San Jose and Gilroy
– More than 800 mourners gathered Tuesday to honor senior
football standout Lovell Keith
Adams at Valley Christian High School. Mourners awoke to gray
sky and rain
– a fitting scene under the circumstances.
San Jose and Gilroy – More than 800 mourners gathered Tuesday to honor senior football standout Lovell Keith “JR” Adams at Valley Christian High School. Mourners awoke to gray sky and rain – a fitting scene under the circumstances.
Adams was killed March 18 by a hit-and-run driver when crossing a dark highway while on vacation with his family and friends in Cancun, Mexico.
Cars wound around the entranceway of Valley Christian High School, clogging adjoining streets as they made their way into the parking lot for the morning service.
Mourners gathered in the school’s gymnasium, many wearing traditional black, and others dressed in sweatshirts and T-shirts bearing his number, 3, and his name. Some even wore Adams’ image painted across their backs and chests. His teammates honored him by wearing their football jerseys.
The bleachers were packed. Championship banners hung overheard – a symbol of Adams’ success as a football player. The crowd, pouring out into the hallways, was a symbol of his success as a person.
“My dad used to say that if you wanted to measure a man’s wealth – don’t look at how much money he has. Ask his friends,” said longtime family friend Roger Mitchell. “Look around. JR was a very wealthy person.”
Family members and friends spoke of a young man who never stopped smiling or caring for others. They shared stories of his dedication to God and family.
“He would talk to K.C. (his father) about everything. About anything. You just don’t see that a lot nowadays,” Mitchell said.
The 17-year old had recently been voted as a starter in the Silicon Valley Youth Classic/Charlie Wedemeyer All-Star Football game this summer and received a full scholarship to Idaho State. He died without ever knowing. Football coach Mike Machado had planned on surprising Adams once he returned from Cancun.
“I pray and I hope that he knows those things,” he said during the service.
Machado spoke of “JR Adams the football player.” On paper he was captain of his team – a running back who rushed 924-yards during the 2004 regular season and was voted first team All-League in the West Catholic Athletic League. He led the league in scoring, and was one of the top rushers and receivers. Voted WCAL Running Back of the Year – he helped his team earn the Central Coast Section division title.
“Good things happened when no. 3 had the ball,” Machado said.
But Adams was more than what the paper read.
“He did it right,” Machado said, describing a loyal teammate who was more than just a good athlete. Machado spent the weekend reviewing football tapes, watching Adams commend his teammates, picking them up, and perfecting drills.
“He did it right, play after play,” he said. “The lowest point of my career has become the greatest honor.”
Adams was a son. A brother. A boyfriend. A student. A disciple of God.
“He was an all around good kid,” said former teammate Martin Serrano Jr. “Whenever he was around, good things happened. JR was never selfish. He always put his friends first.”
Some of those friends and family watched a slideshow at the funeral. In every photograph he was smiling or making others smile with his antics. The solemn air was lifted when a video of his football plays was revealed. Applause erupted when Adams accelerated past the competition – almost untouchable.
In a final show of respect to conclude the service, his teammates took to the football field. Many of them later served as pallbearers at the burial in Gavilan Hills Memorial Park.
Hundreds drove from Valley Christian to attend the burial. Even the sun managed to come out, chasing the rain clouds from the cemetery. Adams’ silver casket was laden with red roses, and surrounded by floral displays. Some placed their hands upon its frame – for one final touch of the young man they loved.
Adams took his relationship with God very seriously. He was known to pray in public at restaurants, and openly profess his belief. He spent countless hours sharing God with others, his father said.
“That’s how I know exactly where he is,” the elder Adams told mourners. “I know exactly where he is.”
Memorial fund concert
The Suave Band, friends of K.C. Adams, will perform Saturday, April 9 at the Krazy Koyote in Gilroy, to raise money for the JR Memorial Fund. The show starts at 7pm and is open to minors. Tickets are $10. Additional donations to the JR Memorial Fund can be made at Community Bank of Central California, 761 First St., Gilroy; account no. 110005402 or by mailing checks to Valley Christian Schools JR Adams Fund, 100 Skyway Dr., San Jose, CA 95111.