Jack W. Adams, 59, of Saline, Michigan, formerly of Benton, Wisconsin, died Saturday March 9th, 2019, at Arbor Hospice in Saline. A Service of Christian Burial will be held at 10am on Monday, March 18th, 2019, at the United Methodist Church in Benton with Pastor Bruce Bennett officiating. Burial will be in the church cemetery. Friends may call from 3-5pm Sunday, March 17th at Casey Funeral Home & Cremation Services in Benton. Jack is survived by his wife, Ann (Kieler) Adams, and son, James, both of Saline, Michigan, and his mother-in-law, Rita Kieler, of Platteville.
Jack was born on November 15, 1959, in Dubuque, Iowa, the son of Jack S. and Audrey H. (Watson) Adams. He married Ann M. Kieler on February 3, 1990, at Holy Ghost Church in Dickeyville. The couple resided in Belleville, Michigan, until after the birth of their son, James W. Adams, when they moved to Saline, Michigan.
Jack spent his childhood in Benton, WI playing outdoors with friends and cousins. In high school, Jack was active in sports, music, and student government. He excelled academically, was on the national honor roll, and upon graduation in 1978 earned numerous scholarships.
Jack worked for Ford Motor Company for 31 years, starting in the Ford College Graduate Program in 1986 after completing his master’s degree at the University of Wisconsin’s Engine Research Center. Jack’s master’s thesis advisor was the world-renowned Professor Phil Meyers, past president of the Society of Automotive Engineers.
At Ford, Jack worked primarily on engine research and advanced powertrains, working on a variety of projects. Jack worked on the famous Ford 4.9l (300 cubic inch) straight 6 engine used in Ford pickup trucks for many years. He also worked on a second concept engine that met all of its targets but did not ultimately go to production.
Jack had an obsession with two stroke engines, collecting several motorcycles that used them as well as a rare and unique vintage Goliath car made by a German company that went out of business in 1961. His interest also led to a project at Ford that took him to Perth, Australia, to work with a specialty fuel injection company called Orbital that developed an air-assisted injector technology especially well-suited for 2-stroke engines.
His numerous motorcycle trips were a testament to his love of adventure. Every year he set out, camping along the way, for a week or more seeing where the road would take him. His destinations included Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Smokey Mountain National Park, Tail of the Dragon, much of the Southwest US, New Zealand, and many more.
This adventurous spirit is what first attracted Ann to Jack. One of their early dates was skydiving, a first for both of them. During their many years of marriage, they shared a love of being out in the world. Some of their adventures included hiking the Grand Canyon, visiting rural Scotland, Ireland, and the Isle of Man, and rafting both the lower Youghiogheny River and the Upper and Lower Gauley Rivers. For the turning of the new millennium, they toured New Zealand on a motorcycle before taking a boat over the International Date Line to celebrate the new year twice! Interspersed between these grand adventures were frequent RV and camping trips through Michigan, Canada, and out east.
On February 7, 2006, Jack fell in love all over again, this time with his new born son, James Watson. Jack could often be found holding James and singing “Silver Bells”, with James cooing back at him. Weekend mornings, they would sit side-by-side on the couch for a little TV and breakfast. Jack wanted to introduce James to everything he found interesting in the world. He took his son to see helicopters and race cars, on camping trips, and much more. When James was five, they built a “visible engine” together.
Being an ardent Bears fan all his life, his wife, Ann, surprised him with season tickets as a Christmas present. He made as many games as possible over the years, often accompanied by Ann. When he was unable to attend, he never missed a game on TV. As a UW-Madison alum, he was forever a Badgers fan as well.
As his mother-in-law, Rita Kieler, would frequently say, Jack was “a good provider”. Throughout his adult life, Jack always saw to the care of his family. This ranged from building Ann a coop for her chickens, to taking Audrey on trips that were of interest to her. Jack was the apple of Audrey’s eye and he always made sure she was taken care of.
Jack will be greatly missed by all who knew him. His sharp mind and adventurous spirit will never be replaced.
Memorials may be given in Jack's name to:
ALS of Michigan, Inc.
24359 Northwestern Highway, Suite 100
Southfield, MI 48075