Obituary of Paul Adams (1942-2022) – Fairfax, VT

Paul Adams, an accomplished welder, machinist, entrepreneur, creator, businessman and visionary, died peacefully at his home on April 8 after living with Parkinson’s disease for several years. Paul was born on December 1, 1942 in Burlington, VT to Harriet Smith Adams and Harry Adams. He was the second of two sons by his brother George. He is survived by his daughter Ashley Adams, her husband Pike Porter and their son Atticus Adams-Porter of Burlington, VT, his former wife and best friend Bonita Adams and her husband Bernard Ste. Marie from Jeffersonville, as well as cousins, dear friends and his beloved dog Petey. Paul was grateful to have an exceptional team of caregivers who not only helped him live in comfort and peace but loved him the way he did them.
Paul graduated from Burlington High School and then served in the US Navy for three years as a helicopter structural engineer aboard the USS Hornet off the coast of Vietnam. During his service he received extensive welding and mechanical training, which he later used in his company. After his discharge from the Navy, Paul completed additional welding certifications and training at Lincoln Electric in Cleveland, OH. Shortly after returning to VT, he met his future wife, Bonita Adams, whom he married in 1969.
In 1969, Paul and Bonnie bought a welder and a used truck and formed what would later become PG Adams, Inc. at the Airport Parkway in South Burlington to provide portable welding services in and around Chittenden County. They ended up supplying structural steel, stairs, railings, and trim metals throughout Vermont, as well as projects in ME, NH, MA, and NY. Today, the company’s sustainable work can be seen in many institutions, public spaces and business premises. Paul’s meticulous attention to detail and ability to bring innovative designs to life has been appreciated by architects and contractors alike. His staff knew Paul as a kind, patient, and generous teacher. Paul found great joy in teaching and mentoring employees and watching them grow and thrive.
After her divorce, Bonnie ran her own business for many years, later rejoining Paul and Ashley to help with the next phase of business for PG Adams, manufacturing truck frames for Class 8 vehicles. They formed an ideal team with Paul providing the vision and technical knowledge, and Ashley and Bonnie leading the marketing and other key considerations. Today, PG Adams is a trusted supplier of truck frames across the country and beyond.
Over the years, Paul has endeavored to take on unusual projects for clients when time permits. A favorite project was a lovely little custom-designed steel tugboat, the Volendam, which can still be seen cruising Lake Champlain today. He also managed to design and build three of his unique homes during his lifetime, which brought him great joy.
Paul was never without a project of his own (several to be precise). His last was a Model A, which he built from scratch. He was always armed with a tape measure and a pencil, as well as papers with various notes and sketches. He always seemed full of ideas and was known to call her in the evenings after a long day working with his daughter to discuss further ideas. Paul was not intimidated by setbacks. He seemed to relish challenges and brought to bear his intelligence, skill, creativity and endless patience.
When not working on one of his myriad projects, Paul enjoyed scuba diving in the Keys, sailing, kayaking, running, hiking and antiquing. Paul enjoyed paddling along La Platte with his daughter, grandson, son-in-law, and dog (always a dog) and quietly observing painted turtles, blue herons, ducks, and a variety of other creatures. Paul was happy to be a grandfather and appreciated the time he spent with his grandson. He was an avid reader of history and inventions, politics, world affairs and Hemmings Motor News.
Paul was a true egalitarian and bemoaned our society’s moral failure to care for the most vulnerable among us. He had a reverence for animals and a passion for protecting them, and once carefully disassembled his stovepipe to extract a soot-covered screech owl; another time he asked his daughter for help to help an injured cardinal. He and his daughter aspired to become wildlife rehabilitators together, but didn’t make it until Parkinson changed paths. Despite this, Paul was always eager to help an animal or person in need.
Many people, including his daughter, liked Paul’s dry sense of humor. He appreciated political satire, Monty Python, David Sedaris, Stephen Colbert, Kids in the Hall, Saturday Night Live, and the wit and wisdom of many others. While reading the paper every morning, he never skipped the comics, and while enjoying the New Yorker for its articles, he first wandered to the cartoons. His favorite music was rock ‘n’ roll of the 50’s and 60’s. Since this music was not allowed in his home as a teenager, he often went to the UVM student center to enjoy it. Paul was grateful to see two of his favorite rebels and contemporaries, Bob Dylan and Neil Young, in concert while he was still physically able.
Paul was adventurous and known to take risks. He was quite comfortable moving at any height over an I-beam when erecting structural steel. He tried skydiving a few times and found it exciting. In his youth, Paul enjoyed ski jumping and ice boating. He enjoyed fast cars, fast jeeps, and fast boats, all of which he had modified at some point to achieve maximum speed.
For many years Paul could be seen near his home in Shelburne after work walking his dog and picking up rubbish from the roadside. In his reserved way, Paul made the world a better place. His family felt loved and valued by him, and he was valued by them equally. Paul will be greatly missed. This kind, gentle man, father, grandfather, dear friend left a huge hole in our hearts.
Visiting hours will be Tuesday, April 26 from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the AW Rich Funeral Home at 57 Main St. Essex Junction. Masks are compulsory. A celebration of Paul’s life will be held at a later date to be determined and posted on AW Rich’s website:
In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to the Michael J. Fox Foundation or your local humanitarian society. Rural Humane Societies will especially appreciate your donation if you are able to.

Published by AW Rich Funeral Home – Essex Junction on April 15, 2022.

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