December 16, 1926 - May 24, 2010
William Adams, 83, of Litchfield, Illinois, retired President of Milnot Company, died at 2:55 p.m. Monday, May 24, 2010, at St. Francis Hospital in Litchfield. He was born on December 16, 1926, the son of John W. “Jack” Adams and Julia Straub Adams, then of Hibbing, Minn., but later of Carlinville, Illinois.
Mr. Adams began working for Litchfield Creamery Co. and Milnot Company at age 29 in 1955 as a “field man” assigned to buy milk from local dairy farmers. He also worked briefly in the plant laboratory before a promotion into management. While the companies remained locally owned, he advanced to the position of Executive Vice-President. Mr. Adams was named President of Milnot Company when the business was sold to Canteen Corporation, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Trans World Corporation, in 1974. He remained as President until his retirement in January, 1988.
While at Milnot Company, Mr. Adams successfully directed a legal challenge to the Federal Filled Milk Act, a law passed by Congress in the 1920s which had restricted the interstate sale or shipment of dairy products like Milnot in which butterfat is replaced by vegetable oil. As a result Milnot, which had formerly been restricted to sale in the 4 states of manufacture, i.e., Illinois, Missouri, Oklahoma and Indiana, became available for sale nationwide. Mr. Adams later engineered the company’s purchase and acquisition of the “Chilli Man Chili” recipe and brand. He expanded the company’s Litchfield plant and warehouse to accommodate all manufacturing and warehousing operations for that product line. He also oversaw the construction and addition of a milk tanker truck receiving facility to the Litchfield plant which came to be known to plant employees as “Adams Alley.”
Following his retirement from the dairy business, Mr. Adams became a stockholder and director of First National Bank of Litchfield. He also served several years as a volunteer consultant for the U. S. Department of Commerce, Small Business Administration, program known as the Service Corps of Retired Executives, or S.C.O.R.E. In that role Mr. Adams and others assisted small business owners seeking counsel and advice.
Mr. Adams graduated from Carlinville High School in 1944, enlisted in the U.S. Navy at age 17, and served in the South Pacific Theater of World War II as a gunner’s mate on a submarine chaser. After the war, Adams attended the University of Illinois and graduated in 1950 with a B.S. in Dairy Technology in the Division of Special Services for War Veterans. While at Illinois he was a member of Alpha Gamma Rho, a social-professional fraternity for men majoring in agriculture. He served as house president his junior year.
Mr. Adams was a member of Union Avenue Christian Church in Litchfield for more than 50 years. He served in many capacities there as deacon, church treasurer and as board chairman. He was a member of American Legion Post #436. He was also a long-time member of Litchfield Country Club and enjoyed travel with family and friends, as well as spending winter months at St. Simons Island, GA.
Mr. Adams married June Landes Adams, also then of Carlinville, on Feb. 3, 1950, and she survives.
Also surviving are a son, Attorney Jay Adams, and his wife, Laura, of Litchfield, and four grandchildren: Doug Adams and his wife, Meredith, of Chicago; Jill Adams of Chicago; Lindsay Adams of Champaign, Ill., and Mallory Adams of Litchfield. Mr. Adams is also survived by three great grandchildren: Roxanne, Charlotte, and Gwendolyn Adams, all of Chicago. Mr. Adams also had a daughter, Nancy J. Adams, who pre-deceased him on Jan. 12, 1983.
Mr. Adams is also survived by his niece, Margaret I. Adams, of Pasadena, Cal., and nephews, William M. Adams, of Houston, Tex., and John Adams and Carl Adams of Minneapolis, Minn., all children of Mr. Adams’s pre-deceased brother, Dr. Robert M. Adams, and his wife, Carol, of White Bear Lake, Minn. Mr. Adams also is survived by his sisters-in-law, Edna F. Redfern of Litchfield, and M. Magdalene Landes of Palmyra, Ill., and several other nieces and nephews: R. Kent Redfern of Litchfield, Sandra Cagle of Olympia, Wash., Kendra J. Jones of Colfax, Ill., Martin L. Landes of Palmyra, Ill., and Ann Landes Clark of Modesto, Ill.
Plummer Funeral Home in Litchfield is in charge of arrangements. Visitation at the funeral home will be from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Thurs., May 27, 2010, and funeral services will be conducted on Fri., May 28, 2010, at 11:00 a.m. at Union Avenue Christian Church in Litchfield, with Rev. Jay Johnson officiating. Burial will be in Elmwood Cemetery in Litchfield.
The family suggests memorials to Union Avenue Christian Church or St. Francis Hospital, both in Litchfield.
Source: Plummer Funeral Home
Provided by: Ann Stoddard