Honorable Samuel Adams (Ret.)
Samuel Adams, lawyer, judge, World War II Navy Veteran, mentor to many, friend of all, sailor, tennis player, chef and lover of fine wine, The Three Stooges, and all things political – local, state and national – died of respiratory failure on Sunday, March 4 at age 92. He was a resident of Manchester, Massachusetts for 65 years.
Sam was a committed and concerned husband, father and friend who extended his expertise and humility to public and community service, the Town of Manchester, the many institutions he served, and, always – his love of the law. Sam was a tenacious, life-long learner – always curious and ready to dive into new avenues of intellectual inquiry. These were qualities which he routinely applied to all of his endeavors. Sam enjoyed connecting with and learning from people from all walks of life by hearing their stories, always finding in them the universal stories of humanity. Somewhat of an epicurean, you could always find your way to Sam’s heart via a rare steak and a good glass of wine. He taught those who were “regulars” at his kitchen table to listen well, consider the facts and do what’s right. He will be remembered as a problem solver, punster and a giver of wise counsel to many. He was the frequent and obvious choice to serve as a Justice of the Peace officiating at the weddings of many friends and family. This was always a source of great satisfaction and pride for him.
Born in Chicago on October 19, 1925 to Charles True Adams and Marion Mahin, Sam was a life- long learner and loyal teammate. He graduated from North Shore Country Day in Winnetka Illinois, and Milton Academy in Milton, MA. At Milton, he befriended Bobby Kennedy and Dave Hackett; he and Bobby Kennedy would continue their kinship at Harvard. At Harvard College, he was part of the class of 1950; he lived in Lowell House and was a member of the Spee Club and the Rugby Team. At Harvard, he played fullback on the football team alongside his dear friends Bobby Kennedy, A. David Mazzone, Nick Rodis, Wally Flynn and Paul Lazzaro.
During World War II, Sam flew in a PBM 5A Mariner as a radioman and waist gunner. Among other tales he would like to tell, were those of his days working Shore Patrol in San Diego, CA keeping the mayhem to a minimum.
He met his wife Nina Thayer of Lancaster, MA at her sister Priscilla’s barn dance when she was 16. They wed three years later in 1951. During their 66 year marriage Sam and Nina raised four children and adored their seven grandchildren and great-grandson, spending countless summer days at the Manchester Bath and Laugh Club at Black Beach in Manchester.
Following his graduation from Harvard Law School in 1952, Sam served as the chief of the antitrust division of the Massachusetts Attorney general’s office and served as a Special Assistant Attorney General for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Sam was a Retired Partner of the international law firm of K&L Gates LLP. He had been a longtime partner and served as the Managing Partner of the Boston firm of Warner & Stackpole, prior to its merger with K&L Gates in 1999.
Paula Ravaioli, his Executive Assistant of more than 30 years said, “I looked forward to every day that I worked with Sam and he was very loved here at work. He had a genuine interest in anything anyone was doing and you always knew you had his attention, no matter what was being said.”
He was an admitted member of the Bar of Massachusetts, Supreme Court of the United States, United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts and the National College of the State Judiciary. Sam was a Fellow to the American College of Trial Lawyers, a member of the International Society of Barristers, a Trustee of Endicott College, Director of Old South Meetinghouse Association, and on the Advisory Board of the USS Constitution. Toward his retirement, he was of Counsel at K & L Gates and also an active mediator/arbitrator with Judicial Arbitration and Medication Services, Inc. (JAMS) a private provider of mediation and arbitration services.
In 1973, Sam was appointed by Governor Francis Sargent to the Massachusetts Superior Court, one of the greatest honors of his life. At this time, the Governor’s appointees were chosen not by patronage but merit – something Sam had in abundance. On the bench, Sam was known for walking around the bench rather than sitting throughout the trial.
Judge John Sullivan a close friend and colleague of Sam’s recalled “One of the things I most admired about his “judging style” was his strict control of his courtroom while extending the utmost courtesy to the participants. It came across as very natural but given the adversarial nature of litigation, what he accomplished was truly judicial artistry. The litigants who came before Judge Adams always knew that their argument had been heard and carefully considered.”
Judge Sullivan added, “His clearly written opinions demonstrated his understanding of the controlling issues. The ultimate proof of the respect the appellate courts had for his decisions is his remarkable record of affirmance before those courts, thus, providing all parties with a just, fair and final decision.”
After nine years on the State’s highest trial court, Sam returned to Warner and Stackpole.
Throughout his life, Sam was a member of the School Committee and served as the Town Moderator in Manchester and was a member of the Manchester Yacht Club, Essex County Club in Manchester, and the Somerset Club in Boston.
Those who knew Sam will miss his kind smile, listening ear, and sense of humor. The grandchildren who called him “Buddy” especially recall his playful and even expected tendency to break into song on even the most mundane topics. Their “Buddy” would teach them all the moves and strategies for board and card games over which he presided.
He leaves his wife, Nina and four children, Charles Adams and his wife Ann of West Roxbury, Massachusetts, Sarah Bieber and her husband Bruce of Bethesda, Maryland. Phoebe Adams and her husband Michael Fournier of West Newbury, MA and Julia Richardson and her husband Paul of Almaty, Kazakhstan. He leaves seven admiring and devoted grandchildren and a great grandchild: Daniel Bieber and Abby Bieber of St. Petersburg, Florida, Ben and his wife Gabby and son James of Dunedin, Florida, Sam Adams of Boston, Jack Fournier of Boston, Cameron Richardson and Emily Richardson of Almaty, Kazakhstan. Sam leaves his sister Julia Adams Bartholomay of Vero Beach, Florida, brother John and his long time companion, Carol Hathaway, of North Andover, MA, step brother, Walter E. Robb and his wife Ann of Sherborn, MA and step sister Carol Blount of Lawrenceville, New Jersey. He leaves many old and dear friends and a following of nieces and nephews. He leaves all of them – just as he always did with all he met, with a smile.
The family wishes to thank the following groups who delivered very special care to Sam: Visiting Angels, Lahey Home Health, Putnam Farm and Care Dimensions. A celebration of Sam’s life will be held in Manchester by the Sea, Ma in August, 2018.
In lieu of flowers, the family welcomes donations to be made in his memory to the Sam Adams Service Scholarship, Manchester-Essex Education Fund, in care of Cape Ann Savings Bank, Trust Financial Services, 109 Main Street, Gloucester, MA 01930 or to the Old South Meetinghouse Annual Fund, 310 Washington Street, Boston, 02108 or call, 617-482-6439. Information, directions, condolences at www.campbellfuneral.com