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Theodore Adolphus Adams, Jr.
Lieutenant Colonel, United States Army
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Dr. Theodore A. Adams, Jr., a business leader, champion of minority business development, and retired Army Engineer officer, died on July 16, 2003, of complications of cancer.

JA Adams, Jr. PHOTO

Dr. Adams was former Chairman of the Board, CEO and majority shareholder of Unified Industries Incorporated (UII), a corporation he founded in 1970. Under his management, direction and control, UII grew to over 300 employees with offices dispersed throughout the United States, including Hawaii. At the time of his death, he served in the capacity of Executive Advisor to Unified.

His success in the business world was the natural outgrowth of a distinguished military career. Dr. Adams entered the United States Army at age 17, and attained the rank of Master Sergeant at age 20. He was the first Black Honor Graduate of Engineer Officers Candidate School. As an Engineer Officer, he performed outstanding service in key positions of responsibility throughout the world, including command of an Engineer Battalion in Vietnam and service in the Office of the Chief of Staff, U.S. Army. His military awards include the Legion of Merit with Oak Leaf Cluster and the Vietnamese Medal of Honor. He retired from military service as Lieutenant Colonel in 1969 to concentrate on activities within the minority business community.

Dr. Adams was affiliated with a wide range of civic, business, and political organizations. He was a member of the Democratic National Committee and of the National Black Caucus on policy matters. He received many awards for his leadership and unselfishness. In June 2003, he was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Parren Mitchell Foundation. He was presented the “1981Chairman’s Award” by the Congressional Black Caucus at their Eleventh Annual Awards Program for his dedication, leadership and untiring efforts in assisting the Caucus. Before founding Unified, Dr. Adams was Executive Director of the National Associations for Black Manufactures (NABM). He was honored at the Ninth Annual Convention of NABM by receiving their highest award, Member of the Year. His minority business involvement led to his inclusion in the “Member of the Year 1977-78 Edition of Who’s Who Among Black Americans.” He was recipient of the National Business League’s “Frederick Douglas Patterson Award” in recognition of his many outstanding contributions. He also received the “Minority Businessperson of the Year” award, which was presented by the Interracial Council of Business Opportunity in 1985.

He received the Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree from Bowie State University in 1990 and was inducted into the Engineer Officer Candidate School’s Hall of Fame in 1990.

Dr. Adams was a graduate of many Army sponsored schools, including the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College. He attended the University of Oklahoma and served on the faculty of the North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. He was also a graduate of the Harvard Business School Small Company Management Program.

A native of Newark, New Jersey, Dr. Adams is survived by his wife, Jeanie M. Adams, daughters Karen Felicia Ambrose, Deborah Edwards, and Christina Adams, son Theodore A. Adams III, nine grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. He is also survived by a sister, Sandra K. Tarver.



Remembered for her roles as wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and poet, and for her every tender touch and gentle stroke that instilled solitude in one's heart, JEANIE MAY ADAMS died in Alexandria, Virginia on October 20, 2003.

Known for her noble bearing and old-world graciousness by her family and friends Jeanie Adams's persona was not a manufactured one, but a product of birthright and the events that shaped and nurtured her life. Born November 16, 1929 in Newark, New Jersey to John Perry and Appie George, she was christened Jeanie May Perry. She was the second youngest of seven brothers and sisters. Mrs. Adams was raised in Newark where she attended school. She sculpted her life, in ways both subtle and direct, to meet the needs of her family, creating her long life of devotion.

Mrs. Adams career as a loving wife began with her union with Theodore Adolphus Adams Jr. on December 16, 1952. Mr. Adams was an officer in the United States Army. After his retirement as a lieutenant colonel, he founded and led Unified Industries Inc. until his death on July 17, this year. Together, Mr. and Mrs. Adams followed a rule of living with quality over quantity, fitting them for a journey that proved richer than that of many who were more abundantly endowed with material goods.

On October 20, 2003, Jeanie May Adams joined her husband of 53 years in the afterlife. She is survived by her son, Theodore Adolphus Adams III; and her three daughters, Karen Felicia Ambrose, Deborah Fern Adams-Edwards and Christina Yvonne Adams; nine grandchildren and four great grandchildren.

Family will receive friends on Monday, November 3, 2003 from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. at DEMAINE SPRINGFIELD-ANNANDALE FUNERAL CHAPEL, Backlick and Edsall Rds., Springfield, VA. Mass of Christian Burial on Tuesday, November 4, 12 Noon at St. Bernadette's Catholic Church, Old Keene Mill Rd., Springfield, VA. Interment at Arlington National Cemetery at 2 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting that contributions in Mrs. Adams' honor be made to the Adams grandchildren's college fund. Contributions should be made payable to "College America" and forwarded to Theodore A. Adams, III, c/o Unified Industries Incorporated, 6551 Loisdale Court, Suite 400, Springfield, VA 22150.

TA Adams Jr Gravesite PHOTO
 Photo Courtesy of Russell C. Jacobs, August 2006

Posted: 1 November 2003  Updated: 12 September 2005 Updated: 18 August 2006