Obituary: Mark David Adams


March 21, 1963 - June 3, 2020

Mark David Adams, an Alaskan fisherman and devoted family man died peacefully on June 3, 2020 in Cordova, AK, at home. He was born in Spokane, WA, to Bonnie and Gene Adams on March 21, 1963 and grew up in Metaline, WA, where he graduated from Selkirk High School in 1981.

He was known for his hilarious storytelling, his knack for managing his commercial fishing business with several boats and motley crews, and his unending enthusiasm for coaching basketball. Foremost, he was a loyal and loving family man whose children were his pride and joy.

Mark attended Eastern Washington University where he was interested in teaching history as well as studying radio and television broadcasting. He had a creative side and performed in plays in high school where he was voted ‘class clown’ so he decided to try out his acting skills at EWU. In the audition the students were asked to perform a fight scene. Mark says the guys were gingerly pretending to fight so he went out, got physical and started throwing people around. He ended up with the lead in the Arthur Miller production “A View from the Bridge.”  Later he played Scrooge in the Metaline Falls Community Theater. 

Mark had a strong work ethic. While studying in college he worked full time for a while managing an auto repair and gas station. One summer after graduating from high school he went to Alaska to work in a cannery but found lines of people waiting for a job. He was almost out of money so he followed the foreman around everywhere, at his annoyance, until he finally hired him to slime fish. After working long hours, Mark would sneak up into the second story of the cannery where they stored boxes and sleep until it was time to go to work in the morning.  He went back to Alaska to work every summer for the rest of his life. He always loved and appreciated Cordova for the opportunities it gave people who had nothing but wanted to work hard.  

He had take-charge organizational skills and when he was 22 he got a winter job working in at Western Washington sawmill. After a couple of months he became the night foreman with a crew of over 40 people. In Alaska, he worked cannery jobs for several summers before he finally obtained a coveted seine deckhand position. He knew after his first day of fishing that he had found his vocation for life. He told us, “The rest of the crew was mad at me because we weren’t catching any fish but I kept saying, ‘Let’s make another set!’” It amazed him to see the fish pulled out of the ocean. 

In March of 1987 Mark met Julie in a Chinese restaurant-bar where they danced and talked. Later that night he told his family that he had met the woman he was going to marry.

 In 1989, Mark skippered a seine boat doing clean up and habitat protection in Prince William Sound after the Exxon Valdez oil spill. Julie also worked on the boat and along with other crew members, they were at sea for five months straight.

Mark and Julie were married in 1993. 

Through the years Mark built his commercial fishing business where he gillnetted, seined, crabbed, tendered, did oil spill response work and leased boats. All three of his children visited and later crewed on his boats. He appreciated his long winters off with his family. 

He loved coaching basketball and volunteered for 17 years. He helped organize the Blaine Basketball AAU program and volunteered with Blaine basketball  for 13 years. He had a blast and considered the parents and players his Blaine basketball family.

Mark’s favorite things were to chat with his friends and watch his three kids participate in all of their activities. He coached all of his children at some point in basketball and was the captain to their crew. He always said his best time was when all of his family was at home together. We love and miss him very, very much. 

Mark is survived by his wife, Julie Adams of Spokane, WA.; his daughter, Jaclyn Adams of Cleveland, OH;  daughter Olivia Adams of Seattle; his son Ben Adams of Cordova, AK; his mother Bonnie Adams of Metaline, WA; sister Cynthia (Don) Brocha of Woodinville, WA; sister Laurie Lyons of Anchorage, AK; sister Sarah Quintana
of Lakewood, WA; sister Jane Emrick of Ione, WA; brother-in-law Steve Young of Spokane; brother-in-law Jim Young of Spokane; and many nieces and nephews. Mark was preceded in death by his father, Gene Adams of Metaline, WA and his brother-in-law, Allen Emrick of Ione, WA.  

Considering all circumstances, there won’t be a memorial at this time. In lieu of flowers please consider donating to the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance.


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