Dr. Beverly Decker Adams, age 91, died peacefully in her sleep on December 12th, 2017 after a long and wonderful life of study and service.
Beverly was born May 7, 1926 in Salt Lake City, Utah to Judge Harold A. Decker and Julia Viola Hiatt Decker. With all of her accomplishments, Beverly was most proud of her four children: Julia Atkinson (Steven) of Ontario, Oregon, Mark Adams (Marsha) of Centerville, Sondra Adams of Salt Lake City, and Decker Adams (Robyn) of Salt Lake City. She has thirteen grandchildren and 30 great grandchildren. Her sister, Denece D. Bowden of Mesquite, Nevada and her brother, Dale H. Decker of LaGrande, Oregon both survive her.
Beverly married Theodore (Ted) Nebeker Adams, August 24, 1948 in the Salt Lake Temple. They served in the England London Mission in 1980 where Ted worked in the Visitors Center and Beverly played the daily organ recitals in Hyde Park Chapel (London) and concertized and conducted seminars throughout England. Ted died on September 8, 1990, after suffering a heart attack.
Beverly grew up in LaGrande, Oregon, graduated from LaGrande High School, and attended Eastern Oregon College. She received a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance from the McCune School of Music and Art in Salt Lake City in 1948, where she studied with Mabel Borg Jenkins and Grant Johanessen and prepared and presented twelve solo piano recitals. She earned a Masters of Music from the University of Utah in Organ Performance under Dr. Alexander Schreiner (1966), and received a PhD in Musicology (1969) after doing research at the Library of Performing Arts at Lincoln Center, New York City and at Saint-Sulpice Cathedral in Paris, France. She later qualified to become a Fellow in the American Guild of Organists (FAGO).
She began a long career of teaching piano/organ/music theory when she was invited by Tracy Y. Cannon to set up a studio at McCune School, even before she had completed her Bachelor of Music degree. She subsequently studied at the Sherwood School of Music in Chicago, Illinois and became an Extension Teacher for them in Salt Lake City. She was called to be a Guest Organist in the Tabernacle in 1978 and performed thirty-five organ recitals and for the first two Women's Conferences.
She taught Music History, Theory and Music Appreciation for twenty-four years at BYU-Salt Lake Center where she received a Distinguished Service Award. She taught Music Theory at Westminster College, Music Appreciation at LDS Business College, and was an adjunct professor teaching the graduate Music History Seminars at the University of Utah.
She was the Organist and Musical Director for the First Unitarian Church in Salt Lake City for thirteen years and the Organist for the Central Christian Church in SLC for five years. She was an organist and accompanist for twenty-six years at Larkin Mortuary and played services in all four of their chapels. She judged numerous organ and piano competitions, and her musical knowledge, taste and judgement were often sought.
Beside all these professional positions, she gave freely of her time and was either a stake organist, ward organist or choir accompanist all of her life and played for many funerals and weddings.
Beverly was a matron in the Salt Lake Temple and helped write the sesquicentennial production of "Zion" held in the Salt Lake Tabernacle. She helped rewrite the "Organist Handbook" and assisted in writing an organ methods book for beginning organists, published by the LDS Church.
She was president of Utah Music Teachers, active in the American Guild of Organists, and attended many regional and national conventions of both.
Beverly was very artistic and always had a stylish wardrobe which she planned, copied, and sewed from designer collections. She remodeled and decorated their thirteen room house on Laird Avenue, which home design students from the University would routinely tour. She was ahead of her time in design and style.
She loved to take road trips in the VW Vanagon with Ted and the grandkids, and later in her Toyota camper that she named "Sabbatical." One of her bucket list accomplishments was, at the age of 76, driving some of the rugged White Rim Trail in Canyonlands National Park, while her kids, grandkids and great grandkids mountain biked. Another achievement was to travel the Al-Can Highway, which she did when she was eighty-two years old.
Beverly was a life-long learner with eclectic taste. Until her passing, she listened to books on tape on all different subjects, completing one every few days. She always chose the non-fiction titles to expand her knowledge. To the end, her mind was sharp and her fingers nimble, as she played the piano into her nineties.
She was an amazing woman, whose love of beauty and her steadfast testimony of the Savior impacted us all. She will be greatly missed.
As per her wishes, no funeral service will be held, but instead the family will hold a private celebration of her life. She has asked to be cremated and have her ashes strewn by her children. In lieu of flowers, please donate to a charity of your choice in Beverly's name.