Brewster, MA — Florence May Wheelock Adams passed away on Sunday, December 1, dying peacefully in her home surrounded by her immediate family.
Florence was the devoted and loving wife of Norman I. Adams III and mother of their four children, Pamela of Durham, N.C., Sarah of Newburyport, Norman IV of Palo Alto, and Daniel of Wilton, Conn. In addition, she is survived by her six grandchildren, Matthew, Alison, Andrew, Josephine, Samantha, and Daniel; as well as by her brother-in-law, Harry Adams of Wichita, Kan.
Born August 7, 1921, in Boston, Florence became a ward of the state soon after her birth and was shuttled from one foster home to another. Her early years were marked by uncertainty, loneliness, and adversity. She learned at a very early age to work hard.
Florence attended Orleans High School, graduating in 1940. It was there that she met Emma (“Emmy”) Corcoran. They became instant and ultimately lifelong friends, there for each other for 61 years until Emmy’s death. Emmy’s family welcomed Florence and was her first real family.
Florence worked for a while as a waitress at the first franchised Howard Johnson’s restaurant (now the Lost Dog Pub). In March 1943, she enlisted in the Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps. The WAAC soon became the Women’s Army Corps where Florence proudly served her country as a surgical technician. After being honorably discharged on November 30, 1945, she moved to the Boston area looking for work and a new life.
Eventually Florence took advantage of the G.I. Bill and attended a secretarial school. Subsequently she went to Japan for a couple of years as an office worker in the postwar reconstruction of the Japanese government. She was flown there by the U.S. but when her stint was completed, she was transported back by ship, re-entering the United States at Seattle on March 13, 1954. She returned to Boston, got a job as a secretary in Liberty Mutual, and was living in Cambridge where she met her future husband.