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 Keldon Gaylord “Kelly” Adams

Keldon Gaylord “Kelly” Adams

Hoquiam, Grays Harbor County, Washington, USA
Death 28 Mar 2005 (aged 92)
Medford, Jackson County, Oregon, USA
Burial Gold Hill, Jackson County, Oregon, USA
Plot section B
Memorial ID 41194809 · View Source
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ADAMS, Keldon G. "Kelly"

Born in Hoquiam, Washington in 1912, he was the son and grandson of the town's bankers. He went to Oregon State University for two years studying aviation engineering. In 1932 he bought a broken-down boat and engine, rebuilt them both, and chugged up to Alaska to seek his fortune mining gold. He and friends built log cabins and lived in the wilderness of Southeastern Alaska prospecting for and mining gold throughout the Depression. Few people embraced the rugged adventures of the wilderness with so much optimism and courage as did Kelly.

He became a licensed inspector for the F.A.A. with A&E and A&P ratings. He repaired, rebuilt, maintained, inspected and flew single and twin engine planes for the next 45 years, mostly in Ketchikan, Alaska and Medford, Oregon. Scattered throughout his aviation career were breaks for more mining and prospecting forays.

Kelly and a partner discovered uranium at Bokan Mountain on Prince of Wales Island, Alaska in 1955. One of the richest uranium deposits in the world, it was a highly successful mine in its category. He mined iron, recovered mercury from old mines, and placer mined for nuggets in the Klondike for about 10 years. He loved to prospect and travelled throughout the U.S., Canada, Latin America and New Zealand to carry out his passion, almost always with his family in tow. He found, among other things, amethysts, garnets, copper, silver, platinum, and gallium, but mostly gold. Kelly never visited any spot in the world without picking up a rock and examining it. Prospecting was in his blood.

He was accompanied throughout his adventures by his loving wife of 54 years, Judith Chilton Adams. Kelly was the father of four daughters: Sandra, Judi, Martha (Tate), and Grace; [and one son Steven Keldon Adams who died a few days after birth], plus seven granddaughters and three grandsons, all of whom survive him.

Gregarious and generous, Kelly enjoyed people, and had many friends. He was president of the Alaska Miners Association for a number of years, was a member of the Yukon Order of Pioneers and belonged to the Elks Club.

He was a bush pilot and an inventor who greatly improved the safety of seaplanes in Southeastern Alaska. He had a wonderful sense of humor and always lived life with optimism. Those who knew him will miss the smile on his face, and the twinkle in his eye, and the many stories of his adventures, retold in picturesque detail, he so loved to share with friends and family.

Source: The Daily World, Monday May 2, 2005
Aberdeen WA

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  • Maintained by: Shannon Watts Michael
  • Originally Created by: Kitty Whitlock
  • Added: 26 Aug 2009
  • Find A Grave Memorial 41194809
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Keldon Gaylord “Kelly” Adams (8 Jul 1912–28 Mar 2005), Find A Grave Memorial no. 41194809, citing Rock Point Pioneer Cemetery, Gold Hill, Jackson County, Oregon, USA ; Maintained by Shannon Watts Michael (contributor 48166414) .