"Concerned with the General Welfare of the Deaf of Iowa"

Roy Ellis Adams

August 24, 1946--November 23, 2018

Roy Ellis Adams, 72, of Iowa City, Iowa passed away on November 23, 2018 at Atria at River Trail Senior Living in Bolingbrook, Illinois. Bolingbrook-McCauley Funeral Chapel is handling the arrangements. Private funeral and graveside services will be held at a future date at Memory Gardens Cemetery in Iowa City, Iowa.

Roy Ellis Adams was born on August 24, 1946 in Iowa City, the youngest son of Earl E. and Ruth M. (Peasley) Adams. His paternal ancestors were from Schlaitdorf, Wuerttemberg of present-day southwestern Germany who arrived in Philadelphia in 1754. His maternal ancestors were from Bristol, England who arrived in Newbury, Massachusetts no later than 1642. 

He attended and graduated from high school in 1963 at the Iowa School for the Deaf (ISD) in Council Bluffs, Iowa. He ran track in high school as a sprinter with a focus on 100-yard dashes and 4x100 relay teams. He suffered from progressive hearing loss amid similarly-afflicted family members. While hard-of-hearing, he was proficient in both spoken English and American Sign Language (ASL). He was awarded a full-ride scholarship to Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., the national university for the deaf and hearing impaired, but decided to marry his fiancé instead. Love came first for Roy. 

On October 9, 1965, Roy was united in marriage to Sharon Lee Maylone, the daughter of John J. (“Jack”) and Nellie M. Maylone, in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Roy and Sharon were high school sweethearts and were engaged for three years prior to their wedding. They celebrated their 50th anniversary at their favorite restaurant, Iowa River Power Restaurant, enjoying the autumn views provided by the riverfront in Coralville, Iowa.

After nearly 34 years, Roy retired in 2009 from International Automotive Components (IAC) in Iowa City, formerly known as Lear, United Technologies Automotive, and Sheller-Globe. He was a tool-and-die maker during the overnight shift, responsible for a variety of metal molds that created automobile dashboards, armrests, and steering wheels for several makes by General Motors, Chrysler, and Toyota. Additionally, he learned to become a welder and gained familiarity with electricians’ work amid his other responsibilities. He came to Sheller-Globe from Victor Metals in June 1975 after the layoffs from the 1973-74 recession, where he was a machinist on the assembly lines creating aluminum toothpaste tubes for the adjacent Proctor-Gamble manufacturing plant in Iowa City. Roy was at Victor Metals for nine (9) years, becoming the last employee before the facility closed its doors permanently in 1975. For several months during 1966-67, Roy worked part-time with a close friend, Dale Palmer, as an attendant at Wareco Gas Station in Iowa City at the corner of South Dubuque Street and Benton Street to cover the hospital bills arising from the birth of his first child. Prior to coming to Victor Metals in 1966, he spent nearly 2 years at General Woodworking in Council Bluffs as a craftsman creating wooden furniture pieces such as credenzas and end-tables.

During his time at Sheller-Globe, he was a member of the Teamsters Union Local 238 and participated in company-sponsored bowling leagues at Pla-Mor Lanes in Iowa City. During the past 12 years, he enjoyed the companionship of his two Pomeranian dogs, Rocky and Angel. Frequently, he could be found walking them in his neighborhood along the Ralston Creek pathways. He was a lifelong fan of the University of Iowa football team during the coaching eras of Bob Cummings, Hayden Fry, and Kirk Ferentz. Roy’s longtime friendship with Marvin (“Red”) Jameson at Sheller-Globe resulted in his appreciation of baseball and eventually becoming a fan of the Chicago Cubs. 

Roy enjoyed traveling with his family during several trips to Cheyenne, WY and Colorado Springs, CO. Summer would bring road trips to Spooner, Wisconsin to visit his maternal aunt, Eva (Peasley) Strand, who would have Roy’s favorite strawberry preserves ready for him. In 1979, Roy, a lifetime fan of Elvis Presley, made his obligatory pilgrimage to Graceland in Memphis, TN. An international trip occurred in 1980 with a road trip to Winnipeg, Manitoba and Regina, Saskatchewan, which included domestic stops at Yellowstone National Park; Jackson, WY; the Black Hills of South Dakota; and Mount Rushmore National Memorial. In 1990, Roy and Sharon enjoyed a Caribbean cruise to Caracas, Venezuela and the island of Aruba during their 25th wedding anniversary, which created a lifetime of memories.

Roy’s family road trips arose from his youthful fascination with automobiles. He would wistfully remember his 1957 Mercury and his red 1962 Chevrolet convertible. As he became a father and husband, his interest turned to dune buggies, which resulted in a purchase of a purple metallic dune buggy for weekend joyrides.

Not all vacations were far from home or long. Many weekends were spent with his in-laws, Jack and Nellie, in Muscatine, where Roy would enjoy his mother-in-law’s cooking which occasionally included Nellie’s highly-praised pork roast.

His other pastimes included crooning in the shower in his own imitation of Elvis Presley, causing fright within his two young sons. He enjoyed television shows of the Andy Griffith Show, Matlock, and MacGyver. Also, he enjoyed watching movies from Elvis Presley’s 1960s period. Spring time and the approach of Easter would bring him to watch the televised movie, The Ten Commandments, starring Charlton Heston.

Roy was formerly a member of Our Redeemer Lutheran Church (Missouri Synod) of Iowa City and Word of God Lutheran Church for the Deaf (Missouri Synod) of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He kept a quiet faith amid his physical decline with his head bowed, eyes closed, and hands clasped in prayer during moments when he thought he was alone.

Roy will be deeply missed by his wife of 53 years, Sharon L. Adams, of Iowa City, Iowa; his two sons, Randy L. Adams and wife, Roxanne, of Bolingbrook, Illinois and Mark E. Adams and girlfriend, Beth Villhauer, of Iowa City, Iowa; and his two grandchildren, Evan P. Adams and Deidre K. Adams, both of Bolingbrook, Illinois. His sons will always remember his oft-said phrase, “You be good.”

He was preceded in death by his parents and his two older brothers, Robert (“Bob”) E. Adams and Bill E. Adams.

The family expresses its deepest appreciation to the staff and members of Atria at River Trail Senior Living, Amita Hospital of Bolingbrook, Journey Care Hospice, Homewatch Caregivers of Naperville, and Bolingbrook-McCauley Funeral Chapel. They made a difficult time easier to bear for Roy and his family.

“No more suffering, Dad, no more suffering. Rest in peace. Let your cares and worries fall off your shoulders into the soft ground. No longer be bothered and frustrated by a failing body and declining mind. May you find your peace. Rest in peace, Dad.” 

While we are in sadness now, there will come a day when we will smile at a memory of Roy and laugh amid happy stories of him.

Thanks to Jeanette Kern for the information.


Updated June 30, 2019