Mel Adams, age 86, passed away August 1, 2021 at the Ogallala Community Hospital. He was born on January 31, 1935 at Ogallala, Nebraska, the son of Melvin and Lucille Adams.
In his early years, Mel lived in Lemoyne, Nebraska where the family bank was established. The family and bank moved to Brule, Nebraska due to the construction of Lake McConaughy. His father was called to active duty in 1940 during World War II. Melvin Adams Sr. was a Lieutenant Colonel, and they moved many times during his deployment. The family returned to Brule after the war in 1946. Mel graduated from the Brule High School in 1952 and attended the University of Nebraska, graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1956. Mel was a proud member of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity. He furthered his education by graduating from the Independent Bankers Seminar, Harvard University in 1966 and the Colorado School of Banking in Boulder, Colorado in 1968.
On January 14, 1956, he married his high school sweetheart, Huberta Beal. Together they had four children. Mel began working for IBM and the National Bank of Commerce in Lincoln but returned to Brule to join his father in the bank and insurance business in 1961. He was the third generation of bankers in the family. In 1962, Mel chartered the Keith County Bank & Trust in Ogallala. Additional banks were purchased and eventually merged and rebranded into Adams Bank & Trust, where Mel was the President, CEO and Chairman of the Board. When Mel returned to Brule the bank had just over $1,500,000 in assets. It has now grown to over $1.1 Billion with branches located in Nebraska, Kansas and Colorado. He was President and owner of the insurance agency that became Adams Insurance Advisors.
Mel enlisted in the Nebraska National Guard in 1952. He was Commissioned as an Armor Officer in the United States Army, following the tradition established by his father. In 1956, he graduated from the U.S. Armor School, Fort Knox, Kentucky. During his 13 plus years of service, he rose to the rank of Captain, and was the Battery Commander, Artillery, of the Nebraska National Guard unit when the Ogallala armory was built.
With the many bank and insurance locations to visit, Mel was an accomplished instrument pilot and flew extensively. A commercial and instrument rated pilot, he accumulated over 9,000 hours. His good friend was Rector Searle, which the Ogallala airport is named after. Mel often volunteered to fly seriously injured people to emergency centers for medical care. Through his company, Central States Aviation, he operated the fixed based operation at the Ogallala airport from 1977 – 1991.
Mel was elected Chairman of the Nebraska Bankers Association in 1984 and served on the Board and as Chairman of the Graduate School of Banking in Boulder, Colorado. From 1977 until 2002 he was a co-owner of Ogallala Livestock Auction Market and was a co-owner of radio stations in Sterling, Colorado and Casa Grande, Arizona. In 1983 he opened General Office Supply in Ogallala.
He was the Scout Master for Troop 258 and was instrumental in his sons and several grandsons becoming Eagle Scouts as well as several granddaughters receiving the Gold Award in Girl Scouts.
Mel and Huberta loved to travel and took their family and associates all over the world.
Mel is survived by his wife, Huberta, children Todd (Kandy) Adams, Melanie (Dave) Washa, and Chad (Barbara) Adams, all of Ogallala and Laurie (Kirk) Hovendick of Hickman, Nebraska. Seventeen grandchildren, Jennifer (Ben) Wheeler-Harsh, Amanda (Josh) Hoover, Melynda (Billy) Boyce, Sarah (Michael) Vargas, Quincy Washa, Eric (Chelsie) Washa, Benjamin (Kayla) Washa, Alex (Renata) Washa, Colt (Anna) Washa, Jared (Sarah) Washa, Jessop (Caitlin) Adams, Samuel (Katherine) Adams, Harrison Adams, Rebecca Adams (fiancée Jack Fordon), Jacob (Meagan) Hovendick, Kalli (Kyle) Sawyer, John Hovendick. Twenty-two, soon to be 24 great-grandchildren. Sister-in-laws, Linda Adams, Bonnie Welsh, Vicki Hill, Tatania Beal, brother-in-laws Greg Beal, Norm Welsh and Jack Hill, as well as nephews and nieces.
He was preceded in death by his parents, brother John Adams and sister Pamela Adams.
In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to the Ogallala or Perkins County Hospital Foundations, Ogallala Public Schools Foundation or a local charity of your choice.
Funeral service will be at the New Hope Church, 319 East O Street, Ogallala, Nebraska on Tuesday, August 24 at 10:00 a.m. The service will be live streamed (10:00 a.m. MST) and may be viewed by clicking here or the Watch Live from the menu above.
Internment will be in the Ogallala Cemetery.
Visitation will be Sunday, August 22nd, from 1:00 – 4:00 p.m. and Monday, August 23rd from 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., at the Draucker Funeral Home.
Draucker Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
To send flowers to Mel's family, please visit our floral store.