In Memory

Jody Adams

Jody Adams

Jody Adams passed away August 10, 2020 at his home in Lakeland FL surrounded by family.

He is survived by his wife Judy, one son Elijah, four stepchildren, twelve adult grandchildren, a brother Jonyl in Lakeland and a sister Judy Hunter in Ohio.

Jody was born in July 1944 in Hazard, Kentucky. He moved to Lakeland in 1955 for health reasons.

He attended Lakeland area schools and graduated from Lakeland High School in 1963.

He graduated from the University of South Florida with a Degree in Special Education.

He was a commercial fisherman for many years. He and his wife owned a Jewelry store in Key West called “Adams Still in Paradise”. They moved back to Lakeland when one day he woke up, and announced he wanted to go back to Lakeland and teach. He spent 15 years teaching Special Needs Children. He retired from the Polk County School board in 2015.

He was a poet – he belonged to a group of Poets / Artists and performed with some well-known artists.

He was an adventurist. He traveled, and lived in Central America and Asia. He spoke three languages fluently. He loved to fish and would prefer outdoors anytime. He camped and even built his own boat. He loved children and was excellent with them.

A private family service has already been held at The Little Flock Church in Polk City Florida. He was dedicated to his church and his beliefs.   

You can send  condolences to his family at and I will forward your message to them.

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08/17/20 06:48 PM #1    

Michael Durhan

What a unique character!  My only friend ever from Hazard, KY.  He took me "Kentucky Hunting" (squirrel, coon, possum) when I wanted to learn how to hunt and nobody else would take me hunting.  I should have known we were poaching, but the thrill of hunting would have overridden the law at that moment in time anyway.

I roomed with him at USF one year - just for the sheer excitement and adventure of it.  It was a world to which I did not belong, but I fit in enough that it worked for a year.  It was uninhibited and I enjoyed it for the most part; no long-term damage to either of us, although we were totally mismatched.  After college I went into banking; "Jo-Jo" went into shrimping down in Key West.  During that year my nickname for him became "Uncle No Jodas", which is Spanish for "You are my friend", I think.  At least that is what he told me.

One night Jody decided to set off a cherry bomb in the Lakeland Police station lobby - just to stir up the cops a little.  He got caught.  Luckily, I had decided to opt out on that one.  Jo-Jo made the front page of the Ledger....  He was with us when we accidentally turned over Blair Clark's Willy's Jeep station wagon, "Clyde", on Lake Hollingsworth Drive one fine Spring Sunday afternoon.  The darn thing was full of dirty tools; in all the dust created by the rollover, I could not tell Jody's head from a nail keg.  Fortunately, it was the nail keg which broke open.

He stood by me through thick and thin.  I would like to think I did the same for him - but, I probably did not match his loyalty to me.  Money and friends were scarce comodoties for both of us in those days.  What more could anyone ask of a friend?  He was a 100% loyal, uninhibited, crazy guy.  He would offer to loan me $5 when $5 was all he had.  He was full of heart for his fellow man and a friend to the down and out.  They don't come any better than that.  If you did not take the opportunity to get to know Jody Adams, you missed out on something exceptionally good.

"Are not two sparrows sold for a cent?  And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father."  Matthew 10:29

08/18/20 09:33 AM #2    

Pam Parkhurst (Craven)

Thank you, Mike, for the beautiful tribute to Jody. 


08/18/20 11:36 AM #3    

Lucia Strawbridge (Campbell)

Yes, thank you for that wonderful description of a unique personality and friend :)

08/23/20 01:29 PM #4    

JoAnn Anderson (Heet)

sorry to hear of his death. didn't know him personally, but i was in his dad's ( Mr.Adams) science class in 9th grade and he was absolutely amazing , what a  teacher, i learned more from him about science than any of the other science  teachers i had.  i'm now into neil de grasse tyson etc.  and the universe, cosmos etc. 

08/25/20 12:02 PM #5    

Joe Lancaster

What has been said about Jody prior to my comments are true as can be.  I have memories of when I was selected be Sports Editor of the Bagpipe, Jody came up to me and said "since you, Crawford, and Ford are playing football, I WILL cover basketball!"...Yes, sir.  I learned later that that coverage included he could travel with the team; therfore, getting at least two free meals on each travel trip---must have been a great meal on the way to Winter Haven.  Another instance occurred when we were about to graduate, the Goddard twins invited us over to USF for a visit when each of their roommates went home for the weekend and we could each get a free bunk.  Soon after we got there Jody discovered he forgot his wallet............should have known because he got me again when he forgot it on a Bagpipe field trip to Tampa mid-year.  What a guy and he really got me the last year when he called his buddy Joe L. a couple of times a week---always after 11 at night.  He was my friend, especially the past two years when he was so sick.  Craven and I would get with him during our get-togethers to discuss his care, etc.  A unique Dreadnaught and one I will never forget and I will miss that old boy and our conversations into the wee hours.  Jody, enjoy the journey you have begun and God bless your family at this time.

08/26/20 02:12 PM #6    

Lucia Strawbridge (Campbell)

Joe, thank you so much for this! You've made Jody so real and brought back such good memories ~ especially about the Bagpipe time :)  What good friends you and Jack were to him ~ thank you for that.

08/26/20 05:05 PM #7    

Dennis Mason

Thanks for the memories of Jody. Thank you to Bill for the nice obit in the Ledger today. I am glad we did this for our classmate. 
Dennis Mason 



08/26/20 05:15 PM #8    

Bill Russell

Jody and Judy came to most, if not all the Class Reunions. Most all of the monthly Class get-togethers were attended by them also. Jody would make it a point to stop by most if not all of those attending to chat for a bit. I did not know Jody well in High School and now have found out he was quite a character. He will be missed.

08/28/20 04:34 PM #9    

Bill Russell

This is one of the memories mailed to me for Jody

I heard him read his poem "Greenback Dollar" at a KW Poetry Guild meeting once in the '80s. He closed his eyes and presented it with such amazing sincerity that it awakened an old dream of mine to write songs. Thanks, Jody. You were a true inspiration.

Michael Keith 


09/03/20 07:52 PM #10    

Michael Durhan

Thanks for sharing your memories of Jody, Joe.

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