Funeral services set for Utah Shakespeare Festival founder Fred C. Adams

Fred C. Adams. Photo Courtesy: Utah Shakespeare Festival

CEDAR CITY, Utah, Feb. 12, 2020 (Gephardt Daily) — Funeral services have been announced for Utah Shakespeare Festival founder Fred C. Adams, who died last Thursday.

“It is with deep sadness that the Utah Shakespeare Festival and Southern Utah University share the news that Fred C. Adams, founder of the Festival, passed away early today in Cedar City, Utah,” says a statement released on that day by the festival.

“The state’s most prominent arts leader, Adams made a deep and lasting impact on everyone he met, and it is with a heavy heart that we say goodbye to our leader and friend. Words can’t express our sorrow or grief at this time.”

Adams’ obituary on the Utah Shakespeare Festival website says viewings will be held on Thursday, Feb. 13 from 5 p.m. to 8 pm, and the next morning from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at the Southern Utah Museum of Art in the Beverly Taylor Sorenson Center for the Arts, at 195 W. Center St. in Cedar City. Adams’ funeral will be held on Friday, Feb. 14 at 11 a.m. in the Randall L. Jones Theatre at 300 W. Center St. in Cedar City.

“To honor Fred, please wear something with a little sparkle,” the obituary says.

Fred has asked that donations be made to the Utah Shakespeare Festival in lieu of flowers.

Adams founded the Utah Shakespeare Festival in 1961 with his late wife Barbara Gaddie Adams, and served as its leader until his retirement in 2005.

His full obituary, posted on the Utah Shakespeare Festival website, reads:

In the early morning of Feb. 6, 2020, Fred Cruikshank Adams returned to his Heavenly Father, as well as his beloved wife Barbara after a 22 year long battle with cancer. We’re sure that the two of them are busy putting on a glitzy production for the angels.

Fred was born in Cedar City in 1931, and spent his early years in Parowan, Delta, and Montpelier, Idaho. He served at the Pentagon during the Korean War, in charge of entertainment and morale— bringing his joy and brilliance to the officers who served with him. Fred touched the lives of countless students as a professor at SUU for 38 years. He was a devout member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and served a three-year mission in Finland.

In 1961, Fred and Barbara dreamed up their craziest scheme to date: a Shakespearean festival in the hot Utah desert. With blood, sweat, tears, and glitter, they built the Utah Shakespearean Festival into the renowned institution it is today. Throughout his career, Fred received a myriad of prestigious awards and recognitions, including the coveted Tony Award.

After 44 years as executive producer, Fred retired from an active role at USF—though you wouldn’t know it from looking at him. Not a day went by that he wasn’t seen at the festival: directing shows, acting onstage, raising funds, or even pulling weeds in the statue garden. Fred loved his work and his work-family dearly, and cherished them all his life.

Above all, Fred was a family man, as years of Disneyland trips with his kids and grandkids will attest. He loved nothing more than to sit with his family, telling them countless stories with his signature Fred flair. His favorite moments were spent with his dogs, his family, and friends he considered family.

Fred was preceded in death by his parents, Paul and Louise Adams; his wife, Barbara; and his sister, Martha Henstrom. He leaves behind four children: Dorcas (Gene) Woodward, Glynis (Alan) Neves, Addison (Dana) Adams, and Joshua (Jamie) Adams; his brother James; 14 grandchildren; one great-grandchild; and too many friends to count. 

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