Adams became man synonymous with North Hills, Civitans

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 22, 2013

SALISBURY — The Rev. Bill Adams, a leader behind North Hills Christian School during the past 40 years and arguably “Mr. Civitan” for the Salisbury club, was remembered by many this week as one of the finest individuals they had ever met.
“He had a heart for serving other people and lived his faith,” said Matt Mitchell, former head of North Hills Christian School. “It wasn’t just belief, it was action.”
Adams, 74, died Saturday after an illness of several months. His visitation will be from 6-8 p.m. today, followed by a “service of celebration” at 11 a.m. Saturday.
Both the visitation and celebration service will be at Summersett Funeral Home, 1315 W. Innes St.
Civitan after Civitan rose to speak about Adams Thursday during the Salisbury club’s weekly meeting, remembering things he had done for individuals and the community as a whole.
The club voted Thursday to donate funds to the Civitan International Foundation so that Adams could be designated a fellow. Civitans will serve as his pallbearers Saturday.
“He was the definition of a fine, Christian man — a guy who seemed like a rock,” club member Marny Hendrick said.
Because of his health, Adams hadn’t been attending recent Civitan meetings. But he was able to see many of his Civitan friends for a final time in early October at the club’s annual golf tournament.
His two sons, William K. Adams Jr. of Bradenburg, Ky., and David S. Adams of Kernersville, were able to golf in the tournament and brought their father with them.
Besides his strong ties to North Hills Christian School and Salisbury Civitans, Adams served as a volunteer chaplain at Novant Health Rowan Medical Center and was a former board chairman of the local American Red Cross chapter.
Several years ago, Mitchell played a role in bringing Adams back to the North Hills Christian School board, of which he was a member at his death.
Mitchell, who now heads Dominion Christian School in Fairfax, Va., considered Adams a close friend and mentor.
“Without a doubt, he is one of the finest individuals I ever met,” Mitchell said.
Angie Richard, advancement director for the school, said it delighted Adams to see North Hills alumni enrolling their own children, and he often spoke of “investment.”
“I have been blessed to have witnessed the investment that individuals have made to sustain North Hills Christian School over the years,” Adams said earlier in 2013.
“… I appreciate the parents and grandparents who have made an investment in the lives of children to provide Christian education, and I get excited to see so many of our former students reinvest as they enroll their children in the school.”
Adams hoped that by God’s grace, “the school and its ministry will continue to pay great dividends for God’s glory.”
Richard said Adams was a great asset on the board because he offered “Godly wisdom and a unique perspective because of his in-depth knowledge of the school’s history.”
North Hills made an investment in classroom space for its first class of kindergarten students in 1967.
The private school grew to include pre-school for 3-year-olds through the eighth grade. By 1982, North Hills graduated its first high school class.
Doris Plummer, a former assistant principal and now lead teacher for the high school, recalled when the church board at North Hills Presbyterian and the school board were one in the same and how members, including Adams, worked closely together.
As a minister, Adams was a shepherd, caring for every individual in his congregation, Plummer said.
As a teacher, Adams could break down Scripture so that he wasn’t giving you his opinion but preaching the truth, Plummer added.
Adams often led students and families with no church connection to the church’s teachings.
Richard said Adams had an important role in building on the vision of the school and a passion for its mission to “equip hearts and minds of students for Christ.”
This October marked the 40th anniversary of Adams’ first sermon in Salisbury as pastor of North Hills Presbyterian Church, which no longer exists.
A Pennsylvania native, Adams earned a bachelor’s degree from Cairn University (the former Philadelphia College of Bible) in 1960 and his master’s in theology from Dallas Theological Seminary in Dallas, Texas, in 1964.
Adams was attending the seminary in Dallas when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated there 50 years ago today.
He was ordained as a Presbyterian minister and served as an assistant minister at Covenant First Presbyterian Church in Cincinnati, then pastor at First United Presbyterian in Brilliant, Ohio, and at Wilson United Presbyterian in Clarion, Pa.
Adams came to North Hills Presbyterian Church in 1974 and served as its pastor until his retirement in 1998.
In retirement, he served as an interim pastor besides devoting himself to volunteer work and the Civitans.
Since joining the Salisbury Civitan Club in 1975, Adams had served in about every capacity, including board chairman and president.
Most notably, however, he was longtime secretary on both the club and district levels, winning the “Secretary of the Year” district distinction many years in a row.
Adams received one of Civitans’ most cherished awards — the Honor Key — from both the Salisbury club and N.C. District West.
“But there was so much more to the guy than Civitan,” Hendrick said.
Besides his two sons, Adams is survived by daughter Deborah Adams Thompson of Salisbury and his wife of 51 years, Caroline.

Contact Mark Wineka at 704-797-4263.