William "Bill" Adams, 72, left a community to mourn his loss when he was killed Sunday afternoon while working in his North Augusta yard.
Mr. Adams was a master gardener in Georgia and South Carolina and served as the shining example to all master gardeners who have come after him, showing what it means to love gardening, growing and sharing not only his plants but his boundless knowledge of all things green.
This week, those who found Mr. Adams an inspiration have been expressing their thoughts in The Augusta Chronicle's Garden Gnome blog online.
"I was in shock to discover that it was Bill that had been killed. I first met him while I was enrolled in a master gardener class, and later enjoyed talking with him at their office while putting in my volunteer hours," Thomasina Stewart wrote. "I don't believe that he ever met a stranger. Bill was very likeable. When he spoke, you could feel his sincereness, and you liked him immediately. He was very knowledgeable about plants and generous in his sharing of information. Your loved one was special and will be missed. With prayers of thanks for your love one's life, and prayers of comfort for you."
Mr. Adams was a proud U.S. Army veteran. He retired from the Georgia Air National Guard, 165th Airlift Wing. Given any address in Augusta, Mr. Adams could tell you exactly where it is and probably who had lived there when he delivered mail for 35 years.
After two retirements, Mr. Adams could have tended his garden alone, but he chose to take the Master Gardening cases and volunteered countless hours helping others.
He worked "part time" for the Richmond County Georgia Extension Service, and he volunteered for the 4-H program for children.
"When my now 17-year-old son was competing in 4-H, Mr. Bill gave him advice on how to grow the biggest and best tomatoes around," Sandra Schumann wrote. "Over the years, Mr. Bill became the 'Bible' on gardening and gave a different meaning to being a 'master' gardener. He was patient, knowledgeable and always had a story to tell. I appreciated all the times he helped me out with gardening questions and I also will always be grateful for sharing with Hephzibah Baptist Church's Young at Heart senior adult luncheon group. I have always looked forward to walking through the gardens of Heaven -- but more so now that Mr. Bill is there with a helping hand -- as always!"
As recently as Friday, Mr. Adams was plotting how to share a love of gardening with children. He had an idea forming as to how to convince first lady Michelle Obama -- who has started a White House garden and brought children into the gardening project -- that it would be a wonderful idea to set up a Junior Master Gardening program for children. They could train at the White House and be ready to start a lifetime of gardening, he said.
Mr. Adams is survived by his wife of 35 years, Brenda Harris Adams; daughters and sons-in-law Connie and Bob Glover, Joy and Pete Pack, and Leslie and Thomas Timblin, all of North Augusta.
Services will be at 2 p.m. today at the Posey Funeral Chapel. Memorials may be made to the John De La Howe School, 192 Gettys Road, McCormick, S.C., 29835. According to the school's Web page: Originally founded in 1797 as a farm school for local poor and orphaned children, John de la Howe School has evolved into a first-rate, child caring agency committed to meeting the behavioral, educational, and social needs of the children in its care.
Reach Sandy Hodson at (706) 823-3226 or firstname.lastname@example.org