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Josiah Knowles Adams III

Date of Death: April 11, 2011

Date of Birth: April 28, 1942

Biography:

LEWISTON -- Josiah Knowles Adams III departed this world on April 11, 2011, at the end of a brave battle with cancer.
Josiah was born on April 28, 1942, in San Francisco, Calif., the eldest child of Josiah Knowles Adams Jr. of Scarborough, and the late Joyce Searls Adams of Phippsburg. After WWII Josiah's parents emigrated from the West Coast, where they had grown up, to the East, where he and his siblings were raised. From earliest childhood Josiah displayed a fearless, independent and venturesome temperament and a brilliant mind.
At Woodstock Country School in Vermont he developed intense interests in music and science, interests that persisted through his lifetime. He was a skilled pianist and involved in choral singing; at Woodstock he added the organ to his activities. He pursued these interests next at Marlboro College and in later years developed an interest in art, becoming an accomplished graphic artist.
A latter day Renaissance Man, he might have been outstanding in any of these fields of interest. But he discovered that teaching high school aged youngsters gave fullest expression to his talents. He taught first, for eight years, at St. John's Episcopal School in Puerto Cortes, Honduras. For his outstanding contributions there he received honorary Honduran citizenship.
In the following years the continued success of his former students meant a great deal to him, kept abreast as he was through a lively correspondence, voluminous once the internet became available.
Returning to the states, he taught for many years up to the present at Elan School in Poland Spring. Among the courses he taught were Physics, Chemistry, Organic Chemistry,
Astronomy, History of Music and Philosophy, and he played important roles in designing the curriculum and in college advising.
Wherever he taught, word traveled quickly among students that, coming through at the end of one his courses, one was a different person, enriched by something new and abiding. He taught with intense discipline, organization, enthusiasm and deep knowledge. His demands of students were high, those for himself also; for example, he taught himself classical Greek that he might understand Plato better. He considered it an essential duty of being a teacher to know his students well, and frequently this commitment led to strong friendships with students and their parents.
Accompanying his deep commitment as a teacher were his penetrating wit and a relish for the latest developments in popular culture and computer technology, all of which stood him well among his students, to whom, however, he never pandered.
He is survived by his father Josiah; his sister Phoebe of Kutztown, Pa., by his brothers, Peter of Burlington, Vt., John of Boxford, Mass., Samuel of Weston, Conn.; by his daughter Oona Adams; and his granddaughter Sadie of Brooklyn, N.Y.
As well as an intensely public-spirited teacher, Josiah was a private person who avoided attempts to draw attention to him. Rather, his profound instinct is expressed by the saying 'By their works ye shall know them.' His memorial is the enriched lives of the many young people he taught and nurtured.
Donations may be made
in Josiah's name to:
Hospice House
236 Stetson Rd.
Auburn, Maine 04210

 

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