Judith Chilton Adams

Judith Chilton Adams, 90, died August 5, 2013, in Mountain View, Calif.

She was born April 22, 1923, in Frazee, Minn. to Edward and Martha Chilton and was raised in Detroit Lakes, Minn. She and her family enjoyed hiking, camping, picnicking, boating and swimming. She swam like a dolphin and was a lifeguard during summers between college years.

Judy attended University of Minnesota and Moorhead State Teacher's College, graduating with a teaching degree and a minor in art. She accepted a teaching position in Ketchikan, Ala. where she met and married Keldon (Kelly) Adams and took in his two daughters, Sandra and Judi. She had Martha shortly before Kelly and his partner, Don Ross, discovered uranium in 1955.

The family moved to Grants Pass, Ore. in 1956 into a big, old house surrounded by shade trees that had previously been (unbeknownst to them) a house of ill repute. Daughter Grace was born in Grants Pass.


Her family moved to Medford, Ore. a few years later and Judy taught at a junior high school there before buying and teaching in her own kindergarten for several years. The family returned to Alaska in 1967/68, and Judy resumed teaching at White Cliff School. She used to supply the kitchen staff with pancake flour so they would make pancakes for some of her students who came to school hungry. She also had a deal with an optometrist in townstudents of hers who couldn't afford glasses were provided glasses by the optometrist at cost and paid for by Judy. She was always willing to tutor anyone who needed help with reading, either after school or at her home.

During summers, the family prospected and mined everywhere from Oregon and Idaho to Alaska and the Yukon. She loved to be out in the country and was happy to cook, man the machinery, do the laundry and help with everything from gold panning and clean up or using turkey basters to suck up recovered mercury from bedrock in an Idaho ghost town.

When she retired from teaching after 26 years, Judy and her beloved Kelly moved to Oregon and continued to fly, prospect and mine gold in the Yukon until Kelly could no longer do so.

She was preceded in death by husband, Keldon; a son, Steven Keldon, who died after only 3 days; and daughter Judi McKay.

She is survived by siblings Dan and Edward Chilton and Nancy Johnston, daughters Sandra Watts, Martha Cohn, and Grace Adams; and by grandchildren Kevin, Amber, Katherine, Julie, Marion, Shannon, Melissa, Martin, Keldon and Rebecca; as well as 9 great grandchildren and numerous cousins, nieces and nephews.

Her memorial will be September 8, 2013 in Gold Hill, Ore. Donations in her memory can be made to St. Joseph's Indian School, P. O. Box 300, Chamberlain, SD 57325

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