Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Mary Lou Adams, 64, teacher, traveler


Fought her final illness with grace

By Rebecca Goodman
The Cincinnati Enquirer

COLUMBIA TUSCULUM - Mary Louise Adams was named a delegate to the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia in 2000, but was unable to attend because she had recently been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer.

"She was the poster girl for the breakthrough drug Gleevec at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston in the course of her two-year period of remission," her husband, Edmund J. Adams, said.

"Mary Lou was a great role model for cancer patients. She maintained the most wonderful attitude throughout her ordeal. She fought toe-to-toe with that insidious disease and she never once complained."

Mrs. Adams died Monday at Hospice of Cincinnati in Blue Ash.The Columbia Tusculum resident was 64.

A native Cincinnatian, she was the daughter of the late Howard and Lorraine Riegler. She was the granddaughter of C.F. and Marie Ellerhorst, members of the family that owned the American Copper and Brass Works founded on East Front Street in Cincinnati in the 1880s.

Mrs. Adams had deep roots in American history. One of her father's ancestors was a Revolutionary War sergeant and her mother was directly descended from two of the families - the Starbucks and the Coffins - that settled Nantucket Island in the 17th century.

Mrs. Adams graduated from Ursuline Academy in 1957 and from St. Mary's College in Notre Dame, Ind., in 1961.

She taught at elementary schools in St. Petersburg, Fla. and South Bend, Ind., before retiring to raise a family.

During the 1990s, she was a partner with Nancy Huesman of Mount Adams in an antiques business called Time Will Tell.

Along with her husband, Mrs. Adams was involved in Republican fund-raising affairs. She also funded educations for several boys and girls in Kenya through a nun who was a classmate of her daughter.

"It was so remarkable that she did it and she hardly told anybody," her husband said. "It just says so much about Mary Lou."

Mrs. Adams was a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Catholic Women of Cincinnati, the Cincinnati Tennis Club and the Cincinnati Zoo's Erkenbrecher Society.

After her cancer diagnosis, Mrs. Adams traveled to an estimated 40 countries in North, Central and South America, the Caribbean, Europe and Africa.

In addition to her husband, survivors include: two daughters, Suzanne Moll of Mount Lookout and Jennifer Roe, of Columbus; a son, John Adams of Chicago; and seven grandchildren.

Visitation is 5-7 p.m. Thursday at Gilligan Funeral Home, 2926 Woodburn Ave. in Walnut Hills. Mass of Christian burial is 9:30 a.m. Fridayat St. Rose Church, 2501 Eastern Ave. in the East End. Burial will be at Gate of Heaven Cemetery, Montgomery.

Memorials: The Needy Children's Fund, c/o Sister Therese Pauline, Rucku Girls Secondary School, P.O. Box 1128 , Thika, Kenya, East Africa.

E-mail rgoodman@enquirer.com




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