Jammie W. Adams

Jammie W. AdamsJammie W. Adams passed away April 9, 2019, at his home in Ridgecrest, surrounded by several family members. He was 80 years old and had suffered for a time with the effects of COPD.

At his request, no services will be held.

Jammie was born March 1, 1939, in Bath Springs, Tenn., to Jessie Willard and Leda Mable Adams, both of whom preceded him in death.

He lived his early years in Bath Springs, but in 1948, at the age of 9, following the death of his father and his mother’s marriage to long-time family friend, Ezra Allen Ray, he moved with his family to China Lake, where both his parents were employed at the Naval Ordnance Test Station.

He attended China Lake elementary schools, Murray Middle School, and Sherman E. Burroughs High School, graduating in June 1957. While in high school he was active in sports, with an emphasis on basketball.

Following high school graduation, he worked in construction on the base before enlisting in the United States Navy in 1958. He served two years in the Navy, stationed mostly in Okinawa and Fallon, Nev. Upon his discharge from the Navy in 1960, he worked again in construction before heading to Alaska to work for the Department of Commerce Bureau of Public Roads.

Following several years in Alaska, he returned to China Lake and was employed at the Naval Weapons Center Fire Division as fire chief. He retired with 23 years of service on March 1, 1989. In 1979 he was awarded a commendation as first responder (while off duty) from the commander of the Naval Weapons Center for his heroic efforts in the attempt to rescue Lt. Cmdr. Theodore Faller from the tragic plane crash on Aug. 13, 1979.

In addition to his employment, Jammie was owner or co-owner of several properties in the Ridgecrest area, as well several businesses in the surrounding area.

Jammie was an avid golfer and for many years was a member of the Southern California Golf Association. Following retirement, he could be found most days on the Naval Weapons Center Golf Course. On days he wasn’t golfing, he was no doubt pursuing his other favorite outdoor activity, fishing, in and around the Bishop area. In addition, he was a member of several organizations — two of which were American Legion Post No. 0684, and the Loyal Order of Moose, Lodge 258. He made many lifelong friends at these organizations.

Jammie met Margaret Ann Wonnell in 1976 in Ridgecrest, and they enjoyed 35 years together before her death in 2011. Margaret had four children from a previous marriage, and Jammie accepted and loved those children as his own.

Jammie is survived by his sister, Patty J. Graham of Ridgecrest; brothers, Joel D. Adams of Ridgecrest, Larry Michael (Oleta) Adams of California City and Billy G. (Susan) Ray of Bakersfield; stepchildren, Marilyn (Larry) Fink of San Diego, Earline Upton of Pueblo, Colo., Terry (Ron) Vanscoy of Reno, Nev., and Urless Wonnell, Jr. of Ridgecrest; nieces and nephews Kimberly (Mike) Magby of Ridgecrest, Laura Knight of Carlsbad, Glen Graham of Ridgecrest, Joelene (Greg Paris) Wright of Ridgecrest, Shaun Adams of Rancho Santa Margarita, Scott Adams of California City, Mark Adams of Fresno, Kristen Ray of Grover Beach and Jordan Ray of Bakersfield; four great-nieces; seven great-nephews; seven step-grandchildren; and fourteen step-great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his father, Jessie Willard Adams; stepfather, Ezra A. Ray; mother, Mable A. Ray; nephew Michael Graham; life partner Margaret Wonnell; and great-nephew Charles Knight.

He will be remembered fondly for his loyalty, wit and many acts of kindness. The family would like to thank Hospice and the caregivers for the care he received in his final days, and his many friends who continued to stay in touch throughout his illness. We are especially grateful to our sister, Patty, and his stepson, Junior (Urless) Wonnell. You two were unwavering in your support and care. Thank you!

— Submitted by the family of Jammie Adams

Story First Published: 2019-05-03