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Obituary of Richard S. Adams


Richard S. “Dick” Adams, born May 5, 1928 in Auburn, Maine, passed away on December 23, 2018 in State College, PA. He was preceded in death by his parents, Raymond and Mary (Dennison), wife Marilyn M. and brother, Roger. He married Marilyn M.Winter on December 28, 1951 in Minnesota. He was a 1946 graduate from Edward Little High School in Auburn. He then graduated with B.S. in Animal Husbandry from the University of Maine in 1950 and earned his Masters and PhD from the University of Minnesota. In 1954 he moved his family to State College and joined the Penn State University as a Dairy Specialist in the Cooperative Extension Service. Except for one year of work in Iowa, he served at PSU until his retirement in 1991 and continued as a consultant until 1998.

Through his service at Extension, Dick was noted for his intense work across multiple disciplines and became one of the most respected dairy nutritionists in the world. The 1995 PSU Dairy Reference Manual dedication states, “The extent of his imagination, ingenuity, and industriousness is legendary. He was responsible for the dairy extension program, established the forage-testing and computerized ration-balancing program which has served as a model for similar programs throughout the world... He was involved in countless educational programs, schools, seminars and gave more than a thousand lectures to industry groups. Dick was a pioneer in recognizing benefits to be derived from interdisciplinary approaches to problem solving and developing educational programs in dairy cattle production.”

During his career at Penn State he worked both nationally and internationally with dairy farmers, veterinarians and feed companies to maximize dairy production and minimize costs for the farmers. His work took him to the University of Hawaii, Mexico, Spain, Greece, England and Ukraine. Dick produced volumes of essential information used across many areas of the dairy industry.

After spending his youth working with horses through the family’s Fernald Farm and Dwight Edwards’s Horse Sales Stable, Dick became a successful harness horse trainer and driver. He raced in the inaugural season at Roosevelt Raceway for the Magee and Snow Stable. He eventually trained and raced for Tanglewood Farm under Will Reynolds ownership. Reynolds provided Dick with funding to get his advanced degrees from the University of Minnesota. He restarted training and racing in 1954 in addition to his work at PSU. Dick teamed up with Bill Gumerson from Centre Hall and raced on the local fair circuit for several seasons.

Dick was an accomplished musician and showman beginning with his high school band, the Varsiteers that played across southern Maine. In State College, he was a longtime member of the Little German Band, the Dance Band, the Community Band and many church-based brass ensembles. He loved his last band, the Bavarian Stompers especially while leading the college students through great evenings of song, laughter and dance. Dick danced to almost as many songs as he played to earn his “Twinkle Toes” nickname. He and wife Marilyn were a blur of motion in their fine polka form and he made it a point “to dance with every woman there!”

Dick was a life-long member of the Eighth Maine Regiment Memorial Association on Peaks Island, Maine. His great-grandfather was in the Civil War regiment that built the lodge and museum there in 1891 to hold reunions and honor their service to the country. Dick promoted the history of the regiment and of the island to all that would take his guided tours each summer. After Marilyn’s health had declined and she ended a 20-year tenure as Hostess in 1998, Dick became the Host of the building with help from his family and others in the association. He continued to share his knowledge for many years about the regiment, their building and life on Peaks Island. Whether he was lecturing farmers, professors, visitors at the 8th Maine or the crowd at a band job, Dick relied on his knowledge of a million details and the inspiration of his idol, Abraham Lincoln to present a compelling story with a heavy dose of showmanship to captivate and entertain his audience while teaching them something new.

Dick was a member of State College’s Pine Hall Lutheran Church, and the Christian Missionary Alliance church. He also enjoyed watching “Gospel Notes,” a gospel music television program from Reynoldsville, PA.

Dick was predeceased by infant son, David in 1959 and wife Marilyn in 2003. He is survived by daughter Denise Conklin and husband George, son Stephen, son Ronald and wife Sheryl, daughter Joy Gallant; grandchildren John and Nathan Conklin, Michael and Jacqueline Borlawsky, Pauline and David Adams, Stephen and Benjamin Adams; and great-granddaughter Emily Conklin.

A celebration of life will be held this spring in State College and on Peaks Island this summer.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Gospel Notes Outreach Ministry at or Shriners Hospitals for Children at or the Eighth Maine Regiment Memorial Association ℅ Heather Goulden, PO Box 23, Kennebunk ME 04043.

An online guest book may be signed or condolences sent to the family at

Name of Deceased

Richard S. Adams

Date of Death


Date of Birth


Funeral Home

Mark D. Heintzelman Funeral Services

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