Take note! Lenbrook resident Alton Adams, Jr. loves music. He loves all the classics and grand marching tunes. And that’s really no surprise. Although he doesn’t play an instrument himself (“I PLAY a great CD!”) music was a fundamental part of his upbringing. His father was quite a famous musician. Alton Adams Sr. was a phenomenal music composer, teacher and ground–breaker. Alton Sr. was not only exceptionally talented, he was the first African American military bandmaster for the United States Navy. His instruments, a piccolo and flute, now sit in the Smithsonian’s new National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington D.C. His son had the privilege of attending the museum’s lavish opening in 2016 where he joined President Obama, Oprah, Quincy Jones and many notable others. “It was quite the event,” Alton recalls.
Alton’s proud heritage was orchestrated in the U.S. Virgin Islands where he was born and raised. Although he went to high school and college in the states, attending Landhaven Preparatory School in Camden, Maine and then graduating from Notre Dame with a civil engineering degree, he returned to his homeland for most of his working career. Alton became the Executive Director of the Virgin Islands Airport and Development Agency which oversaw everything from airports to submarine bases. Eventually, he got the entrepreneurial itch and started his own civil engineering firm. He managed Adams Engineering for the next 46 years. He also managed to travel the world. “I particularly enjoyed visiting North Africa, and the area around Morocco.”
Alton and his wife Patricia ended up back in the US in 2009, to be closer to their three children. But just because Alton is retired now, it doesn’t mean he’s not busy. Or accomplishing great things. “One of my most cherished hobbies is writing. I’m in the final stage of completing a documentary about aviation in the Caribbean. I’ve been at it for four years. But it should be done in the next few months.”
Alton also spends his time reading historical books, (“I particularly like Cuban history,”) enjoying his friends and neighbors and taking part in the many on and off campus activities at Lenbrook. “Here, there is ALWAYS something to do. There are so many interesting programs. Of course, the musical presentations are my favorite.”
Alton thoroughly enjoys the community and feels that Lenbrook is the “number one place to live.” You could say, at Lenbrook, Alton Adams has found the perfect cadence for his life. One thing is for sure: This articulate, fascinating man doesn’t miss a beat.
One of the people I most admire.
“Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh. He was a great inspiration to me. He was the Chancellor at Notre Dame, where I completed my undergraduate education. As a matter of fact, I graduated in 1952, the year he started. He went on to act as President of the University until 1987, a very long time. I was told that my diploma was the first one he ever signed! When I went back for my 60th reunion recently, we talked. And he signed it again!”
The luckiest things that ever happened to me.
My marriage to my wife Patricia. We were married 60 years, three months and two days.
Favorite thing about Lenbrook.
“There are so many interesting people here. People who have been all over the world and have been involved in so many different things. The people at Lenbrook are extremely well recognized in their professions. This is a great community. And it’s filled with camaraderie.”