“Cash” Adams, 94, Vero Beach
John L. “Cash” Adams, also known as Jack, of Vero Beach, passed away June 21, 2019. He was born Nov. 5, 1924, in Luzerne, Pa., to John and Giselle Adams.
The story goes that John L. Adams picked up the nickname “Cash” by buying rounds of drinks for his Marine buddies. Cash Adams was the inspiration for a lot of stories. Cash attended the Sacred Heart Grammar School, graduated from Luzerne High, and went on to the University of Scranton, where he lasted a year before joining his beloved Marines at the age of 18.
He fought hard with the Fifth Marine Division in the battle of Iwo Jima, as a mine defuser and stretcher bearer, a tour of duty he commemorated for the rest of his life with an “Iwo” license plate, and by his activities in the Marine Corps League of Barefoot Bay, often donning his old dress uniform (it still fit), and parading and cutting commemorative cakes, with a saber, on Veteran’s Day.
A visit with Cash always concluded with the proud Marine cry, “Semper Fi!”
After the war, Cash moved to Miami, attending the University of Miami law school, until the call of the wild beckoned once again. He and two buddies were commissioned by RKO-Pathe to film wild animals in Africa, and attempt to discover the fabled elephant burial ground.
They boarded the cargo ship the African Grow and sailed to Angola, spending eight months on the dark continent, exploring the Belgian Congo, Tanganika, and Northern Rhodesia, before finally leaving Africa from Mozambique with miles of documentary film.
Cash estimated he’d been shot, by needles, eighteen times in preparation for the expedition – for cholera, typhoid, yellow fever and lots more. “It wasn’t the wild animals that worried us so much. It’s the prevalence of disease,” he told the Wilkes Barre Evening News in 1953. But they were attacked by wild animals, in particular a rhino displeased by their filming, and charged by a herd of a dozen wild elephants, also camera-shy.
The adventurer then returned to Miami, where he met his lifelong friends Bob and Norma Maxwell, and essentially joined the circus, their circus, the Aqua-Spectacular water show, traveling throughout the U.S. and Europe.
Cash, who had been on his swim team at university, parlayed that talent into performing flaming high dives off a 30 foot tower and Houdini-like handcuffed underwater escapes. If the Jack Parr Tonight Show had a better archive,we could still see one of those escapes today. And then there were the ladies.
As far as we know, he was only married once, for 10 years, but photographic evidence shows him with his arm around many bevies of beauties. A note he saved from one admirer gives you some idea of his charm. “I loved the time we smooched in the back of my car. Hope you liked it here at my school. Drop in again sometime.”
In the ’60s he settled down, a bit, in Miami, where, for 20 years, he ran a pool maintenance company called Pool Care. He still found time to captain sail boats around the Caribbean, and attend “Rainbow Gatherings” in the wilderness.
In the ’90s, his water show pals Bob and Norma moved to Dorset, Vt., and he did, too, along with his canine buddy, Little Girl. Later, when his sister Lorraine broke her leg, he and Little Girl moved to New Jersey, to help keep an eye on her, and attempt to convert her to the vegetarianism he’d come to espouse. (It didn’t work.)
When Lorraine recovered, Cash came back to Florida, first to Sebastian, then to Vero Beach, where he made even more friends, and where his colorful story finally came to an end, at the age of 94.
Cash Adams was a lot of things to a lot of people. Both a Marine and a free spirit, he loved the water, adventure, dogs, and people. Not necessarily in that order.
He is survived by his sister, Lorraine Harabin, of Kenilworth, N.J.; his brother, William Adams, of Harvey’s Lake, Pa.; his nephews, Victor Harabin and Paul Adams; and his nieces, Laura Adams and Georgine Harabin; and many great-nephews and -nieces; and hundreds of friends.
At 10 a.m., Friday, Aug. 2, there will be a commemorative funeral mass for Cash Adams at St. Johns of the Cross Catholic Church in Vero Beach.
Elizabeth Wichner Kurz, 93, Vero Beach
Elizabeth Wichner Kurz, 93, died June 28, 2019, at Cleveland Clinic – Indian River Hospital in Vero Beach.
She was born in Philadelphia, Pa., and had been a long-time resident of Tafton, Pa., before moving to Vero Beach in July of 2018.
Betty received her Bachelor’s Degree from NYU and enjoyed working as a reporter and columnist for The Local Review in New Jersey.
She served in the Cadet Nurse Corps during WWII and was a member of the Board of Education for the Westwood New Jersey Regional School District. Betty enjoyed sailing, playing the piano and spending time with family.
Survivors include her daughters Georgann K. Peiffer (husband, Keith) of Vero Beach, Gene Elizabeth Kurz, Vero Beach, and Helen Virginia Kurz (spouse, Pat Lorec), of Sebastian.
She was preceded in death by her beloved husband, Albert Eugene Kurz.
Memorial contributions may be made to the American Heart Association, PO Box 840692, Dallas, TX 75284 or the National Kidney Foundation,1040 Woodcock Road, Ste. 119, Orlando, FL 32803 in Betty’s memory.
A private family service was held Wednesday, July 3, 2019 at Strunk Funeral Home in Sebastian to remember and honor her life.
Services entrusted to Strunk Funeral Home, Sebastian.
Paul Henry Van Vliet, 74, Vero Beach
Paul Henry Van Vliet, 74, of Vero Beach, passed away Friday, July 5, 2019, at his home.