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1926 Charles 2019

Charles T. Adams

November 17, 1926 — June 25, 2019

Charles T. “Ace” Adams

Charles T. Adams, Wilkes-Barre, died of natural causes on June 25, 2019. He was 92.

Charles was the youngest of four children of Charles Augustus Adams and Catherine Mary Bradshaw. Like many families during the 1930s in Wilkes-Barre, Charles was raised during the depression in a poor but happy family by loving parents and considered his life to be blessed, and complete.

Charles attended G.A.R. Memorial High School, Class of 1944. During his senior year in high school, at age 17, he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps. He became a telecommunications specialist in the Third Marine Air Wing and was deployed to Midway Island in the Pacific as WWII hostilities concluded and later became part of the Military Police at the Marine base in Honolulu. After the war, he returned to Wilkes-Barre and attended recently opened King's College where he earned degrees in accounting and education in 1951. While at King's he was a member of the football team and served as class treasurer and yearbook sports editor. Most significantly while at King’s, Charles met the love of his life, Joan Betzler, whom he married in 1951.

Upon graduation from King's, he worked briefly for the General Accounting Office in Washington, D.C. as an auditor. In October 1951 he was appointed by J. Edgar Hoover as a special agent of the FBI. As a special agent, he served in San Diego, Chicago, and Philadelphia before settling again in Wilkes-Barre as the senior special agent in charge of the Northeastern PA region. He retired from the FBI after 28 years. His FBI career focused on counter-espionage, organized crime and white-collar fraud. His career highlights included the apprehension of one of the FBI’s then ten most wanted fugitives, serving as case agent investigating the emerging Nation of Islam organization and the Socialist Workers Party (communist followers of Leon Trotsky). Also, during his FBI career, he had the honor of meeting presidents Kennedy and Nixon.

Following his retirement from the FBI, Charles was appointed Executive Director of the Luzerne-Wyoming Counties Bureau for the Aging. During his 14-year career, the Bureau established numerous innovative programs to better the lives of the elderly. He was especially proud of the senior center program where he created multi-service centers in Tunkhannock, Pittston, Kingston, and Wilkes-Barre. Upon his retirement from the Bureau, the downtown Wilkes-Barre senior center was renamed the Charles T. Adams Senior Center. Charles was also awarded a Key to the City of Wilkes-Barre by then-Mayor Namey and received numerous citations from the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and Senate. Charles believed that while the FBI afforded him many career highlights, he was most proud and gratified by his time with the Bureau of Aging improving the lives of so many of the region's elderly population.

Following his second retirement, Charles started his third career leading Adams Investigative Services where he spends 15-plus years as a fraud investigator for the Luzerne County and Wilkes-Barre Housing Authorities, and the Commission on Economic Opportunity. Charles also served on the boards or advisory councils of Diversified Medical Systems, Inc., Mercy Health Care Foundation, Commission on Economic Opportunity – Senior Market, Senior Community Employment Program, Nanticoke Area Healthcare Development Corp., Ecumenical Enterprises Inc., Wilkes-Barre Association for the Blind and the Foster Grandparent Program.

Charles was a 25-year member of the Wyoming Valley Country Club where he loved to golf with close friends, family, and his wife, Joan. Charles and Joan spent many winters in Florida and Myrtle Beach. He was an avid reader of fact-based fiction and an old movie collector. He was always true to his Catholic faith and regularly thanked God for his lifetime of good health, family, and friends. He’s been a member of St. Ignatius of Loyola church in Kingston since 1963.

Charles was preceded in death by his brothers, Francis (1972) and Joseph (1992), and sister, Florence (1980).

Charles will be greatly missed by his wife of sixty-seven years, the former Joan G. Betzler, a resident of Highland Park Senior Living; their children, Mark Adams and wife Kimberly of Vancouver, WA, Susan Coombs and husband Lonnie of Blue Bell, Paula Adams of Edwardsville, and Matthew Adams and wife Michele of Gladwyne; nine grandchildren, Matthew Adams of Seattle, Tessa Adams and husband Adam Kahraman of Beverly Hills, Jenna Adams of Santa Barbara, Brian Coombs and wife Heather of Conshohocken, Adam Coombs of Blue Bell, Abigail Coombs of Philadelphia, Mackenzie, Carly and Anna Adams of Philadelphia.

The entire Adams Family is grateful to the management and staff of Highland Park Senior Living for their extraordinary care and compassion for Ace during his time at Highland Park.

Celebration of Charles' Life will be held Monday, July 1, 2019, with visitation from 8:30 to 10 AM at McLaughlin's, 142 South Washington Street in Wilkes-Barre followed by a Funeral Mass at 10:30 AM in the Church of Saint Ignatius Loyola in Kingston.

Memorial donations to the charity of your choice are preferred.

Memories and condolences may be shared with Charles’ family at
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Service Schedule

Past Services


Monday, July 1, 2019

8:30 - 10:00 am (Eastern time)

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Funeral Mass

Monday, July 1, 2019

Starts at 10:30 am (Eastern time)

Church of Saint Ignatius Loyola

339 North Maple Avenue, Kingston, PA 18704

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