Michael J. Adam, a resident of 42 Howard Street for the past year, died at Southampton Hospital on April 21, 2012. He was 61 years old and had previously lived on Bayview Avenue in Sag Harbor for the last 20 years.
He was born at Southampton Hospital on November 13, 1950 to William F. Adam Jr. and Dorothy (Phillips) Adam, both deceased.
Mr. Adam attended St. Andrew’s School from grades K through 8 and graduated from Pierson High School in 1968. He worked as a mason and handyman. A veteran of the Navy, he was a member of the American Legion. Mr. Adam was also an avid golfer and a one time member of Sag Harbor Golf Club. He loved playing softball, sailing with friends and was a member of the Tuesday night men’s bowling league for 25 years.
Mr. Adam had many close friends who remained a constant throughout his life and he earned a number of funny nicknames over the years, including LAU (late as usual) from his mother, Soaky (due to his brillowy hair) from his high school friends, young sparky, Mike the Spike and “the Cadillac Mason” to name a few.
Bill Horn recalled hanging out at Stephen Talkhouse in Amagansett with him where they rubbed elbows (literally) with Rick Danko of The Band and jammed with the likes of the New Riders of the Purple Sage and the recently deceased Levon Helm of The Band.
“Mike, being the music aficionado, would get up at a concert at Belmont Racetrack and jam on his harmonica with Pure Prairie League on stage,” recalled Bill Horn. “He was a trip.”
Friend Mary Ellen Higgins Garcia recalled that years ago, when he was in his 30s, Mr. Adam adopted a shelter dog named Spike. When the dog’s leg was injured in an accident instead of putting him down, Mr. Adam told the vet to remove the leg. “I’m not losing my dog,” he said. He became known around town to strangers as the guy with the three legged dog. She added that when Spike died, Mr. Adam refused to get another dog — his heart was broken.
Lifelong friend Dan Sabloski remembers Mr. Adam as the modern day Good Samaritan and, as a teenager, a mechanic who could fix anything on old cars. He recalled that Mr. Adam would stop to help anyone stuck on the side of the road, whether he knew them or not, and always kept extra repair gear in his car.
“Even though we weren’t born in the same family, he was my brother, a teacher, a faithful friend to the end,” said Mr. Sabloski. “He taught me a lot about masonry. I won’t be able to look at my brick walkway without thinking of him.”
Mr. Adam loved working with his hands, whether it was as a mason or as a musician playing a song on his guitar or harmonica.
He also loved clever phrasing and was known for his ability to make people laugh and smile.
“I dare you to find a photo of him without his eyes bugging out or his elbows sticking out akimbo,” joked his sister in law, Sharon.
“We’ve lost a monument of Sag Harbor,” concurred friends Steve and Jeff Peters.
Friend Ray Simek estimates he went to about 40 Grateful Dead concerts with Mr. Adam as well as several shows by “The Other Ones,” the name the band gave itself after the death of Jerry Garcia. Mr. Simek recalled that before the start of one show, Mr. Adam went off to get a beer. He returned with his drink, wobbly and weaving up the hill back to the group, and even fell and rolled all the way down it at one point. He dusted himself off and with everyone cheering and laughing, Simek recalls Mr. Adam winking at him. No beer was spilled and he was stone cold sober.
“We lost a good man, Mike had love in his heart,” said Simek. “We will miss him terribly.”
Mr. Adam is survived by two brothers, William F. Adam II of Clifton Park, N.Y. and Terence J. Adam and his wife Sharon of Sag Harbor; and a sister, Kathy Adam Grodski and her husband Ritchie of Southampton. He also leaves eight nieces and nephews.
Visiting hours were held Wednesday, April 25 at Yardley and Pino Funeral Home in Sag Harbor. A mass will be held Thursday, April 26 at 10:30 a.m. at St. Andrew’s R.C. Church in Sag Harbor with interment at St. Andrew’s Cemetery. Memorial donations may be made to the Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons and East End Hospice.