Adam Eugene Klawe
Adam Eugene Klawe was a unique and beautiful soul who intensely loved life. He passed away in the early afternoon of August 6, 2022 at age 65 with his sons, Bohdan and Adam Jr. at his side. This past Saturday Adam sadly took his last hard fought for breath after a year-long battle with an aggressive stage four tongue, nerve, and throat cancer. Adam was a man of many talents and lived an incredible life full of adventure, love, gratitude, and appreciation for the small things in life.
Adam was, most likely, the happiest man you've ever met. Consistently, day in and day out, Adam greeted his loved ones, friends, and the greater world around him with a smile.
Adam was born in Łódź, Poland, on March 9th, 1957.Born behind the Iron Curtain during the Soviet Union era domination, and due to unforeseen events, Adam was fortunate to be adopted by Bohdan Klawe and Vira Grant, a Polish-American family. At age four he was brought to the United States where he spent his youth on Long Island, NY. There he met his older brother and lifelong partner in crime, Noel Klawe.
Having moved to the U.S. from Poland, Adam intensely loved the United States of America and was constantly saying, "God Bless America." As such, at 17, he joined the U.S. Navy as Yeoman and was honorably discharged as a Petty Officer 2nd Class. During his time he was stationed in Hawaii and served on active duty for 4 years, going to Vietnam towards the end of the war and where he was a part of the evacuation of Saigon from the Philippines, and the clean-up and relief efforts. After the war, he continued to serve on the active reserves while attending the University of Hawaii, he earned a Political Science and History degree, and played for the volleyball team as a walk-on.
While stationed in Hawaii, he fell in love with the land, surfing, and beach volleyball. After graduating from the University of Hawaii, Adam moved to Europe, where he modeled internationally for two years. During that time, he lived in Paris, France, and later in Milan, Italy. While working abroad, Adam traveled extensively visiting various countries in Europe and Africa. One of the highlights of his modeling career was being a part of the media campaign for the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, South Korea.
After finishing his two-year stint abroad, Adam moved back to Hawaii. Once there he invited his brother, Noel to visit, who ended up staying there for years while spending lots of time together learning about Hawaii, its history, and its people.
In Hawaii, he eventually met the mother of his children, Claudia Wagner-Klawe. They were together for 15 years and married for 12. Adam and Claudia got married at the Unity Church at Diamond Head, Hawaii. In total Adam lived in Hawaii for almost 20 years!
In 1993 Adam and Claudia left Hawaii for Utah because of shared love for the mountains, particularly Big and Little Cottonwood Canyon after many ski trips visiting. They moved with their first son, Bohdan. Adam's second son, Adam Jr., was born later that year in California. Adam lived in Utah for 29 years, he loved the beauty of Utah and spent much of his life outdoors.
Throughout his time in Hawaii and Utah, he worked sales in radio, winning salesman of the year multiple times, and later transitioned to real estate. He eventually went on to work for Comcast as a regional sales director. Being a Vietnam Era Veteran, Adam always wanted to give back to the armed forces. For the last 5 years he worked for the Veterans Administration Medical Center, helping his fellow Vets get their much-deserved medical and disability benefits. He truly loved that work and considered it one of his callings. He volunteered for several years for the American Cancer Society and the Cancer Wellness House after his first bout with the disease.
Adam had a great many interests and participated in numerous activities and sports. He loved the outdoors, whether hiking, road biking, skiing, surfing, playing beach volleyball, or golf. He loved the game of chess, ping-pong, and any activity around history. He was a self-proclaimed "history nut" with an emphasis on the Ancient Greek era. Adam was a people person, he loved meeting new people, spending time socializing, and would make anyone he met feel important. Again, the small things and everyday interactions were incredibly important to him.
In the fall of 2014, Adam met Sylvia McMillan, and they were engaged in 2020. They loved doing many things together, including road trips across the country, traveling to Adam’s home country of Poland with his sons, spending hours talking about their love of history, golfing, snow shoeing, watching movies, and spending time with family. Adam and Sylvia took multiple trips to take supplies to the Navajo and Hopi Nations during the Covid pandemic. Adam also volunteered as a VA representative to help retired Diné military get much deserved benefits. They spent a significant time exploring Southeast Utah and visiting friends on the Rez.
