Jimmie Adamson of ‘Adamson’s Orchids’ Passes Away at Home in Rockledge at Age 89

By  //  March 16, 2019

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U.S. Air Force Retired chieF master sergeant

BREVARD COUNTY • ROCKLEDGE, FLORIDA – In loving memory of Jimmie Adamson, United States Air Force Retired CMSgt, age 89. Jimmie, affectionally known as “Jimbo,” “Dad,” “Papa,” was called home to be with the Lord on February 19, 2019.

Jimmie passed away peacefully at home with family members present to include; his wife and some of his children as well as, grandchildren by his side in Rockledge, Florida.

He was born on September 28, 1929, in Onego, West Virginia, to the parents of Bruce Adamson and Opal Erma Sites. His dad worked as a coal miner, a lumberer and plumber. His mother was a homemaker and taught Sunday school. His parents moved to Dayton, Virginia, in the early 1940s.

He was the sixth child of eight siblings born into the family. Jimmie spent many a night and summer with his grandparents’, John and Ellen Sites, in their log house in the remote areas of the wilderness “at the mouth of Seneca”, as Jimmie would call it when telling family and friends stories of his fond memories there.

His grandparent’s log house was built by Jacob Sites circa 1839 below the Seneca Rocks ridge. The log house was expanded in the mid-1870s with a frame addition, remaining in the Sites family until it was acquired by the U.S. Forest Service in 1968 as part of Spruce Knob-Seneca Rocks National Recreation Area in Monogahela National Forest.

The house had been used as a storage shed for some time and was in poor condition. It was restored by the Forest Service in the 1980s and became a temporary visitor center in 1992 after the Seneca Rocks visitor center burned.

Through the accomplishments of the Adamson family, especially Jimmie’s sister, Naomi Spencer, who was a tireless supporter of the efforts to save the Sites Homestead, the destruction of the homestead was precluded and it was designated as a national landmark and historical inn.

The Sites Homestead, also known as the Wayside Inn or the Sites Inn, is now part of the Seneca Rocks Discovery Center facility, operated by the Forest Service and is visited by many.

Throughout his life, Jimmie passed along the history of that log house to his family and friends, often visiting there with Adamson descendants, his wife, as well as his children and grandchildren.

In August of 2018, the Forest Service held a recognition ceremony for Naomi Spencer and thankfully, Jimmie was able to attend the ceremony and the unveiling of his sister’s commemorative plaque.

The day after graduating from Dayton High School, at the age of 17, Jimmie left Dayton, Virginia to serve in the United States Air Force, which at that time was titled, the United States Army Air Corp. Soon thereafter, he was deployed to Germany where he met his first wife, Hertha Schiweck. They were married in 1952.

There were three children born to that union; two sons; Ronald Bruce and David Douglas, and a daughter, Rebecca, who passed away at birth. He is preceded in death by his first wife who passed away in 1959. Jimmie married his second wife, Elizabeth “Betty” Anne Mackie, in April of 1960. Shortly thereafter, he was deployed to Vicenza Italy, where a daughter was born to that union, Daphene Cheryl.

Jimmie and Betty shared many wonderful years together. Jimmie served 31 years in the United States Air Force. During his service career, he served two tours in Germany, multiple tours at Chanute Air Force Base in Rantoul, Illinois and the Tet Offensive in Vietnam in 1968.

His final assignment was at Patrick Air Force Base where he retired on January 1, 1978. He earned an Associate of Arts degree while serving in the United States Air Force. However, his bigger attribute was his common-sense approach, his intuition and wisdom. Jimmie worked in the administrative field of the Air Force, primarily serving with the Inspector General’s Office.

He was an incredibly dedicated and honorable serviceman achieving the rank of Chief Master Sergeant, having received many outstanding awards and recognition.

Upon retiring, Jimmie Adamson actively pursued his love of flowers and plants and became a hobbyist orchid grower. His passion for orchids led him to become a commercial orchid grower.

Upon retiring, Jimmie actively pursued his love of flowers and plants and became a hobbyist orchid grower. His passion for orchids led him to becoming a commercial orchid grower.

He and his wife, Betty Anne, proudly named the business, Adamson’s Orchids. Jimmie was an orchid hobbyist for 30 years and operated the orchid business for 20 years. Throughout those years, Jimmie made many friends throughout Florida and immensely enjoyed sharing his love of orchids to anyone and everyone he came into contact with and offered his assistance to them in any way he could.

He received numerous awards for his orchids and the one he was most proud of, that he was entitled to name is, “Chief Adamson,” in honor and pride of his military achievement. Jimmie persevered in the establishment of the Platinum Coast Orchid Society in Brevard County having served as President and Show Chairman multiple times. He was awarded a lifetime membership by that Society.  The Platinum Coast Orchid Society May 2019 Show will be dedicated in Jimmie’s honor.

Jimmie was the most devoted family man one could ever ask for. His love for his family was and I am sure still is, endless. He truly had the biggest heart in the world. He was tenderhearted yet strong; incredibly sensitive and “wore his emotions on his sleeve.”

His care and compassion for his family, people and animals were immense. He had great empathy for people and always wanted to help them if he could. He was a fixer. He loved his dear dog “Barack” tremendously. He loved children and children adored him. He was a warrior. He was a worrier. He was wise. He was WONDERFUL!

He always talked so fondly of West Virginia and was a true Virginia lover. Until the very end of his life, he always spoke about “going up home” when planning to visit family in Dayton, Virginia. He has “gone home” and is with family now that preceded him in death. His memory will remain in our hearts until we can be with him again when we are called to “go up home.”

Jimmie is preceded in death by his parents, Bruce and Opal Adamson, his siblings; Gae, Clyde, Gladys “Toots,” Johnnie, Naomi “Nae,” and Sites. Jimmie is survived by his wife, Betty Anne, of 58 years; his sons Ronald and David and his daughter, Daphene. He will be lovingly remembered as their attentive Papa by his eight grandchildren; Lynsey, Brooke, Joshua, Nathan, Jaclyn “Jackie”, Brittani, Luther Augusta Jimmie better known as “A.J.” and Justan Adam.

He also leaves behind five great-grandchildren; Gavin, Karsyn, Ivan, Sybil and Luther Jimmie, nickname “L.J.” He is survived by his sister, Doris “Sis” who resides in Dayton, Virginia; his niece, Betty Sheriff of Winchester, Virginia; his niece Lois Skala of Manasses, Virginia; nephew Dale Bennett of Somerset, Pennsylvania; nephew Bob Alford also of Dayton, Virginia; nephew Steve Alford of Maidens,Virginia; niece Susie Nicholson of Grottoes, Virginia; and niece Tanka Bowman of Annapolis, Maryland.

Those whose lives were touched by Jimmie were invited to attend services at Brevard Memorial Funeral Home, Cocoa, Florida on Sunday, February 24, 2019. A Full Military Funeral Honor Ceremony followed. 

I’m Free

Don’t grieve for me, for now I’m free I’m following the path God has chosen for me. I took His hand when I heard him call I turned my back and left it all.

I could not stay another day, To laugh, to love, to work or play, Tasks left undone must stay that way I’ve now found peace at the end of day.

If my parting has left a void, Then fill it with remembered joys. A friendship shared, a laugh, a kiss Oh yes, these things, I too will miss. Be not burdened with times of sorrow Look for the sunshine of tomorrow.

My life’s been full, I savored much Good friends, good times, a loved one’s touch. Perhaps my time seems all too brief. Lift up your heart and peace to thee, God wanted me now – He set me free.

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