(Brian) Kerry Adolph, 60, of Lawrence, died Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2022, in St. Louis, MO. He was born April 2, 1962, in Colby to Harvey Richard “Dick” and Juliet (Hess) Adolph.
Kerry graduated from Colby High School in 1980 and married his high school sweetheart, Kathryn “Kathi” Glad, on Oct. 18, 1980.
Kerry and Kathi were long-time Colby residents before moving to Lawrence 22 years ago. Kerry, along with his father, ran their family farm for years. At the same time, Kerry was the jack-of-all-trades at Julie Adolph Interiors doing anything and everything that needed done. Kerry and Kathi lived in several homes in Colby, selling each after he had fixed it up and was ready to move on to the next project.
When Adolph Interiors moved to Lawrence, Kerry moved with the business and transitioned to leading the business’ day-to-day operations, which included completing the build out from scratch. He enjoyed being part of a harvest crew and stayed connected to farming after the move to Lawrence. He continued to return to Colby each fall to help with harvest at Frahm Farmland.
A devoted father and sports enthusiast, Kerry never missed his son’s football and basketball games or his daughters’ many activities. He was an avid University of Kansas fan.
Kerry was preceded in death by his daughter, Candace Leigh (Adolph) Gay, and his father, Harvey Richard "Dick" Adolph.
He is survived by his wife, Kathi, of the home; son, Kristopher Cole “K.C.” (Christine) Adolph and grandchild, Logan Leigh, of Burke, VA; daughter, Chandlar Adolph, of Lawrence; son-in-law, Brandon Gay, of Norton; mother, Julie Adolph, of Colby; sister, Kristin (Greg) Issinghoff, of Lawrence; sister, Jennifer (Ab) Smith, of Sharon Springs; brother-in-law, Vincent (Tenley) Glad, of Colby; nieces and nephews, Taylor, Corbin, Treasure, Tanner, and great-niece, Wylie.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 5, at Frahm Farmland, 1453 County Road O, four miles west and four miles south of Colby. The event is casual, and lunch will follow the service.
Memorials are suggested to the Candace Gay Memorial Scholarship through the Norton County Community Foundation. Memorials or flowers can be delivered in care of Baalmann Mortuary, P.O. Box 391, Colby, KS 67701. Online condolences can be posted at www.baalmannmortuary.com.
Eulogy by son-in-law Brandon Gay
It was just a Home Depot bag of plumbing supplies, but twenty years later, I realize Kerry walked into my house that day much like he came into all of our lives: With a mission, a plan, and the ability to make it better. I had been dating his daughter for a few months, and the two of us didn’t know each other very well, but he found out my hot water heater was broken, and my lack of plumbing capability is one of the earlier assumptions people tend to make of me. I was standing in my bedroom, water flowing around my feet, and feeling a little helpless. He walked in carrying a plastic Home Depot bag and something about that way he walked made me realize this problem was about over. I had not told him anything about my hot water heater, but somehow, he had all the right parts. He wouldn’t take any money, and walked out leaving me in better shape than when he came in. Today we celebrate how much better we all are because Kerry walked in.
Everyone who knew Kerry has a story like this. Something was broken, something was hard, something needed done. You didn’t have to ask. Kerry was at your door, he had all the right parts, and he didn’t leave until it was better. If you are KC, you have 47 stories like this about a boat alone.
Kerry liked to joke that he had “sucker” written on his forehead. But, we all knew it was a joke, because helping people was what he loved most. He was a lot of things, a farmer, a businessman, a carpenter, a plumber, an electrician, and a man who knew his color theory – Years ago, he brought a taupe couch to our house because it was the perfect color for our living room, and it was – He was all of that and a lot more, but being there for his friends and family was the fabric that strung together his life.
This took a lot of tools. Wrenches, saws, and drills, yes, but I’m talking about the tools that got Kerry, and his friends and family, through life: strength, work-ethic, confidence, generosity, patience, know-how, loyalty, devotion, and steadiness. He had a playfulness that always surfaced in his sense of humor, like when Candy lost her bedroom door for slamming it once too often. Kristen remembers riding shotgun, dragging main in teenage Kerry’s white Camaro. Soon, another young lady, Kathi, would start occupying the shotgun seat as well. When Candy and KC were little, for a period of time there were nightly debates at the dinner table on the color gold. Dad’s position: gold is not the color gold. The kid’s position: gold is the color gold. Kerry would gather evidence and present his case every night. Every night, at least, until Judge Kathi adjourned any more talk of gold at the dinner table. Kerry had the creativity to raise Candy, the patients to raise KC, and the heart to raise Chandlar. When he came into your life, he came with a bottomless bag of tools - real and metaphoric. But, this morning, I’ld like to focus on his strength, his generosity, and his devotion.
Strength. Kerry will figure it out. Whatever the situation, we all believed that. A 400-pound piece of wood - Kerry will get that moved. Install a massive cast-iron sink in a garden house. Kerry is on it. Build a house from the ground up. It’s nothing he hasn’t done before. That’s not to say there were no hiccups along the way. Kerry’s hiccups were usually accidents. There was the time he knocked his front teeth out pouring concrete. And the time he took a nail through the foot - nothing pliers and duct tape couldn’t fix. He got a razor blade in his eye laying carpet. He sliced an artery in his arm … laying carpet. A lot of his injuries always seemed to involve laying carpet. He had one rule: “Just don’t get any blood on the carpet.” There was the time he fell out of a tree with a chainsaw and broke his clavicle. He drove himself home 30 miles after that one, before Kathi took him to the ER. One day during harvest, he fell off of a combine and coming at him was a grain truck. He rolled over so he would get run over by a tractor instead. Through all of these minor setbacks in getting the job done, patterns emerge. He always acted quickly to save his life, he never complained, and he always got the job done. Don’t get any blood on the carpet and drive yourself home when the job is done. Kathi will take you to the emergency room if she must.
Generosity. Kerry knew how to do just about everything, and at one point, he did just about everything for somebody. I don’t think Kerry woke up every morning thinking he needed to find 3 new people he could help, but he did always seem to find them. One day when my mom was staying with us in Lawrence while she recovered from a surgery, Kerry walked in and noticed the chair she was sitting in didn’t fit her very well. The next day he showed up with the perfect chair. She sat in that chair the rest of her life. That’s the kind of thing Kerry did every day. After Kerry’s brother-in-law, Ab, was in a plane crash, Kerry spent a month at his house taking care of his farm and son, Corbin. Corbin was a good kid, but he did come with 5th grade math homework. When Kerry’s dad was sick, he was there. When anybody’s car broke down, he was there. When I needed a fence, he delivered it, when KC and Christine needed something in Virginia, he was on a plane, and then he was there. When Candy needed to know what to do, he was there. He was everywhere for everyone every time.
Devotion. Kerry missed two of his children’s sporting events. This always bothered him. But, for the other two hundred, he was there. Kerry had a lot of jobs, but being there for his parents, siblings, Kathi, and kids was his full-time, 24/7, number one job. This was not a small group of people, because Kerry was a father to everyone. The dad advice was a public utility. My own father was never in my life. This never really bothered me, because growing up I didn’t know a person I wanted to be my dad. Kerry was my father-in-law, but, really, he was my father by choice. I found a guy I wanted to be my dad. Sometimes people note there has been a little too much tragedy in my life. I won’t argue with that, but what I always tell them is to look at how I landed. I needed a lot more than a hot water heater, and Kerry and his family have never let me down.
Strength, generosity, devotion. You may notice all of these blend together. They blend into Kerry, a man who always had the tools, all the right parts, and got the job done. He came into our lives because we needed him, and he didn’t leave until we were better.