James Rodney Adams; Jan 18, 1992 – Mar 31, 2017

James Rodney Adams, dearly, dearly beloved son of Rodney Blair Adams and Suann Christensen Adams; dearly, dearly beloved brother to Jakob, Nathaniel, Kaleb, and Seth; moved on from this life Friday morning at his home in North Ogden, Utah at the age of 25.

James was a gifted, brilliant young man.  He loved to dream up, design, and build things.  He intuitively understood highly complicated things such as computer programming, electrical and mechanical engineering, design, etc.  He could just read about stuff and figure it out and do it/refine it/make it “more”.  He was amazing.  He often said that his mind was constantly thinking about and analyzing how things worked and about how he could build or make them with innovations of his own or create completely new things.

One of his favorite projects was Christmas lights.  He designed, built, and programmed amazing light shows for our house and brought great joy to our community.  He and his dad were best buddies and partners in this with James being the genius brain behind it all, his Dad being the one who worked a little practical “magic” now and then, and all of us being willing “minions”/“slave labor” (ha, ha!).  What a tremendous family project!  James would run ideas by us all now and then and we would input thoughts and ideas.  But James was the creative genius and engineering force behind it all.  He excelled at creating marvels on a shoestring budget.  He loved showing people how it all worked.  Highly trained and educated people would visit to learn how he’d done things and were amazed at what he had and could accomplish.  As one man said, “For all of us engineers, James was our hero.  He could design and build anything.”  James was truly brilliant.

He had begun work on further additions to his light show and had a Christmas light TV program wanting him to be a contestant on their program about which he was really excited.  His biggest goal for this year was to win on that show, “The Great Christmas Light Fight”.

Our house was known as the “Christmas lights house”.  One of his greatest joys was to see people lined up around the block and down the street waiting for a turn to watch the light show.  He got a tremendous “kick” out of seeing people hanging out of their car windows taking pictures or videos with their phones or dancing and singing along in the street.  So many people, including strangers, have communicated how this show brought joy to their Christmas season.  One of the songs used was “Light Me Up”, by Owl City.  It’s lyrics summed up a lot of James’ life philosophies of love and service to others, of just getting along with each other, and of peace on earth.  Video can be viewed at MrRocketman.com, James’ website.  There is a place for public comments.

Another of James’ big interests was fireworks.  He and his Uncle Jesse’s July 4 and New Years electronically run fireworks shows were legendary in our community – “better than the “real” shows” was a frequent comment.  James worked with some of the fireworks companies in the SLC area to set up and shoot big community shows as well.

James’ other hobbies and interests included high power rocketry (member NRA (National Rocket Association – had his level 2 certification) and UROC (Utah Rocket Club)), making and shooting fireworks (member SLAP (Salt Lake Area Pyros), licensed pyrotechnician), 3D printing, CNC machining, quad copters, photography, electric skate boarding, model airplanes, rock climbing, hiking, camping, traveling, volleyball, welding, snow boarding, wake boarding/surfing, solar power, SpaceX, Tesla, Apple, Elon Musk, Steve Jobs, and just learning, learning, learning.

He designed and built his own 3D printers, a CNC machine, rockets, electric skateboards, as well as many versions of different kinds of Christmas lights.

James firmly believed in and encouraged Open Source and thought that this world would be a much better place if we could all share information that way and not have to be caught up in the money making aspects of it all.

James had created an amazing computer network here at our home using ethernet, NAS drive, etc.

James graduated from Weber High School as a 4.0 student, having taken several AP classes.  He attended Utah State University on a 4 year, full-ride presidential scholarship.

He helped write and publish iPhone apps with his older brother.  He had a 3D printing business and sold fireworks in the summers.  He fixed other people’s computers and iPhones, iPads etc.  He was saving up for a Tormach CNC machine and planned to move into that area of business as well.

He was a big fan of Apple and was an Apple developer.  He loved the annual World Wide Developers conference to see what cool new things they would be announcing.

James was an active, worthy, temple-recommend holding member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. He served in the Carlsbad California mission.  He served in the Young Men’s/Scouting program and was an Eagle Scout, head earned the On My Honor scouting award, had earned the Young Men’s Duty To God award, and was a graduate of the Weber High Seminary program.  James currently served as the North Ogden 1st Ward finance clerk; as a home teacher with his almost-86-year-old Grampa Bear for a partner; as an assistant stake clerk (technology); and was part of the North Ogden Utah Stake emergency preparation team over radio communications.  James was developing a plan for our area involving quad copter fly-overs in the event of an emergency. James could be relied on to faithfully complete any assignment given.  The night before he died, James had assisted in giving priesthood blessings to some of his dad’s home teaching family members as his dad was unavailable, and had attended a stake emergency preparation meeting and radio check.

