By Bill Parry
Hunters Point residents were saddened with the news that civic leader Theresa Adams died of heart failure Monday at the age of 75.
Born in Astoria, Adams grew up in the Hunters Point section of Long Island City in the Vernon Boulevard home of her grandfather. She became a dedicated volunteer working for the betterment of the evolving neighborhood after she retired from the U.S. Navy in the early 1980s, where she was an operations supervisor.
“I am saddened to hear of the passing of Terri Adams, a dedicated public servant whose spirit of volunteerism inspired so much good in our world,” City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) said. “Ms. Adams had a true commitment to making life better for all in Long Island City, and many of us witnessed her dedication as a member of Community board 2, president of the Hunters Point Community Development Corporation, and the St. Mary’s Seniors. We’re all better people because of Terri Adams, and I send my deepest condolences to the friends and family during this difficult time.”
Adams is survived by her son, Brian, who also grew up in the Vernon Boulevard home. He could not be reached for comment.
State Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria) said Adams “was a fierce advocate for Hunters Point residents and believed in the idea of unifying our community to make it a better place for all. It is a better place for all. May her memory live on in our neighborhood.”
Adams worked tirelessly on housing and care for seniors and veterans, more schools and community space and advocated for the waterfront parks. Adams began campaigning for a public library for the neighborhood in the early ’90s and she watched joyfully as the new $40 million state-of-the-art Hunters Point Library began rising along the waterfront on Center Boulevard. The library is scheduled to open this winter.
“I’m so sad she won’t be around to see it open. She so desperately wanted that library for all of the children in the neighborhood and for the seniors because it will serve as a community hub,” Friends of the Hunters Library President Mark Christie said. “We lost someone who was very important to us. She was a tenacious fighter, a feisty lady who was much smarter than most people I’ve met in my life.”
Christie said Adams was his “buddy and mentor” as he got involved in the community. That opinion was shared by two other community leaders.
“Terri Adams represented community. She grew up in LIC, never left and only wanted the best for LIC,” Hunters Point Park Conservancy President Rob Basch said. “She also embraced change for the community and was not someone that lived in the past, but looked to the future. She was a tireless advocate for our parks and green spaces and dreamed of seeing an ice rink in Hunters Point South Park. I will miss her.”
Brent O’Leary, president of the Hunters Point Civic Association, agreed.
“Terri Adams was a fierce advocate for the neighborhood. She worked tirelessly and without seeking recognition to make the community better,” he said. “She welcomed me and showed me what a true community leader should be. It’s a big loss for the community. She was a wonderful person, a dear friend and the neighborhood will not be the same without her.”
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr