Still in the heart of friends
Alumni dedicate tree and bench in memory of Williams
Article by Linda Relyea
Photo by Linda Relyea
Pictured, left to right, standing, Ben Evans, ASU Class of 2013; Lea Schiola, ASU Class of 2015; Jacob Smith, ASU Class of 2014; Deacon Aspinwall, ASU Class of 2015; Maddie Mansheim, ASU Class of 2015; Patrick Ortiz, ASU Class of 2013; Katie Schultz, ASU Class of 2015; and Justin Cruse; seated, John and Peggy Williams. Not pictured, Jared Skadberg, ASU Class of 2014.
Adam Williams made a lasting impression on his friends and fellow students. An Adams State University earth science major, Williams embraced the campus life taking an active role in the student government, accepting the position as president of the GeoClub, helping fire the canon when the football team scored, and enjoying many activities available to students, including free shows at Zacheis Planetarium.
It came as a terrible shock to the campus when Williams died suddenly just a couple of weeks before he would have graduated in May 2014. In honor of his memory, several Adams State alumni and Williams' father and step-mother planted a tree and dedicated a bench in his memory on June 1. Katie Schultz, Class of 2015 and current employee of the Bureau of Reclamation, Water Resources and Planning Division, chose a spot near Zacheis Planetarium.
Schultz remembers Williams for his involvement around campus and his joy of life. He was her research partner and good friend. "He was simply one of the best. Even in the worse-case scenario he could find a positive twist and make you feel better."
Ben Evans, Class of 2013, crossed the stage at the 2014 May Commencement Ceremony to accept the honorary degree for Williams. "Adam was the epitome of a decent human being."
John and Peggy Williams drove from Pennsylvania to attend the dedication. "On the outside he looked rough and ready, rather like a bear, but he was a very kind-hearted and generous person," John said. "He was a character."
Evans, deputy water commissioner for the Cache La Poudre River – State of Colorado DWR, said even if Williams had already seen the planetarium movie, he was there every Friday. His favorite was Supervolcanoes. "There was nothing traditional about him."
At one of the geology conferences, Schultz said Williams added a grizzly bear tattooed. "It covered one whole shoulder. It took three-and-a-half hours."
Schultz and Evans said Williams was the mastermind behind the GeoClub on campus, motivating the members for the talent show, and organizing everything from floats to fundraisers to promote the club. "He would spend eight hours making breakfast burritos to sell. He was phenomenal, always organized and stayed so calm," Schultz said. "He never lost his temper and always had a smile. He still shines."
The bench was made and donated by Don and Esmerelda Rutledge of Esmie's Woodcarvings. Schultz appreciates the help from across campus to make the dedication possible. "Dr. Robert Benson, professor of earth science, Facilities Services staff, and Uriah Valdez, Welcome Center coordinator, all came together to in a short amount of time to plant the tree and have the bench placed. Without them it would not have happened."