Charles L. Adams, who sold and delivered the Crisfield Times for nearly seven decades and tended a local cemetery, died of cancer Aug. 15 at the Manokin Center for Rehabilitation and Healthcare in Princess Anne. He was 89.
Charles Lloyd Adams, son of Upshur L. Adams, who delivered and sold the Crisfield Times, and his wife, Alta N. Somers Adams, a homemaker, was born and raised in Crisfield, where he spent his entire life.
He attended Crisfield High School in Somerset County and began his newspaper career selling and delivering the local Crisfield paper when he was 6 years old.
“He followed in his father’s footsteps,” said a great-niece, Nicole Carmean of Princess Anne, “and in all those years, only missed three days of work.”
Mr. Adams delivered papers to customers and stores and also hawked them from a stand at the intersection of Ninth and Main streets in Crisfield until retiring in 2006. In recognition of his many years at the corner, the city designated it the “Charlie Adams Corner,” with a white-lettered red sign, in 1989.
For years, his father, a World War I private who was born in 1890 and died in 1968, tended the veterans’ graves in a section of the Crisfield Cemetery on Somerset Avenue. The veterans’ section was established in 1919 by local American Legion Post 16.
As with the newspaper business, Mr. Adams was 6 years old when he followed in his father’s footsteps to the graveyard, to help him maintain the cemetery and decorate veterans’ graves on Memorial Day with roses and flags.
Mr. Adams, who lived his entire life in a white four-room house a block from the cemetery, had a set routine, riding his “beach cruiser” bicycle to the cemetery to cut grass, pull weeds from around tombstones and clip bushes.
“I’m usually in the cemetery some mornings before it’s even light,” he explained to The Baltimore Sun in a 1993 interview. “If the grass ain’t wet, you can cut. If it gets real warm. I’ll take the afternoon off and come back after supper. That’s the way my dad did it. He learned us a lot.”
“It looks real pretty when we get it all decorated,” said Mr. Adams, who could not serve in the military because of a medical deferment. “Where I couldn’t serve in the war, this is my part,” he told The Sun.
Mr. Adams continued tending the graveyard until abut five years ago when he moved to a nursing home.
He was a former member of Mount Pleasant United Methodist Church, a charter member of the Moose Lodge in Westover, a former commander and historian of American Legion Post 16, and an honorary member of VFW Post 8274.
Funeral services will be held at noon Friday at the Bradshaw Funeral Home, 306 W. Main St., Crisfield, and the funeral procession will pause at “Charlie Adams Corner” on its way to the cemetery he so lovingly cared for, where he will be buried.
In addition to his great-niece, he is survived by two brothers, Jerry Adams of Crisfield and Johnny Adams of Salisbury; two sisters, Mary Adams Kyte of Princess Anne and Annie Adams Bozman of Norfolk, Virginia; and several other nieces and nephews.