ADAMS, Mary (Twidwell)

Sunday, April 8, 2012


Mary Jo Adams, 86, died on Easter Sunday, April 8, 2012. Born to Carl Twidwell and Cleopatra Cesar Twidwell on December 27, 1925, she was the second of Cleopatra's four children. Since her parents were both educators in small towns in Oklahoma, Jo moved often during her young years.


At age 12 she was baptized and was piano accompanist for the church. A unique individual, a maverick in her life, Jo obtained her pilot's license when she was only 17, before she got her driver's license. She attended Oklahoma College for Women and then the University of Oklahoma. There she met her true love, Lee A. Adams, Jr., during her senior year. She stayed one more year, working toward a masters in Social Work while he completed a degree in petroleum engineering. She then worked as a child welfare social worker in Hobbs, New Mexico.


While she was there, and Lee was still in Oklahoma they continued a long-distance relationship until November 26, 1949 when they married. They had barely settled back into life in Hobbs when Lee was shipped off with the U.S. Army to Europe for his second tour of duty. She was pregnant with their first daughter, Lynda Lee Adams, at the time. Once Lynda was born, Jo took her seven-month-old baby and flew to Germany to be with Lee. There, as Lee tells it, she fell in love with the European lifestyle and German beer. They returned to Hobbs two years later where her second daughter, Karen "Susie" Adams, was born. Since Lee was a rising star in the oil business, they moved often.


As Jo was proud of saying, they lived in twenty houses in the first twenty years of marriage. In 1956, while living in Midland, Texas, Jo gave birth to her third daughter, Kathy Jo Adams. They finally settled down in Houston for the last forty-five years (although even during those years they traveled to Dallas every week for twelve years for yet another transfer of Lee's).


Always by his side, Jo taught her girls to be independent women. She encouraged recycling long before that was a household word or curbside pick-up a regular occurrence.


She encouraged her girls to travel the world, whether it was as teenagers to Central America with Amigos de las Americas or as college students with trips to Europe. She was very active with Camp Fire Girls as the leader of her daughters' clubs for many many years. She gave up social work to raise her daughters, but was always there for any of their friends who needed a compassionate ear.


In 1960, she began to teach piano lessons to children in the neighborhood and continued to teach for the next fifty years. During her final years of teaching she was at the Duchesne Academy. As an avid dancer, she encouraged Lee to take dancing lessons with her and they learned to dance well enough to draw a crowd of admiring onlookers. Also a bridge player, she and Lee played with friends over the years. And to top it off, she loved to play tennis, golf, and bowling, playing on teams for as long as she could. She recycled all sorts of items, turning pop-off cat food lids into wind chimes in her trees and throwing grapefruit seeds out in the yard, only to produce two large, healthy grapefruit trees that have borne fruit for years. Loving such little things as a breeze in the trees or a drive to see wildflowers and migrating birds, she brought a freshness and optimism with her wherever she traveled.


She died with her dear Lee at her side. The family would like to thank all of the caregivers who have helped care for her these last many years, including Dr. Isabel Martinez and, finally, Eloisa Lazo, who tenderly brushed Jo's hair, held her hand and took her on long wheelchair rides the last months of her life.


Jo leaves behind her beloved husband, Lee A. Adams, Jr., and her three daughters, Lynda Adams-Chau (of Vancouver, Washington), Susie Adams (Frost) (of Livingston, Texas) and Kathy Bley (of Birmingham, Alabama), and their husbands, Ken Chau, James Frost and Carl Bley. She also leaves behind seven grandchildren, David Bley, 26, Brian Chau, 25, Karen (Frost) Allessandri, 24, Amy (Bley) Hood, 23, Marilyn Chau, 22, Jimmy Frost, 20, and John Chau, 20. She also leaves her brother Carl Twidwell, Jr. of Oklahoma City, OK and her sister, Kay Payne of Chicago, Illinois.


Visitation will begin on Thursday, April 12, 2012, from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Memorial Oaks Funeral Home, 13001 Katy Freeway, Houston, Texas 77079. A Funeral Service will take place on Thursday, April 12, 2012, at 3:00 p.m., at Memorial Oaks Funeral Home Chapel. Interment will follow at Memorial Oaks Cemetery.