GREENVILLE - Charles Adams of Greenville is grateful to the life he has lived and is proud to have served his country. He is also proud of the fact that he had the opportunity to participate, for the first time, in the laying of the wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Washington, D.C.
Adams, an aide to Grand Commander Dennis Hughes of the York Rite Masonry in Sidney, took part in the ceremony held on Easter, with Hughes, Hughes’ 12-year-old grandson and Jerry Pugh, who will be the grand commander two years from now. The soldier, who led the Masons to the tomb, did the actual laying on of the wreath.
“We marched in and walked around but didn’t go down the steps,” said 91-year-old Adams, who indicated he had with him a walker and a cane. “They held a wreath and gave it to the sergeant who put it on.”
He said the Masonry goes to Washington, D.C. every Easter and has commandery in the National Masonic Memorial in Arlington.
“Every three years, we have Easter sunrise service there,” Adams said. “I’ve been there eight years in a row, but it’s the first time I was in the wreath ceremony. We have eight or 10 grand commanderies do this. Four can go at a time. I’m one of the few who get to do that.”
The weather cooperated, according to Adams, who was accompanied on the trip by his daughter, Susan Ellis.
“There were probably 300 to 400 people there watching,” he said.
Adams was in World War II in the Pacific, having served two years and three days.
“I came home from Korea in 1945 to Kimpo Air Force Base,” he said. “I was in Aviation Engineer Battalion 1878 with the U.S. Army.”
The commander of the commandery in Sidney in 1973, Adams has been a member of the American Legion in St. Marys for 68 years and is a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Greenville and the Darke County Disabled American Veterans.
He became a widower two years ago on the death of his wife, Lois. He has daughter Susan; two grandchildren, Mary Beth Bozarth and Tim Ellis; and three great-grandsons.He moved to Greenville 19 years ago and underwent six by passes nine years ago.
“I was the first one to have six [bypasses] at the Lutheran Hospital in Indiana,” he said.
Adams worked at Goodyear Tire and Rubber in St. Marys until his retirement in 1981.
Originally from Celina, Adams said he laid up a high level brick house with eight fireplaces; helped build two wooden houses; and put in plumbing for 40 bathrooms around Mendon, Ohio, in the 1950s. He said he also re-roofed his father-in-law’s barn at the age of 65 with his two nephews.Adams, who has two sisters Kathryn Johns of St. Marys and Marj Elson Adams of Sedona, Ariz. enjoyed working with his hands and said his current project is a hand-carved scene out of Sedona.
“It has 60 things on it and I’m going to give them to the past 25 grand commanders of the Grand Commandery at the next commandery,” he said. “I started hand-carving at the age of 89. My dad was a woodworker.”
He is also writing a book on his life and already has 100 pages finished.
A 1940 graduate of Lima High School, Adams holds three York Rite body jewels and has been to 47 grand commanderies.