr., St. Joseph, TN or your favorite charity.