In 2007 Adam was diagnosed with stage four throat cancer which he beat after a rigorous treatment cycle of neck surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. During this time Adam had a major support group, Adam’s Angels (dubbed by Claudia Klawe) and was able to provide the loving care and support to help him beat it.
Adam leaves behind a large community of friends and family, including his fiance Sylvia, his two sons, Bohdan and Adam Jr., his brother Noel Klawe, sister-in-law LaDeane Klawe, his niece Madisen, his ex-wife Claudia Klawe, and too many long-time friends to list.
On Wednesday, August 24th, at 12:00 pm, a funeral service will be held at the Starks Funeral Parlor, located at 3651 South 900 East, Millcreek, UT 84106. He will be intered at Wasatch Lawn, 3401 South Highland Drive, Salt Lake City, UT.
On Saturday, September 10th, at 5:00 pm, an Aloha themed Celebration of Life will be at Sylvia McMillan’s house. Please RSVP at https://pp.events/a8g9RAeq so we have an accurate headcount.
We want to give special thanks to the veterans association hospitals and the Huntsman cancer society, who helped Adam fight cancer two times. The family would also like to give thanks to all the support we have received over the last year, time spent with us and Adam, helping hands, and donations to help with all costs.
In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the causes Adam was most passionate about, The American Cancer Society at https://www.cancer.org/, or the VFW: The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. at https://www.vfw.org/.
Below are a few stories of remembrance from some of Adam's closest friends.
From John Vance:
"He loved adventure and the outdoors. We biked a lot on the roads and in the dirt. We used to road bike probably once a week when training for a big ride or just staying in shape. I probably did 8-10 100-mile road bike rides with Adam, and we did Lotoja twice. We biked all over the State of Utah up in Idaho and Wyoming. He was a strong road biker. He was constantly pushing me to get signed up for the next ride. We decided to do the 208-mile Lotaja race from Logan, Utah, to Jackson Hole, Wyoming. We did it solo the first year and in a Relay team the following year.
I remember sitting in the cold river with him at the finish line. He was the best to ride with. Always positive and encouraging. He would never quit. I talked him into doing a tandem paragliding flight off the top of Jackson Hole ski resort with my paragliding buddy Cade Palmer. He was blown away by the adrenaline of it all. Adam was never afraid to try something new. I loved to Golf with Adam. We spent most of the time laughing our asses off and enjoying a few cold beers. He was a wicked ping pong player. He was a fierce competitor, and I only saw him get beat a couple of times. JR and Bohdan beat him now and then. As you know, Adam was a beer connoisseur. I would call him if I needed to know what beer was the best to get.
Adam was a walking history book. He could have taught world history at any college. He knew a lot about warfare. It was fun to talk with him about history.
Adam loved his country and was a friend to everyone. He practiced daily gratitude and was always looking out for others. He loved his family fiercely. I know I have never spoken to him without him ending our conversation by saying the word Aloha. Aloha means love, affection, peace, compassion, and mercy. Aloha also is used to define a force that holds together an existence. Adam was all of those things. He was the living embodiment of that word. I will miss hearing him say Aloha!"
The best thing about Adam is that he was REAL. No bullshit with him. I loved that he would speak his mind and tell you exactly what he was thinking. He never played games and gave you the truth all the time. I really appreciated that about him. He is the kind of friend that doesn't come along often. He is a warrior in every sense of the word. I can imagine his next adventure that has just begun. Godspeed, my friend Adam Klawe. Till we meet again! Aloha!"
From Ron Zagorski:
"I met Adam about 15 years ago when a mutual friend I knew from college introduced us. She introduced us, and we kind of hit right off not sure why but it was the start of our friendship.
Fast forward a few years, Adam, and I made a few trips up to slopes, and he was a strong cyclist. I had only rekindled my cycling activity recently when he lent me a road bike so we could go for a ride, and he proceeded to smoke my ass. I also realized I had some work to do.
Adam is the kind of guy who would give you the shirt off his back and was also generous and a great entertainer. Hungry? There is always something good cooking in the kitchen and cold beer in the fridge with your name on it. I loved watching him get bent and yell at Kyle when things didn’t go well for the Utes. His passion was never lacking.
I say he’d give you the shirts off his back but curiously enough, I think I gave him a few of mine.
He will be missed dearly."