John Edwin Adams

  • Birth 18 Apr 1914 Berkeley, Alameda County, California, USA
  • Death 18 May 1999 Oakland, Alameda County, California, USA
  • Burial Cremated, Ashes given to family or friend, Specifically: cremation was at Cypress Lawn
  • Memorial ID 87556657

Son of George Plimpton ADAMS Sr 1882 - 1961 and Mary Knowles WOODLE 1880 - ?


Name: John E Adams
Birth Date: 18 Apr 1914
Gender: Male
Mother's Maiden Name: Woodley (misspelled, all the other children show Woodle)
Birth County: Alameda

"Dr. John Edwin Adams, a renowned neurosurgeon at the University of California at San Francisco Medical Center and an internationally known expert on cerebral palsy, epilepsy and Parkinson's disease, died May 18 at the UC San Francisco Medical Center. He was 85.

Dr. Adams was among the first to use radioisotopes to help unlock the riddle of brain functions. And he assembled an interdisciplinary team at UC San Francisco to develop a pioneering program in stereotaxic surgery for the treatment of Parkinson's disease, cerebral palsy, epilepsy and intractable pain.

A descendant of the Adams presidential family, Dr. Adams was born on April 18, 1914, in Berkeley, where his father, George Plimpton Adams, was a philosophy professor at the University of California and a founder of the Berkeley Academic Senate.

Dr. Adams attended Milton Academy in Boston and graduated from UC Berkeley in 1935. As an undergraduate, he was a member of the varsity crew team. He continued rowing throughout medical school at Harvard, rowing with the Union Boat Club in the Henley Regatta in England in 1936.

As a member of the Lake Merritt Rowing Club, Dr. Adams rowed again at Henley at the age of 80.

He received a master's degree from Harvard in 1939 and was surgical house officer at the Brigham and Children's Hospital in Boston when his postgraduate training was interrupted by World War II.

A combat Marine paratrooper, Dr. Adams served in the Pacific Theater as a battalion surgeon with the Marine Corps parachute troops on the battlefields of Guadalcanal, Vella La Vella and Bougainville. In 1945, he was aboard the first American ship to enter Tokyo Harbor after V-J Day.

Dr. Adams resumed his postgraduate training at UC San Francisco in 1946. In 1948, he was appointed an instructor in the newly formed Department of Neurological Surgery, rising rapidly to associate professor and then chairman of the department in 1957.

His innovative programs prompted the University of California regents in 1970 to dedicate his laboratory as the Howard C. Naffziger Institute for Neurological Research, named for Professor Adams' mentor, and to name him director and Guggenhime professor of experimental neurological surgery, a position he held until his retirement in 1984.

Dr. Adams married a Berkeley classmate, Sally Patterson, the granddaughter of a pioneer California settler, in 1935.

Dr. Adams continued after retirement to remain an eminent presence on the UC San Francisco neurological surgery faculty.

He was a member of the Harvey Cushing Society and the American College of Surgeons. He was also a board member of the Avery-Fuller- Welch Children's Foundation in San Francisco, which provides grants to handicapped and disabled children.

In 1968, Dr. Adams was elected president of the Neurosurgical Society of America. He was co-founder of the Epilepsy Research Group at UC San Francisco. And in 1986, the Adams endowed the annual John and Sally Adams Neurosurgery Lecture at UC San Francisco, which continues to this day.

Dr. Adams is survived by two daughters, a son, his sister, eight grandchildren; and 12 great-grandchildren.

Dr. Adams' wife of 60 years, Sally, died in 1995.

Contributions in Dr. Adams' memory may be made to the Epilepsy Research Fund, Department of Neurosurgery, Box 0520, UC San Francisco, San Francisco, Calif. 94143-0520."

REF: John Edwin Adams
J.L. Pimsleur
Published 4:00 a.m., Tuesday, May 25, 1999

Family Members

Gravesite Details Ref: Cemetery Records

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  • Maintained by: janicet
  • Originally Created by: Graves
  • Added: 29 Mar 2012
  • Find A Grave Memorial 87556657
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for John Edwin Adams (18 Apr 1914–18 May 1999), Find A Grave Memorial no. 87556657, ; Maintained by janicet (contributor 47361005) Cremated, Ashes given to family or friend, who reports a cremation was at Cypress Lawn.