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RCC scholarship honors Brady Adams

Nearly six months after the death of Grants Pass' most iconic philanthropist, local organizations are contemplating ways to honor him. And it looks like the Rogue Community College Foundation will be the first to put Brady Adams' moniker to good use.

Adams died April 6 at the age of 70, but his legacy will live on in the form of an endowed scholarship honoring him. The endowment was created by an initial donation of $12,500 from Adams' son, Ted, and daughter-in-law Paula.

The scholarship will be awarded annually to an RCC student who aspires to the same qualities that made Adams such an effective community leader, such as community involvement and a generous spirit, according to information provided by the foundation.

"We're very excited about the endowment," said Judy Basker, executive director of the RCC Foundation. "Brady's work so affected the community."

She continued, "This generous endowment will carry forward Brady's commitment to giving people opportunity. With others like it, (the scholarship) will help the students at RCC find their way to a degree or certificate for gainful employment or successful transfer to a university.

Basker said she hopes the community will rally behind the endowment and add funds so it can benefit many students in years to come.

She's already seen a start to that community spirit. On Friday night at the college's annual Spears Awards ceremony, Adams was posthumously honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

People's Bank President and CEO Ken Trautman announced at that event his bank will donate $1,000 to the Brady Adams Endowment fund.

"The whole community loved Brady, and I'm sure there are more people who'd like to honor him," Basker said.

Adams, the founder and longtime president of Evergreen Federal Bank, and a former Oregon Senate president, suffered from Parkinson's disease for several years. However, that didn't deter him from giving back to the community he cherished.

In addition to giving downtown Grants Pass the summer BearFest public art display and the brightly lit Christmas murals each winter, Adams was a champion of the Blue Slide project, through which he helped local mom Mona Pinon and other supporters create a handicapped-accessible playground at Parkside Elementary School.

Adams supported and volunteered with a number of local community groups — it is believed that, at one point, he was on the board of more than 20 nonprofit organizations.

Ted Adams, CEO and publisher at Idea and Design Works Publishing in San Diego, said his father was a role model to him his entire life.

"His influence continues to impact how I run my business, how I raise my son, and in the ways I try to give back to the community. I miss him terribly," Ted Adams said.

The endowed scholarship is a way that he and his wife found to honor his dad, he said.

"He was the first person in his family to graduate from college," Ted Adams said, "and I know he'd be very pleased to know that future students will benefit from a scholarship in his name."

Reach reporter Ruth Longoria Kingsland at 541-474-3718 or rkingsland@thedailycourier.com