Billie Wyatt Adams

Former Durango resident Billie Marie Wyatt Adams died Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013, in Surprise, Ariz. She was 88. The cause of death was complications after a fall at her home the week before.

Mrs. Adams was born to Luther and Allie Wyatt on Aug. 30, 1924, in Oxford, Ark. She grew up in Oklahoma and after high school moved in with her older sister, Armilda. While attending a USO party in South Carolina, she met her future husband, Wallace Adams.

Upon his return from World War II, they married and moved to Venezuela, where Mr. Adams was a geologist for Creole Oil Co., an antecedent of ExxonMobil, and she worked as a secretary. After seven years, they returned to the United States to live in southern Illinois.

The young family was transferred to Durango during its first oil boom in the late 1950s. The Adamses built their dream home on a knoll overlooking the Animas River, naming it the Ponderosa.

Mrs. Adams studied botany at Fort Lewis College and enjoyed working in the FLC greenhouse. She built a small greenhouse.

A year after the family moved into the Ponderosa, the oil industry transferred Mr. Adams to Midland, Texas. Mrs. Adams joined the Pyracantha Garden Club and discovered flower arranging. She took numerous courses, becoming president of the club and a nationally accredited flower show judge.

When Mr. Adams retired, the couple returned to Durango. They built a second home and the Tercero Apartments on West Third Avenue. They joined a discussion group that solved the issues of the world each month over carefully crafted dinners and attended reunions with Mr. Adams’ 406th Fighter Group.

In the decade since her husband’s death, Mrs. Adams had continued to summer in Durango and winter in Surprise. She was an active member of Animas Valley Garden Club and Washington Garden Club of Phoenix. Mrs. Adams judged flowers and arrangements in county fairs in western Colorado and northern New Mexico, including last year at the La Plata County Fair.

She was a regular attendee at meetings regarding construction of the Animas River Trail.

Mrs. Adams was preceded in death by her husband, Wallace Wayne Adams.

She is survived by her daughters Caroni Adams and Isabelle “Marty” Schueller, both of Durango, Whitney Hawley of Moab, Utah, and Melda Adams of Kingwood, Texas; eight grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

A funeral will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, March 2, 2013, at First Presbyterian Church of Durango, 1159 East Third Ave. Burial will take place afterward at Greenmount Cemetery.