MINIS COLUMN: Vincent Darrel Adams, successful businessman, was a keen observer of life
If there's one thing Vincent Darrel Adams' family, friends and associates were fortunate to have enjoyed, it was his great wit.
It wasn't so much that Adams worked at being witty, but he was a keen observer of life who wasn't exactly opposed to interjecting healthy doses of reality.
“He had a devilish sense of humor,” says son Scott Adams. “He called things as he saw them, and if you took yourself too seriously, he would call you down on that.” He laughed at others and was equally as good about laughing at himself.
The Mount Pleasant resident was born in March 1927. He died Dec. 11 at age 85.
It wasn't hard for Adams to see when someone was taking himself too seriously, because despite being a successful businessman who created Charleston Blue Print and Supply, Charleston Yacht Sales and Adams Family Land Group and other businesses, Adams never stopped being that boy from eastern North Carolina with humble beginnings, his son says.
“He was the type of person who just looked at people for who they were regardless of financial means, level of education and station in life,” Adams says. “He believed that whether you are a man or woman, you make your own way in the world.”
He was interested in everyone and valued people, the son says.
Adams never intended to go to college, but his mother asked what he planned to do once he finished serving in the Navy. He had quit high school at 17 to join the military. His father was a midlevel clerk for the railroad with an eighth-grade education, and his mother had a sixth-grade education.
He tried to impress his mother by telling her that his sights were set on higher education.
“I really kind of blurted it out to impress your grandmother, and the next thing you know, I am in college,” Adams said his father would later tell his children.
On his first visit to The Citadel, he intended to turn around and go home at one point. But he decided to hear what the admissions officer had to say.
As it turned out, Adams couldn't put forth enough conditions to talk his way out of the college.
Adams says that in addition to being witty and humble, his father often was willing to help when somebody sought his advice or involvement with a cause. He saw his dad as someone who would roll up his sleeves and say, “What can we do?”
The elder Adams also had broad interests.
“You couldn't pigeonhole him,” Adams says. “He was an engineer by education, organized, kind of Type A. But he also had this free-spirited side. After the death of my second brother, we took off (as a family) and lived on a boat for a year.
“Sailing was something he was passionate about, but he took that up late in life,” said Scott Adams. “He probably was about 35 when a friend introduced him to boating, yachting, sailing. He came home and ordered plans for a Blue Jay, once a popular boat in Charleston. He and my brother set about building this boat in our living room over in Bay View Acres. It also became for him a way to explore,” Adams says.
He was a naturally curious man. His hobbies included being a prolific photographer. He also dabbled in paint- ing.
Adams was a man who could sit in a room with people from a range of backgrounds and enjoy what each had to say, his son says.
And he was intensely loyal to his family and friends.
“You knew where you stood with him, but you also knew that he had your back,” Adams says.
“I could always talk to him about anything,” Adams says, describing himself as having been a free-spirited teen, who tested the limits.
“He always told me, 'I'm your father first and friend second.' When I was about 21, I remember sitting down and writing him a letter to let him know that I knew he was in my corner.”
Reach Wevonneda Minis at 937-5705.