BOZEMAN, Mont. — Lois Zwiebel Adams, 95, died Monday, Jan. 20, 2020, at her home in Bozeman.

A celebration of her life will be 10 a.m. Saturday at the Aspen Pointe Chapel in Bozeman.

Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service in Bozeman is in charge of arrangements.


She was born Sept. 8. 1924, at Ainsworth, Neb., to George and Jenny Zwiebel. The family moved to a farm near Papillion, Neb.

Lois had four siblings, Ruby, George, Wally and Jean. She graduated from Papillion High School in 1941 earning the school ping pong championship along the way. She then went on to her freshman year at Peru State College. With a certificate to teach in rural schools she taught in Merrick County (Neb.) rural schools and then fourth grade in Elm Creek, Neb.

Having enough credits to graduate, she spent her senior year at Kearney State College, graduating cum laude in the spring of 1949. She then returned to Elm Creek for one more year.

On June 4, 1950, she married Dwight “Dewey” Adams, whom she had met in college. Together they lived and taught in Sumner, Neb. She retired from teaching when son Tim was born, although her education career was hardly over. At the time they were living in a mobile home, having bought it because rentals were scarce in the little town. In 1953 they moved to Grand Island, Neb., where Dwight taught in the high school.

Four summers were spent traveling to summer school in Greeley, Colo., finishing Dwight’s masters in English. The year 1956 brought another move, with an opportunity to teach at Kearney State College, now the University of Nebraska at Kearney. This entailed more graduate study ending in Dewey obtaining a doctorate in 1953, following graduate work at the University of Wyoming and University of Nebraska-Lincoln. All of this study carried with it a very close watch on the budget.

Two more sons, Richard and Charles, were born in 1953 and 1960. Lois cheerfully maintained the home in Kearney, putting up with second-hand furniture and enjoying the housewife role. Somehow, though, the family managed camping trips with the Barkers and Schroeders, as well as ski trips to Colorado.

After the boys were somewhat independent, she made use of her talents in many ways. She substituted in elementary classrooms. She served as a Red Cross volunteer and did church work. Perhaps her biggest accomplishment was having a part in establishing the Museum of Nebraska Art. She served as assistant director at the beginning, first in the remodeled Kearney post office and then in the expansion. It now is a first-class museum housing the Nebraska Art Collection.

In her years in Kearney, Lois also became an accomplished painter. Her watercolor works showed up on cards that would sell out in a heartbeat. She loved to tend to gardens. Scrabble brought out a cutthroat side of Lois never seen otherwise. She always was up for a game, an outing or just good conversation with friends and family.

Her love of travel with Dewey was the hallmark of their years with boys undertow, but later when they scattered she enjoyed Europe, Canada by rail, and many other spots. They traveled to see Dick and family in Oregon, and Tim and Charlie in Montana. Eventually, they settled in Bozeman , which served as a new base of operations. With a map on her lap, they crisscrossed Montana on all kinds of backroads and in burgs across the state.

Lois was full of kindness and enjoyed others’ company. As a result, she easily made new friends (often across generational divides) and kept many a close friendship going for years.

Lois is survived by her husband; sons, Tim, Dick and Charlie and their wives, Maribeth, Gwen and Marianne; eight grandchildren; and numerous great-grandchildren. Hers was a life well spent, and we will miss her smile and sense of humor.

Should friends desire, memorials may be made to the Museum of Nebraska Art, the Red Cross or to the Adams Family Scholarship c/o the University of Nebraska at Kearney Foundation.

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