James loved his family and they loved him.  He loved being with them and sharing good times.  He willingly served and helped all of us in so many ways, and was especially helpful to his aging grandparents next door.  He loved to play board games with family and extended family.  “Dirty Nell” (a board game involving marbles and dice) was a favorite.  He left beautiful love notes for each of his family members, his grandparents, a couple of cousins, and an aunt and uncle who were all so close to him and beloved by him.

A few of his favorite highlights:  adventures with his best buddy and cousin Ethan; taking his littlest brother on adventures such as rock climbing and skate boarding and electric skate boarding; the semi-annual SLAP fireworks shoots in Wyoming; the annual high power UROC rocket shoot at the Bonneville Salt Flats; camping with family and friends in southern Utah and other places; Scout camps and Young Men’s High Adventure and Youth Conference trips and adventures in southern Utah, Havasupai, and other places; attending the WinterBlast at Lake Havasu learning-to-build-fireworks event with his Uncle Jess; white water rafting with cousins and uncle; learning about and helping others with new technology – “ask James” was a very very common phrase in our family and extended family and ward and neighborhood; he helped his mom with Logic Pro (a music notation computer program) and with recording and getting some of her music on her website; he loved watching documentaries about science and space and technology and things like that – Mythbusters was also a favorite; he was continually teaching us all amazing things; he was a continual example for good in love, kindness, patience, all-around-goodness, and his amazing work ethic.  James was always learning and doing and building, interspersed with bouts of family fun and adventures with cousins and family.  He enjoyed watching BYU men’s volleyball.  While growing up, he enjoyed watching his Dad play volleyball and then playing on city league volleyball teams with his Dad, cousins, brother and others when he was old enough.  He loved ice cream, just like his Gramma Cookie.  He was very proud of the fact that he could consume an entire largest size Jake’s Over the Top shake, or an entire largest size Kirt’s Cherry Sprite Freeze before any of the rest of us had made much of a dent in ours.  His personal ice cream philosophy is to keep eating as much as you can, as fast as you can, because when you stop, that’s when the brain freeze sets in.  He loved all of our family gatherings for birthdays and other events.  He loved hanging out with and playing games and volleyball with his cousins.  He dreamed of seeing the world and got to take a few awesome road trips over the past 6-8 months with a favorite second cousin and dear friend, Jacobi, to southern Utah, California, Canada, Washington, and Oregon and was planning a future big trip to Alaska with Jacobi, Ethan, and another cousin, Rachel as well as a small southern Utah trip with his mom and younger brothers scheduled for this week.

James had big, big dreams.  He wanted to invent amazing things and make a difference in the world.  His MrRocketman.com website bears the subtitle  “Everything Awesome”.  One of his favorite sayings was “I’m always up for an adventure”.

James’ family still on this planet:  Rod and Suann Adams, parents; Nathaniel, Kaleb, and Seth Adams, younger brothers (North Ogden); Jakob (Amy) Adams (CA), oldest brother; Martell and Cleo Christensen, beloved grandparents; Becky, Jesse, Tyrell (Amanda, Peyton) (NV), and Ethan Farnes, beloved second family (North Ogden); Roger and Kristie Adams family, (Rexburg ID); Evona and Jon Beesley family (Rexburg ID); RoLayne and Ray Brown family (Roy); Robert and Karla Adams family (Ogden); Pam and Lynn Thompson family (Ogden); Gareld and Helen Christensen (North Ogden); Jacobi Spresser and family, 2nd cousin (Pittsburg Kansas); and numerous other extended family members.  James was preceded to the next life by his dearly loved Grandpa and Grandma Sam and Melba Adams (Ogden).

James made a difference in our world, to his family, friends, neighbors, and everyone who knew him.  He was everybody’s hero and shining star.  He was an incredible inspiration to all of us for good and for working to push boundaries and learn and do.  We know he is doing the same where he’s at now.  We love him so much and can’t wait to meet up with him again in the next life to see what he’s been up to there.

We love you James.  We wish so very, very, very, very, very much that you could have stayed with us.  We miss you so much.  Be happy and keep on going!  We will be together again.

