Wisconsin's LaVern Wesley Adams dies
June 09, 2010
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LaVern Wesley Adams died Friday, June 4. He was 89.
He was born April 14, 1921 in Waukesha, Wis., to Wesley Chapman Adams and Agnes Morris Adams. He spent his early years on his parent’s farm developing his agricultural skills, but his boyhood avocation was baseball and he developed a lifelong love for the game. “Ace” Adams was a standout player in Legion and Land O’Lakes teams and was described in a Waukesha Freeman article as the “leading fireball pitcher in the Lakes.”
He graduated from Waukesha High School and met his future wife, Martha Pauline Rickert, in 1938; they wed on Aug. 30, 1941. They purchased their own farm on Oakdale Drive in 1945 and lived there until 2007.
Mr. Adams was a successful dairy farmer, raising Holstein cattle and was a pioneer in developing a milking parlor system for milking cows. He was a founding member of the Town of Waukesha Volunteer Fire Department, served on the School Board for Oakdale School and was a member of Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church since 1953.
In 1963 a major fire destroyed his dairy barn which led to his second career as a successful breeder and trainer of Standardbred horses. He purchased his first trotter, Chancy, in 1964 and became a member of the USTA in 1966. Mr. Adams was a small time horseman, buying one yearling a year, but still training many Illinois season's leaders and colt champions.
In 1980 he attended the ISOBA yearling sale with his daughter Susan and a colt came charging out of the ring, dragging his handler behind him. Mr. Adams turned that colt, Worthy Renvaeh, into a world champion, breaking the record for 2-year old pacing geldings going two heats on a mile track. That mark was taken Aug. 23, 1981 at Springfield, with each heat going in 1:58.3.
His favorite part of being in the business was training colts and developing them into racehorses; he did all the work himself from breaking and training to shoeing and driving. He involuntarily retired at age 87 due to the effects of a stroke, but has passed along his love for the sport to Susan and granddaughter Jessica, who are currently involved in Wisconsin and Ohio, respectively.
Mr. Adams is survived by his wife of 69 years, Martha; son, Jeffrey (Judith), and their three sons, Samuel, Will and Daniel; daughter, Susan Schroeder, and her daughter, Jessica; son, Bryan (Mary), his daughter, Beth, and Mary’s children, Ashley, Nick, Amanda and Melissa; sisters-in-law, Bernice Adams, Esther Rickert and Hertha Rickert; and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents and two brothers, Kenneth and Delbert.
Funeral services will be held on Friday, June 11, at Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church, 1205 South East Avenue, Waukesha, Wis. at 11 a.m. with Pastor Peter Schmidt officiating. Interment will follow at Prairie Home Cemetery. Friends and relatives may meet with the family at the church from 10 a.m. until the time of the service.
Memorial contributions may be made to Linden Grove Foundation or the charity of choice.
The family wishes to thank the staff of Linden Court, Mukwonago for their compassionate care given to Mr. Adams from Oct. 2007 until his death.