Bartlesville Historian Talks Of Bud Adams' Legacy In Oklahoma

Tuesday, October 22nd 2013, 5:38 pm
By: News On 6

The world of professional football is mourning the death of one of Oklahoma's Own. Bud Adams died Monday at 90 years old.

He owned the Tennessee Titans and helped found the American Football League. But before all of that he got his start in Bartlesville.

The journey began inside a home on Dewey Avenue in Bartlesville. Bud Adams, legendary football pioneer, grew up there.

Adams passed away Monday in Houston at 90 years old. His life touched thousands, and even after leaving Bartlesville so long ago, he never forgot his roots and never truly left Oklahoma.

"[Adams was] someone who was insightful, who had that skill and that sense of this is going to make it work," said Joan Singleton, of the Bartlesville Area History Museum.

Singleton knows of Adams' impact first hand. His donation to the Bartlesville Area History Museum has paid for staff and equipment to bring antique photos into the digital age.

10/22/2013 Related Story: Oklahoma's Own Bud Adams Dies At 90

"It just shows that willingness to invest in your community, and that's what he did by donating to the museum. He invested in this community, so that we could tell the story on our history and do it better," Singleton said.

The history of Bartlesville can't be told without the Adams family. His grandfather, George Keeler, was one of the founding fathers of Bartlesville. His father, Boots Adams, president of Phillips 66 at 38 years old. He was also a talented athlete, playing football and basketball, and some say that is where his son Bud forged his own love of sports.

The Adams family legacy goes beyond Bartlesville and into the Cherokee Nation, where his uncle served as the Nation's Chief for 26 years.

W.W. Keeler helped draft a new constitution for the Cherokees and established the Cherokee Foundation.

Bud Adams was always proud of his Cherokee heritage. The Adams Corner at the Cherokee Heritage Center is named for his mother.

It all makes for a lasting legacy, indeed, from a family whose mark will always be felt in Oklahoma.

"They have that vision to see things and, 'What do we do and how do we make this work?' and the get-up-and-go to make it happen. It says a lot for that family, it says it's a strong family," Singleton said.

Funeral arrangements have not been announced.

Bud Adams' wife died in 2009. He is survived by two daughters and seven grandchildren.