Doug Is 90!

as of
September 27, 2011

Doug's Story (through 1996)

(almost) 90 years of photos!

Young Wisconsinite

San Diego Era

Pre Marriage Troublemaker

1950 Big Day!

Post Marriage Cat Person

1950's Newsman

1950's Family Man


1970 Belvidere Chief

Those Stylish '70s

On the Rocks


Toast! it's not just for breakfast!

Smile and the world smiles with you.

Merry [some other holiday]
What I Learned From Doug

I have learned a lot from Dad. I learned to love the burnt crisp edges of food. I learned to love star trek. I learned how to let my foot up off of the brake pedal for a fraction of a second right before coming to a stop so the car doesn't "jerk" when it stops moving. And that it really isn't such a good idea to drive while wearing platform sandals (and that barefoot isn't much better!!) Oh, and reading the paper is an excellent way to start the day.

But I think the most important thing that I learned from Dad, the thing that I carry with me each and every day, is the power of optimism. I have learned that having an open mind and a good attitude will get you a long way in life. Look how well it has worked for Dad!! He's 90 and I am so thankful that he has been around so long to share his life with all of us!!
Happy Birthday Dad!! I love you!!

School teaches us many things, but the good stuff somehow gets saved for family. For example, I learned how to drive a car in Driver's Ed, but I learned how to drive a car with a manual transmission from my Dad. And as was typical of his style, he didn't just tell me what to do to make it work. He explained how a clutch engages and disengages the transmission and how the gears work and how to maximize the efficiency of the engine by shifting at just the right moment. By explaining it that way he made it obvious what damage one could do by not shifting correctly. This is just one of countless instances where he passed on a deep appreciation of how the components of a system work together to achieve an amazing result that the individual parts could never do on their own. Kind of like his family!

I am going to take this as an assignment in the global sense – because – if you actually had to list all the things you learned from Doug, the list would last volumes. This past weekend alone, I learned the shape of a great-horned owl’s ears, how to make root beer, the fact that root beer explodes!, the fact that barns would usually get interior plumbing before houses, and a bunch more stuff that if I were Doug I’m sure I could remember.

While I met Doug long after he’d ended his official career, his unending and infectious curiosity, as well as his lack of any sort of hubris – which you could, really, justify, at 90! – lead me to suspect that he was a pretty great newspaperman. I wish I could have seen him in action back then. I will have to be content to see the glamorous photos!

Instead, I know Doug primarily as Tony’s father, and if the humanity and sweetness and conviction that make Tony who he is are any testimony, Doug did a pretty great job. Renie might also have had something to do with it :). Your other kids seem to have turned out pretty exceptionally too.

I also know Doug as Renie’s husband – and it’s there that your life has struck me most powerfully: You are both incredibly bright and capable individuals, who have each retained your own interests and friends and habits and personalities – and you are equals, which I don’t know was the norm for marriages that started 60 years ago – but you love each other immensely, and actually seem to enjoy each other consistently. I’ve never witnessed any meanness or sarcasm between the two of you. To me, a life whose most obvious impression is love, needs a statue or something :). It’s an honor to know you!

Hey, Jen, ask your Dad! This is something I heard a lot in my life. Somehow even friends who didn’t know Dad, knew he would know the answer. What a blessing in the days before the internet! The web isn’t as good as Dad, however. Often when I do look stuff up, I still wonder why or how. This knowledge requires the Spock like logic and wisdom that is Doug.

Another thing I remember always is: If you want to put a dealer sticker on my car, you'll have to pay me. That is how advertising works, as a journalist, Dad knows how the bills get paid! To this day, I don’t understand why everyone doesn't get this. I guess I’m a chip off the old block, and I couldn’t be happier about it!

There is also the question of how it looks. So Dad, here’s another question I have been meaning to ask: does appearance factor in as well? Do you, like me, find the ads unattractive? Some cars have huge license plate frames with ads that block a lot of the plate, AND stickers! Have they looked at their cars? I suppose these are often the same people who don’t wash their cars or clean snow off them…. Is there another lesson here? I think so. Respect, take care of your stuff. Make it last, it has value.

