Donald Dwain Adam passed away on March 21, 2019, at his home in Dallas, Texas, due to complications of Alzheimer’s. During his fight with Alzheimer’s, he provided information that allowed one of the primary research groups to chart his daily routine, medications, supplements, and how his body was reacting during the progress of the disease. His hope was that through the research they could provide a solution to this devastating illness and related diseases. Upon death, his body was donated to UT Southwestern Medical Center for continued research per his wishes. Dwain’s belief in teaching, mentoring, and research was his way of giving back to the community.
Dwain, as his family and friends called him, was born on May 8, 1932, to George Donald Adam and Marcella Shackelford Adam in Hyannis, Nebraska. Dwain was one of nine children. He was preceded in death by his parents, his older sister Lois May Behm, brother-in-law Donald Behm, niece Julie Ann Trask, and sister-in-laws Kimiko and René Adam. He is survived by his wife, Connie Adam; his siblings and spouses: Wally and Connie Adam, Bob Adam, John and Anne Adam, Ted and Nann Adam, Tom and Illene Adam, Cindy and Dale Berndt, and Peggy and Jim Weber; his children and spouses: Chelanie and Mike Shiflet and Shane and LeighAnn Adam; his grandchildren: Kirsha and Jeffery Creamer, Seth, Caden and Hailey Adam; and his great grandchildren: Riley Israel, Kaitlyn and Bryson Creamer, and 21 nieces and nephews.
Dwain grew up on the family ranch north of Ashby, Nebraska, and graduated from Alliance High School in 1949. He was an active Future Farmers of America member during his tenure in high school. He was involved in the Masonic Order as a member of the Zion and the Scottish Rite Lodge and was a 32nd degree Scottish Rite Life Time Member. Dwain obtained his law degree at from the Blackstone School of Law.
Dwain’s lifelong passion was flying. His first major purchase was a Piper J3. He used it fly over the ranch to check cattle, which was a way for him to fly while he worked on the family ranch. After his brother Bob came back from the military, he left the family ranch to pursue a career in aviation. Dwain held his private, commercial, instructors, and Air Transport Pilot licenses along with single engine, multi-engine, instrument, single-engine instructor, multi-engine instructor, instrument instructor, tail wheel, high performance, high-altitude ratings and more than 25 aircraft endorsements. Dwain logged over 123,000 hours of flight time. He taught and mentored 500+ students during his career, including both of his children.
Dwain’s first full-time aviation job was working for Alan Robinson at the Gordon, Nebraska, Airport where he received his helicopter rating. He then did some contract work for Brantley Helicopter before moving to Sky Harbor Air Service in Cheyenne, Wyoming, in 1961. One of his key tasks was as a corporate pilot for one of Sky Harbor’s largest customers during the building and maintaining of the Minute Man Missile Silos that were used throughout the cold war.
He met his wife Connie Ilene Doyle, in Chadron, Nebraska, and they married on September 1, 1963, in Maywood, Nebraska. Dwain and Connie had two children and celebrated 56 years of marriage.
In 1964, Sky Harbor moved Dwain to a new contract working for Colorado State University, Department of Atmospheric Science in Fort Collins, Colorado, as a research pilot. Shortly after the assignment, Dr. William Marlatt, Dean of the Department of Atmospheric Science, offered him a full-time job. While working for Colorado State University, he provided support for the scientists involved in various atmospheric and geological research projects. Some of his favorite projects included working with NASA and Perdue University. While in Fort Collins he was also responsible for running Christman Airfield for Colorado State University (CSU), Department of Atmospheric Science from 1965-1976. During his tenure at Christman Airfield, he was heavily involved with the CSU Flying Club and mentored many of the club’s. He enjoyed spending time with anyone that wanted to learn to fly or just wanted to talk about flying. Flying was his work, his hobby and the one thing he enjoyed more than anything else besides spending time with his family. He always told his children, “You should enjoy what you do as a career as you spend a major portion of your life working.”
Dwain and his family were active in the First Christian Church in Fort Collins. His faith was always steadfast and never faltered. He passed that devotion on to his children.
In 1976, Dwain and his family moved from Ft. Collins, Colorado, to Gering, Nebraska. He became a partner in the Fix Based Operation (FBO) in Scottsbluff, allowing him to be closer to his parents as they aged and spend more time with his children as they grew. He continued to teach flying, served as a charter and corporate pilot, and a mentor to those who wanted to pursue a career in Aviation.
In 1982, he moved back to Alliance and purchased the Fixed Base Operation. Moving back to Alliance brought him back to his hometown and closer to his parents and family while allowing him to continue to fly until he retired in April 2000. In 2013, Dwain and Connie moved to Dallas, Texas, to be closer to their children and grandchildren.
Throughout his life, Dwain was a pioneer in aviation, a beloved sibling, an adoring father, and a grandfather and great grandfather like no other. A true team player, he spent most of his life in the background and seldom in the lime light, except to those who loved him most. His decisions were always based on what was best for the people and communities he served. He was patient, understanding and able to explain things so they were easily understandable and allowed you to remember them instinctively.
In lieu of flowers, cards, or travel we urge you to donate to your favorite charity. Dwain’s favorite organizations were: Alzheimer’s Research (http://www.eastonad.ucla.edu/index.php/donate-alzheimers-research), Scottish Rite Hospital (https://scottishritehospital.org/get-involved), and his local Scottish Rite Lodge (P.O. Box 754, Alliance, Nebraska 69301).
Memorial Service will be held Sunday, May 26, 2019, at 3:00 p.m. in Alliance, Nebraska at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, 312 West 16th St., Alliance.