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By Leigh-Anne Gideon/The Huntsville Item
Kelly Edgar McAdams, a former Huntsville resident who was known to be a great supporter of historical structures, family history and education, died in Austin on Wednesday at the age of 96.
McAdams, along with his wife, Ina May Ogletree McAdams, owned and operated a successful real estate and timber investment business in Austin, East Texas and North Carolina for 50 years. Ina preceded her husband in death in 1992.
The McAdams may be best known in the Walker County area for their support of the ancestral McAdams Cemetery and their contributions to Sam Houston State University, where they were both graduates, as well as their involvement in Huntsville's Capt. John McAdams Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution.
During his 80th birthday celebration McAdams was quoted as saying that there was nothing he would change in his life.
"As I look backward from my 80th birthday - I wouldn't make a change," he said. "Big events in my life - when I married my wife Ina May; my children and their families, Kelly Roy and Nancy McAdams, and Martha and Ralph Vertrees, of Austin; Dr. and Mrs. H.O. Muecke, of Huntsville."
During the same celebration, their daughter, Billye McAdams Muecke, said that as long as she could remember her parents had love and interest for people and never met a stranger.
Born in 1903 to Hiram Edgar McAdams and Mary D. Jenkonson McAdams, McAdams earned his Bachelor of Science degree from Sam Houston State University in 1930 and a Master of Science degree from Texas A&M University in 1932.
McAdams taught vocational agriculture in Texas high schools for 10 years before moving to Austin and entering the contracting and construction business in 1936. Along with his father-in-law, George Royden Ogletree, McAdams and his wife purchased the Isaax Minor ranch in Humboldt County, California, in 1946, and operated it and forest lands in East Texas afterwards as the president of M&O Timber Company.
Benefactors of many charities, the McAdams purchased the antebellum southern mansion and National Historic Landmark, "Longwood," which they donated to the Pilgrimage Garden Club of Natchez, Miss., for preservation and public tours.
"They were very generous with their money," said Walker County Clerk James Patton, who is also president of the Walker County Historical Commission. "They were fine people. He was a great man."
Charitable gifts by the McAdams to SHSU include the McAdams Tennis Center, built in 1976, the $10,000 McAdams Baseball Scholarship established in 1974, and the McAdams Journalism Scholarship, established after Ina May died in 1992.
Scholarships were also established by the McAdams at the University of Texas at Austin, Texas A&M University, Baylor University and Southwest Texas State University.
In addition, McAdams built the McAdams Bicentennial Chapel and restored a 19th century log cabin, both of which he and his wife donated to the McAdams Cemetery Association at the family reunion grounds and cemetery near Huntsville.
He was a member of the First Baptist Church in Austin and a life member of the Ex-Students Association of the University of Texas at Austin and the Ex-Students Association of SHSU. He was also a member of the President's Club of SHSU, the Hall of Honor of the Athletic Department of SHSU and a Distinguished Alumni in 1986. He was founder of the Southern Heritage Foundation and president of the McAdams Foundation in Austin.
In 1985, together with his wife, he wrote the book, "The McAdams Family of Walker County, Texas," which they donated to the McAdams Cemetery Association.
Local survivors of McAdams include his daughter, Billye McAdams Muecke, son-in-law, Herb Muecke, granddaughter, Marsha Lynn Muecke Young and sister Robbie Lee McAdams Hughes.
Funeral services and burial will be held on Sunday at 2 p.m. at the McAdams Bicentennial Chapel of the McAdams Cemetery Association Complex on FM 1696, seven miles west of Crabbs Prairie.
In lieu of the usual remembrances, the family requests that donations may be made to the McAdams Cemetery Association, Opal Snelgrove, treasurer, 2321 Robinson Way, Huntsville, TX 77340.
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