One more memory/ lesson. Dad was always there, always cared, and always took care of his family. And his stuff, of course, that was only logical. The family, it was all about respect and love.

Living long and prospering: Spock Doug.

Loving long and nurturing: My Dad Doug!

Hoo- Ray—Doug is 90!!

In today’s world, the definition of manliness has become a conflicted thing. Between the Axe deodorant commercials, man caves, and unkempt beards, one may think true manliness is a thing of the past. And, more and more, I fear that may be true. But, to those of you who would be so bold to resist, to those of you whom don’t know what the hell a man cave is because your house is your man cave, I offer you this story. It begins in an Italian restaurant. Tracy and I were visiting Rockford last year and met up with Doug and Renee for dinner. Strangely enough, the evening’s special in this Italian restaurant was BBQ ribs. First of all, just ordering BBQ ribs anywhere earns you 1 manly man point. But, this is an Italian restaurant, what are BBQ ribs doing here anyways? Well, they are there for manly men. And, as any manly man knows, ordering BBQ ribs in an Italian restaurant earns you 3 manly man bonus points. It put a fine smile on may face when Doug looked at that waitress and said I want the ribs! Ok, so we now have 4 manly man points. Now I will admit to you, although I love ribs, sometimes I don’t order them because they can be kind of messy and difficult to eat. He was only using one hand. And he still ordered ribs! That is worth like 100 manly man points. It’s already hard enough for the modern man to earn 1 manly man point in an evening, being worried about their manscaping and energy drinks and what not. But, Doug already has 104 manly man points. Now you would think that was enough for one night, but not for Doug. While eating his BBQ ribs with one hand in an Italian restaurant, he described this bad ass speed boat made of wood to us. Ok, let’s tally the points: bringing up boats at dinner = +3 points, bringing up boats while eating BBQ = +5 bonus points, describing a boat made out of wood = +10 bonus points, and eating ribs with 1 hand while describing said boat = +15 bonus points. Wow, very manly! Now, you may not find this to be as earth shattering as I, but I believe there is meaning in these actions. My favorite poem is by Dylan Thomas, it is called “Do Not Go Gently Into that Good Night.” One of the 1st lines in the poem is “old age should burn in rage at close of day.” Time has certainly not gotten the better of Doug. I have known Grandpa Adams for about 10 years, and every time I see him I am encouraged by his zest for life and thirst for knowledge about all things. It brightens by day to remember when Doug and Renee came to visit Tracy and I, and in his late 80’s insisted on a speed boat ride in Tampa Bay in February, disregarding my cautions to him. So, while they may have been simple actions on that one night in the Italian restaurant, they were consistent with his character. Because, you see, nothing stops a truly manly man!
Chris McCurry

To the 90th, not about learning, which no doubt has been extreme,but to say it's been...

  • Amazing that Doug proposed to
    me in the first place
  • Amazing that I was smart enough to take him up on it
  • Amazing to see the results in the diverse family we produced

And it goes on in the Amazing great grand babies who joined the family!!!!!

That through hard work you can make a problem solveable.
With Love, Chris

That turning in all those City of Rockford Parking Sticker refund requests that were cut from his columns in the Register Republic newspaper, finally worked.
With Respect,Larry

I find myself bragging about my Grandpa all of the time. I love to tell people that he has such a passion for life and is the most curious person that I have ever met. If anyone has literally ever, “stopped to smell the roses,” it would be my Grandpa Adams.

When I was young, I remember my Grandpa explaining everything to me. He was so detail oriented. He seemed to know everything! At the time, I did not appreciate this as much as I do now. The moment I understood his love of learning was when I was in high school. I had a humanities class that was so hard. However, as hard as it was, I started to love it! Learning about art, culture and history was new to me but I wanted to learn more and more. This curiosity and desire to learn more did not end with my humanities class. While traveling or encountering something new or interesting, I found myself wanting to learn all I could about the places I went and the things I saw. To this day, while traveling abroad or here in the US, Grandpa Adams always comes to mind and I smile thinking to myself, Grandpa would love to see this! Grandpa Adams taught me not only to enjoy learning but how to see the beauty in life, whether it’s a historical site or a beautiful flower that has just bloomed. Yes, it was sitting in humanities class in high school when I discovered I was definitely my Grandpa Adams Grand daughter.
-Tracy McCurry

