Agnes Claire Adams—dedicated educator, community volunteer, board member, and church member—died peacefully on May 15, 2019 at home in Heatherwood, Yarmouthport. She was 94.
Born in New Jersey on October 29, 1924, Agnes was the second child of Molly and Charlie Adams. Her sister Joan Adams died in 2017. The sisters were a gift from the trenches of World War I. Under assault in France at the battle of the Hindenburg Line, Charlie Adams met John Heffernan, a big kid who had lied about his age (16) and enlisted with a friend. Charlie immediately committed himself to looking after “the kid.” Charlie was wounded, but they both made it back to New Jersey, where John invited his friend home to meet the family. Charlie, however, only had eyes for John’s older sister, Molly. They were married within six months. Agnes and Joan were the happy result.
Educated at New Jersey and New York schools, Agnes received her degree in education from Columbia Teacher’s College, New York City around 1945. As a teacher, she rapidly advanced through the Eastchester School District in New York to become a revered principal. A heart condition caused her early retirement. Inseparable since birth, Agnes and her sister Joan then moved to their beloved Cape Cod. They also traveled the US and Europe, cherishing and vividly recalling every detail.
Tall and elegant with a kindly, commanding presence and deep voice—backed by keen intelligence, wisdom, and good judgment—Agnes was welcomed in leadership and other volunteer roles for several of Cape Cod’s non-profit organizations. For 12 years, she was an especially enthusiastic board member of Nauset Inc., a disability services agency, now known as Cape Abilities. Like her sister Joan, Agnes was an active member and compassionate, modernizing voice of several Cape Cod parishes, most recently St. Pius X in South Yarmouth.
With a kind word for everyone, the Adams sisters were recognized and loved by many in their Cape Cod world and beyond. Agnes’s response to all good news, “That’s WONderful!” will be sorely missed, especially by her close first cousins:Jack Heffernan of Bridgton, ME, Aurelie Heffernan Druckenmiller of Garden City, NY, Jeanne Heffernan Murphy of Roswell, GA, Nancy Heffernan Williams of Monterey, CA, Margaret Heffernan Jimenez of Cordoba, Spain, Connie Heffernan McGann of Teaneck, NJ, Judy Adams Scotnicki of Concord, MA, Michael Hann of Mystic, CT, Vicki Hann-Bowie of Maryland, Jean Hann Allen of Washington, DC, Linda Bolognesi of Annandale, VA; multiple nieces and nephews throughout the world; and Agnes and Joan’s step-sister Carla Adams Holyst of Farmington, CT.
Those who took intimate care of Agnes and Joan in their Heatherwood apartment since 2014—the sisters’ fragile years—may miss Agnes most of all because the bond was mutual and deep. The family is deeply grateful to Sheila Murphy of West Yarmouth and her home health-care team, who surrounded Agnes as she took her last breath, as well as to Cindy Mancini, RN of Visiting Nurses Association Hospice.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Agnes Adam’s memory may be made to Cape Abilities, Att. Development, 895 Mary Dunn Rd., Hyannis, MA 02601 or to the Visiting Nurses Association Hospice, 434 Route 134, Suite D3, S. Dennis, MA 02660. A memorial Mass at St. Pius X Church with reception to follow will be scheduled for the fall.