  • David-Sherylyn Parkinson

    Wonderful Tribute….Wonderful Guy…..Wonderful Family…..God Bless you all…Thank you again for the amazing Christmas lights display. Love IT !!

  • Jeff Favero

    James had such a quick way of smiling back at you that would always brighten my day. What an amazing brain on that guy, and I love how creative and giving he was with his many abilities. We will miss you James!

  • Jeff Favero

    Hope this is ok. I thought it’d be nice to share this video of his 2016 Christmas lights! https://youtu.be/PWg7FCV6Zd4 James was so talented!

  • Jenny Ross

    I am so sorry to hear about your loss. So heartbreaking. I knew James when he was little but it sounds like he is an amazing person who lived life in great ways. Thank you for sharing his beautiful soul with us. I love your family and send my love and comfort to you all. Love Jenny Ross

  • Keith D. Preece

    Rod and Suann, Martell and Cleo,

    I am so very very sorry to hear of the loss of your son and grandson James. Having lost a son at the age of 24 I feel some of what you are experiencing. Words won’t mend and acts are helpful and appreciated however the pain is overwhelming. What will help is your testimonies and profound faith in and of our Savior. Answers will come in time. Understanding will probably have to wait until you see James again, and you will see James again!!!

    Rod and Suann ours paths have crossed a few times. I love and respect you both. Martell and Cleo, working many years with Martell was a joy. His testimony and love for others was always evident in his actions.

    My love to each one in your family. Hold each other tight and know James is. If in the future you would allow me to visit you at your home, it would be my honor. God Bless you all. I pray the Lord’s tender mercies will be with each of you.

  • Lynette P Nordgren

    I am so very sorry for the loss of your son, James. I didn’t know him as well as your other boys, but like your other boys, I could tell he had a good, good heart. Please know that Alan and I are thinking of your family and praying for you during this very difficult time. We look up to you all so much!

  • Aaron Budge

    An awesome tribute to a wonderful young man and a fantastic family. All of our love from the Budge family in Minnesota.

  • Charlotte Ekstrom

    James’ influence is far reaching. He will be missed greatly by many, whether they knew him personally or not. Adams family, we are grateful for you who remain on Earth. You’re in our hearts and prayers. ❤️

  • Jill Ferrin Bailey

    Rodney, SuAnn and family,
    I am so sorry Cousin you have to go through this. He was a wonderful young man and a funny guy.
    My prayers are with you, let me know what I can do for you

  • Rebecca Roe Hale

    I was directed here from a comment on a KSL.com story. I don’t know anyone in this family, but as a human with a heart, I am so deeply sorry for your loss. Cleary, James was a wonderful, talented, and much-loved human being. And of course he is still much-loved.

  • Loretta Shupe

    This is so beautiful. What a wonderful man. We’ll sure look forward to seeing him again!

  • Russell Bingham

    Here is a part of the fireworks tribute for James.(minus 1 minute or so) The Adams put it on last night at his graveside(04.08.2017). A beautiful celebration of a young man who embraced the beauties of life to the fullest.

    James, thanks for being a kind and faithful hometeacher to our family. We love you and your family and will never forget you.

    -The Binghams- Russell, Micah, Abigail, Hannah, Rebekah, Sarah, and Lydia

    p.s.- James, thanks for the beautiful snow… nice touch!!!

  • meg

    My family loves the lights, and stop by often to watch. My husband, an engineer, loved the name “Mr. Rocketman” and your son’s love for EE. I am so sorry you will not get to hold your son for a long time. My family lost a loved one three years ago to suicide, and we all just remind ourselves– we can do hard things.

  • David

    I was only now looking at James’ Owl City sequence and getting ideas from it to use in my own. I was extremely saddened and moved when I read this, it has literally stopped me in my tracks. Such a tragic loss of an extremely creative and brilliant mind, and a generous and giving person as well. My sincerest thoughts and condolences go out to all that knew him. I’m sure he is wowing them up there with things they haven’t even thought of.

  • Eric

    I was so sorry to learn of your passing and my prayers go out to your family. I drove down from Smithfield to see your lightshow and hoped to find out a little more about how you made your wonderful carousel Nativity tree as I would really like to do something like that. It was truly a work of art and Testimony of our Savior’s Birth. God Bless your family Thank you for the awesome light show. I was privileged to see it live last year.