Cover photo for Joel Lee Adams's Obituary
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1937 Dr. Joel Adams 2024

Joel Lee Adams

April 12, 1937 — February 1, 2024


Joel Lee Adams of Odessa, Texas was unexpectedly called to his heavenly home on Thursday, February 1, 2024, after a brief two week stay at Medical Center Hospital under hospice care. He peacefully, but reluctantly, succumbed to his critical medical conditions after a strong and brave battle to overcome his illnesses. He was loved, comforted, and supported at his bedside by his loyal wife, Charlotte; adoring daughter Sarahann; and devoted brother Don. After multiple organ failures, infections, and his body defenseless, Joel was welcomed and reunited with predeceased loved ones. Joel leaves behind his wife Charlotte and cherished daughter Sarahann of Odessa, Texas. He is also survived by his two older daughters, Cindy (Darrell) Sapp of Matthews, N.C. and Suzy Clendenen of Crane, Texas both who he loved eternally; Five grandchildren: Clayton and Lauren Sapp; Ryan, Drew and Sam Clendenen. His youngest brother, Donald (Cynthia) Adams of San Antonio, Texas and their six children: Henson (Abigail) Adams, Alex (Stephen) Bourne, Samantha (Danny) Whitehead, Harrison Adams, Henry (Ansley) Adams, and Sarah (Jacob) Pierce; Sisters-in-law Betty Adams, Debbie (Rob) Baker, Tammy (Joel) Bush; Brothers-in-law Paul (Nikki) Bizich, and Eddie Stitzer. He was predeceased by his parents Fayron and Sarah Adams, his brother Lowell B. Adams, and brother-in-law Joseph Bizich.. He was born in Odessa, Texas on April 12, 1937, at the Headlee Hospital, and three days later returned with his parents to his childhood home in Crane, Texas. He graduated from Crane High School, receiving the Best All Around Babe Ruth Award, lettered in football, baseball, band, and orchestra. He was Captain of the baseball team, President of the Slide Rule Club, a member of the National Honor Society, won two state essay contests, and was a candidate in rocket technology under Wener Von Braun. After graduation he attended Texas Christian University earning a Bachelor degree in 1959 with a major in Biology and Chemistry. He received numerous scholarships in Music, Baseball, Academics, and a full General Motors scholarship. Joel was a member of Alpha Chi Honor Society, and President of both the Biology and Chemistry clubs. Next, he was accepted to the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas, Texas and was awarded his Medical Degree in 1963. Ever the achiever, he was President of the Student American Medical Association junior and senior year, served a staff physician at the Tarrant County Blood Bank, and co-founded the “Student Research Forum” with mentor Dr. Gene Wilson, honored at the 30th anniversary years later. While in the lab of Dr. Montgomery, did research in Mitotic Phase Effects using time lapse photography, and performed cell culture studies with an innovative “flying spot” ultraviolet light technique. He closed out his training and teaching in Dallas at Parkland Memorial Hospital and ventured west to California. Dr. Adams completed his postgraduate training from 1963-1968 doing his Internship at the University of Southern California (USC) and Los Angeles County General Hospital; under Dr. Ed Dubose did a clerkship on Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) and with Dr. Max Harry Weil completed work in the “Shock Lab”, while he finished a three-year Internal Medicine Residency; and concluded with a Fellowship in Pulmonary Diseases as a researcher in Ozone Air Pollution, Pulmonary Physiology programming. He was licensed by the Texas Medical Board, the California Medical Board, certified by the American College of Physicians (ACP)-Internal Medicine, Board certified by the American College of Chest Physician (ACCP), and a Fellow of the American College of Chest Physicians (FCCP). During the Vietnam War, in 1968, he served as a Major in the United States Air Force (USAF), at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. As a Pulmonary Department staff physician, he organized the Pulmonary Physiology Lab at Wilford Hall Hospital and taught at the newly formed University of Texas San Antonio Medical School, a member of the “Space Lab Project at the USAF Aerospace Medical School of San Antonio, worked with Ken Cooper during the infancy of “Aerobics” research and co-authored several papers on the index case of Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Dr. Adams was awarded both the “Commendation of Merit” Award from the USAF, and the “Merit of Distinguished Service Award by former President Richard Nixon. In 1970, he opened his first private medical practice in Glendale, California-specializing in Internal Medicine, Pulmonary Diseases, and Critical Care. At Glendale Memorial Hospital, Glendale Adventist Medical Center, Behren’s-Verdugo Hills Hospital, and St. Joseph’s Burbank Hospital - chaired Pulmonary Departments, designed and opened Intensive Care Units, led the Bronchoscopy and Sleep Study labs, instituted the Perfusion Service Department for Cardiac Surgery and a Membrane Oxygenator, and was selected to work with the Heart-Lung transpland team. Served as Clinical Faculty at USC and Loma Linda Universities, rotating Interns and Residents on our Pulmonary and ICU service at Glendale Adventist Hospital. Additionally, elected to two terms as President of the Los Angeles County Medical Association, and chaired a nationally recognized annual Seminar in Pulmonary Diseases and Critical Care hosting visiting professors, dignitaries, and physicians. Served on the Glendale Memorial Hospital Board of Directors and was past Chief of Staff. After almost 25 years in the greater Los Angeles area, it was time to “go back home” to West Texas in 1994, and Joel and his wife relocated to Monahans, Texas, Texas; now being just over the caprock from his boyhood home of 3,000 people-Crane, Texas. Again, opened a private solo medical practice, was appointed Chief of Staff at Ward County Memorial Hospital, and took the role of Ward County Health Officer. Off days included work with the local Chamber of Commerce, high school football games, weekend amateur fossil hunts, and service to his church congregation. By 1996 he gravitated to the larger community of Odessa-Midland and was a member of the Medical Staff of numerous hospitals in both cities. He was a past EMR “Physician Champion”, Physician Liaison and member of the IT Steering Committee at Medical Center Hospital, past President of Permian Basin Healthcare Network and the Ector County Medical Society, an Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine at Texas Tech Health Sciences Center, as well as maintained a thriving medical practice, regularly admitted cases and remained on Active Medical Staff with numerous hospitals. Joel enjoyed many varied avocations and hobbies over the years which included fishing, model planes, flower and vegetable gardens, astronomy, model planes, AI projects, arrowhead and fossil finder, avid reader of many genres, 3-D printing, AI simulations, and even storm-chaser. In 2003, some of those interests were exchanged for the elated welcome of his third daughter, Sarahann Louise. There was never a happier, prouder, loving, boasting role than the one of “Sarahann’s father”. Weekly, if not daily Joel led reading and homework, attended a myriad of school award functions, sporting events, art and theatre performances, and cheer and dance competitions, all along serving as her biggest fan. Near his final days, he softly smiled, hugged, said his secret goodbyes, and pushed her back to semester classes. As the dad cried softly when a phone call ended, and had likely decided he wanted remembered as healthier and strong; he knew with faith, love, and certainty they would one day meet again. His family invites all friends and colleagues to share in honoring his amazing soul. Come celebrate joyfully his “Mayberry R.F.D.” memories, and his full and successful life. A memorial service will be held on Saturday, February 10, 2024, at 11a.m. at the Westminster Presbyterian Church in Odessa, Texas – officiated by Pastor John Wamsley and Reverend Jimmy Braswell, a reception will follow the service in the church Fellowship Hall. Arrangements are under the direction of Sunset Memorial Gardens and Funeral Home, with the burial also on Saturday, February 10, 2024, at 3p.m. in Crane, Texas at Crane Memorial Cemetery.

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Service Schedule

Past Services

Funeral Service

Saturday, February 10, 2024

Starts at 11:00 am (Central time)

Westminster Presbyterian Church

4901 Maple Ave, Odessa, TX 79762

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Saturday, February 10, 2024

Starts at 3:00 pm (Central time)

Crane Memorial Gardens

Crane, TX 79731

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