Great Grandpa, I remember the last time mommy and I were there before I was born. We met you and Grandma at the Poplar Grove Museum for the historical car and air show. I remember you and mommy going around looking at all the cars and planes. You knew everything about not only the cars, but the planes too! You knew what model each one was, the type of engine, what year they were and what they were used for! We even learned that you used to be a pilot! Mommy was shocked and so was I. I kicked mommy a lot during that time. Some babies might have fallen asleep, but not me! I could not wait to meet the man who knew so much and was so interesting, my great grandpa Adams! Hopefully I will share the same curiosity and passion to learn as you and mommy. I love you!

Sometimes two martinis is two too many

So as many know I have a faithful fun-loving furry baby named Tucker. Tucker was the pride and joy of Brian and me until we adopted Shiba (another fur-kid) and of course until the birth of Lexie. But, back to Tucker…it was about this time three years ago that Brian and I made a phone call to Doug to wish him a very happy birthday. Doug had been drinking…the birthday martini…and maybe had a couple of them. He was very excited that we called and told us of his birthday fun and then asked about our family and how we were doing. He, being so thoughtful, even wanted to know…"How’s HOOKER doing?" I begged his pardon and he repeated…, "How’s HOOKER doing?" And then I heard a faint voice in the background saying…Tucker, you mean Tucker. So I have learned that two birthday martinis may be two too many…unless of course you make it a great story!
- Lindsey

Age is just a state of mind

Since I am a very smart baby, I attribute this to my Great Grandpa Adams. Although I have only known him for seventeen months, I have been very observant. What I have seen is a man who is more active than most, a man who is more involved in community than anyone else I have met, a man who is current and savvy with technology, and a man who has adapted to change through the years and has become wiser with each change. Many men would say I can't learn that. Or say, I can’t do that. And those men are "stuck" with only knowing what they had learned up until that point in their life when they decided they couldn't move forward. But, not my Great Grandpa. Everything life has thrown at him, he catches and makes something great! So the first lesson I have learned is that age is a state of mind and as long as you keep learning and growing you will be young forever!
- Lexie

Doug, Jon brought me home to meet you when I was 16 years old. You may have been thinking "Great another child to raise"! We were very young. I always looked up to you and listened, such a wise man. It now has been 41 years and how our relationship has grown, I look back at what an impact you have had in my life. I'm so blessed to have such a Wonderful father in law. The love and the guidance you have given me, just like one of your own. Thank you! In honor of you, the King of our den, 4 generations are gathered together to celebrate your 90th birthday today. Family is what life is all about----

F is for familiar-there is no place like home.
A is for always welcome, no matter how far you roam.
M is for memories, more cherished each day.
I is for inspiration given along the way.
L is for love you feel each time you are together.
Y is for the years to come for family last for ever.
- Teresa

There is no doubt, you are one of the most intelligent and informed people I have ever met. You're thirst for knowledge and true understanding of whatever it is that you're studying at the moment is inspiring. The world would be a better place if more people were like you. I so hope my little girl, Lexie, received some of those genes that make you so unique.

But I like to keep things simple. So while I know that you a very smart and accomplished man, there are two things that will always remind of my Grandpa Adams.

1. NOBODY can wiggle their ears as well as my grandpa. Anytime I see someone try to wiggle their ears, I just laugh, because I know who the real ear wiggling master is.
2. When I was very young, you taught me that if you turn on the water faucet so that it's barely running and take a cup full of ice, the slow water will actually carve holes and designs in the ice. And then when you are done, the glass of water would be ice cold. I'm 35 years old and I still do this at least once a week. And it makes me think of you every time.

Happy Birthday Grandpa!

