I've received very sad news. Okie Adams Jr. passed away early this morning. I am at a loss for words. A wonderful person who loved and promoted old time banjo. Someone whose heart was known to none. He lived to bring music and happiness to the world. Like his father before him, he was an honest to God legend. His father (Okie Sr.) was famous for his block pot banjos, and Okie Jr. was famous for the joy he brought to the world playing the banjo. And this he did as well or better than anyone alive. Lately, he won first place in three bluegrass/oldtime music festivals playing 99 dollar banjos called Banjo-Tams, banjos that he started playing after he met me at the 2005 Anaheim NAAM. I didn't know if it was his sympathy for me or his love for crazy ideas that led him to paly my instruments, but we became fast friends. We'd spend hours on the phone talking about banjo history, banjo music, and banjo construction. We had planned for him to come to Galax this year. He was to bring a rock in memory of his father, and was going to play one of his late father's banjos on stage. I guess it was not to be. I guess the Lord needed another banjo player. I only thank him for the honor and privilege of meeting and knowing Okie Jr. I spoke to his wife Robin and I understand that she is planning a funeral service in Southern California. I will always remember him fondly and know that there will be a day when we will meet again, Frank Abrams
For those who know the story, his father only passed away last November 16th 2007 in one of those California wildfires. During these fires, Okie Jr. went around to the various areas where survivors were gathered entertaining them with his inimitable style of banjo and his homemade wooden Jewsharp. For this and many other things, he made newsprint. He was also a friend and guest of the Carter Family and to many others who will undoubtedly miss him.
Frank, I also heard about this sad news, just this afternoon. Jim and Okie were both generous, warm hearted and very unafraid to follow the less beaten path. Loosing both of them in such a short time is very difficult indeed...
Jim's wife will need our support during this very difficult time. I'm in process of trying to reach the minister who did Okie's ceremony and was the family mentor, I hope I can somehow get him in contact with Jim's familiy.
Frank very sorry for your loss,My prayers are with you and Okie's family.I did not know him but he sound s like he was a good man.The world all loses when we lose a good man,not to many around any more....
Frank, I was able to reach the minister who did Okie's ceremony last year for Jim and Robin. He works at a relatively secluded summer camp in the local mountains so we made a visit. He hadn't heard about Jim and will be contacting Robin if he hasn't already.
If you talk with Robin, can you let her know Curtis is trying to reach her if he hasn't already done so?
Yea, nor Topanga, nor Goleta, nor Huck Finn... Jim, Robin and Okie were facets at most of the local big events, and Jim and Robin were almost always at the smaller SWBA functions... We have a rather large bluegrass/traditional family here, news is just getting around; I hope Robin knows how many folks are rooting for her, she's got a huge extended family.
He was a character, and a wild clawhammerer, and a funny and warm human being. He gave me a CD of an old Doc Watson concert, last January at the NAMM, mostly because Doc was playing a banjo that Okie Sr. had built, and mentioned him and thanked him. He always paid a visit to the Saga booth, playing the few openbacks there, the Ome booth, much to the delight of Tanya and Chuck with whom he went along real well, and he sure let the world know that he could play clawhammer banjo, and loudly so . He'll be missed.
"Some people say that I''m superficial, but that''s just on the surface."
Here are the plans we have received so far for the funeral for Jim Adams:
Date: Wednesday, 23 July at 1 PM
Place: Bellvue Memorial Park, 1240 W. G Street, Ontario, California (Junction of G and Mountain)
Following the service, a reception to celebrate his life will be held in Claremont (time and place yet to be announced).
Jim touched lots and lots of people with his life and music. He and his wife, Robin, have been a fixture at just about every Southwest Bluegrass Association function as well as many festivals and contests. Jim's excitement about banjos and playing banjo music and his generous friendly nature are well known and will be sorely missed.
Our heartfelt thoughts and prayers go to Robin and everyone among us who are feeling this loss.
Greetings! I wanted to post a reply to this thread to thank all of you for the kind words and the warm friendship expressed here. My name is Robert Rader, and Jim was married to my sister Robin. I just got off the phone with her and she directed me to this website. It's obvious that some of you knew him quite well, and so know that he would not want any one to grieve but to celebrate his life. He had a heart as big as the western sky and a sense of humor that matched or exceeded his generosity. Bluegrass has been the love of his life for many years (second only to Robin), and I know that he'll be at the upcoming festival watching over his friends and fellow musicians side by side with his dad.
On behalf of the Rader clan, thanks again for the kind and warm thoughts expressed here.