Dear Dad,
90 years old! You did it with style and class, and I am sure you have many more to come. I can only hope to carry myself through my more senior years with some of that class and style. With that said, as your eldest son, I have certainly left you and Mom with some unique memories. Think of the bright side, all that experience you gained to keep my very slightly younger sister (Julia) and younger brother in line! See I did listen I just didn't practice all that I was taught! But fortunately for everyone, my wife came along and we had two wonderful children. Rest assured, some of what I learned growing up from you and Mom is a direct result of what they have become now as young parents with our next generation children Lexie and Carina.


These are things that I have learned and am working on but am far from achieving. I hope by the time I am 90.

  • I have learned to never let go of my sense of curiosity and wonder about the world and universe around us.
  • I have learned to love my family and to give them a kind ear whenever I can.
  • I have learned to watch sports for fun and not frustration.
  • I have learned that it's OK to enjoy a beer every once in a while, and to ask how it was made.
  • I have learned that you can successfully raise a large family without going completely nuts.
  • I have learned how lucky I am to be married to a Hollenfelz/Herzog.
  • I have learned to keep reading.
  • I have learned to question (almost) everything.
  • I have learned reporters' tricks that I'll never tell.
  • I have learned to write my life story, but later. Somebody else may find it interesting even if I do not.
  • I have learned that you can love cats that don't sit in your lap.
  • I have learned never to eat the last bite of something, even after offering it to guests.
  • I have learned to make broad plans for my life.
  • I have learned to not let anatomical annoyances get in the way of living.
  • I have learned to look at simple things. They may not be as simple as you first suspect.
  • I have learned to ask more questions instead of always giving answers.
  • I have learned that labor unions were not all Communist plots.
  • I have learned to laugh privately at other people who are trying to annoy you.
  • I have learned bad Spanish pronunciation.
  • I have learned too many bad puns.
  • I have learned how a Model T transmission works.


  Birthday Book Thanks for sharing your words of greeting.
Steve Newton     Oct 6th, 2011 : 2:36 PM   

Belated congrats on your birthday. Have some great memories of working with you. Also remember the parties and the golf outings.
Victor Yehling     Oct 5th, 2011 : 1:34 PM   

Sorry to have missed the day, Doug. Best wishes as you begin year 91
Gene Cryer     Oct 4th, 2011 : 12:14 PM   

A belated happy birthday, Doug. And many more!
Susan Miller Tweedy     Oct 4th, 2011 : 5:10 AM   

Happy Birthday Mr. Adams!!
I have really enjoyed reading the stories of your amazing life here and seeing all of the great pictures!!
You are an inspiration to us all! And holy cow....Tony and Julia look exactly like you and Mrs. Adams!!!
May you have many many more happy and healthy birthday celebrations!! xxoo
David Shultz     Oct 4th, 2011 : 1:56 AM   

Happy birthday Doug. Hope it's been a great one. Here's my wish for many more. Like others have mentioned, it doesn't seem that long ago you were walking the halls of the News Tower. Have a great day!
John Bryan     Oct 4th, 2011 : 1:18 AM   

Hey, Doug! Happy birthday! So, let's see -- if you're 90, then I must be......oh, lordy!
Patricia Cox     Oct 3rd, 2011 : 1:00 AM   

Happy Birthday, Doug !! Wow what an exciting life you have had and you are still going strong. It has been a pleasure for me to work with you and Renie at the museum. I hope we can have more times to visit and tell stories because I think that helps us to realize our contributions in life. Patricia
Lisa Oppenheim     Oct 2nd, 2011 : 2:38 PM   

Birthday greetings Doug. Thanks for all you've given to the ILHS, working people in particular, and our civic society. Keep on going!
Les Orear     Oct 2nd, 2011 : 2:32 AM   

Greetings to Doug:
Word has reached me that you have celebrated your 90th birthday which puts you into your apprenticeship for age 100 at which point something wonderful must happen like being inducted into the Rockford centenarian society.
I hope that you are physically able to carry on with good vision and sure step. I know that your good ideas for the future of America are still needed in this age of Republican embrace of corporatism.
As ever, Les Orear, President Emeritus, Illinois Labor History Society
Daniel Breems     Oct 1st, 2011 : 2:45 PM   

Happy Birthday. Hope you have a great day! Sounds like a fun Party.