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Lahaina community loses Steven Adams

By Staff | Aug 4, 2011

Steven Wayne Adams and Connie Cavin moved to Maui in 1993 and loved playing golf.

LAHAINA — Friends and family remember Steven “Smokey” Wayne Adams as a loyal friend and a guy who would give you the shirt off his back.

Adams, 54, of Lahaina was fly fishing at Trout Creek on the Deschutes River in Oregon the evening of Sunday, July 17, when he apparently slipped and fell into the fast-moving river.

Onlookers saw Adams struggling in the powerful current before he was swept around a corner and out of sight.

After a massive search, then recovery effort, his body was found on Saturday, July 23.

He is survived by his mom, Margy Adams, of Lahaina; father Lee Adams and stepmother Lou Adams of Oregon; sister Annie (James) Hayes of Lahaina; sister Leslie Adams of Florida; and brother Robbie (Ronnie) Adams of California. He was predeceased by his wife of 35 years, Connie Cavin.

Adams was born in Colorado Springs, Colorado, on June 24, 1957.

He grew up in Portland, Oregon, and moved to Lahaina in 1993.

“Stevie and Connie initially came on a temporary basis. Within a few years, they were going to Oregon to vacation and Maui became their full-time residence while still maintaining property in Portland,” Annie explained.

Adams was an avid golfer and member of the Menehune Golf Club for 18 years.

John Miller said his late friend enjoyed Maui for “the local people and laid back lifestyle, the climate and golf courses, and the proximity to family and friends.”

Annie added, “Year-round golf was definitely his number one Maui enjoyment. He loved the people here, the laid back lifestyle and the pure beauty of Maui.

“He loved Connie; spending time with friends and family. He loved sunset sails on the Kapalua Kai, golfing with his crews, being Nascar security, fishing from a kayak, cooking and wearing Merry Monarch T-shirts.

Through their love of golf, Steve and Connie built wonderful friendships across the island. To be close to the action, Adams also worked behind the scenes with ESPN at major televised tournaments on Maui.

“He was active in the local golf community,” Annie said. “Being a part of the Menehunes was pretty sweet for him. We love you guys for being such a huge part of his life and keeping his spirit full all these years.

On Maui, Adams worked as a remodeler, tile setter and carpenter. Annie said her brother was a talented handyman.

Miller described Adams as hardworking, funny and “always there to help those in need.

Adams greatest passion was fly fishing. He lost his life on his favorite stretch of the Deschutes River in Central Oregon.

“The best part of fly fishing for him was probably making the flies to match the bugs the fish happened to be eating that day. He loved the sport of fishing even on Maui,” Annie commented.

“I think he considered fly fishing an art form he was

perfecting. There is a science behind it that fascinated him. He fished mostly catch and release.

Fly fishing was a passion he shared with Connie.

“I went to the Deschutes a few times and was amazed at how fanatic they were about it and marveled at their fly tying skills,” Annie recalled.

Miller said he is shocked and saddened by what happened on July 17, but he’s relieved Adams “is with Connie again.

Annie said the Central Oregon community has been tremendous in the wake of the tragedy. The response to Adams’ disappearance and support for the family have been remarkable.

A river guide happened to be within a few campsites from where Adams vanished.

“Nobody had cell phone service there. This gentleman made a call from his radio and immediately took his boat out after Stevie,” Annie explained.

“My sister said the Jefferson County Search and Rescue Unit volunteers were onsite within 30 minutes and were ready with their gear before the sheriff arrived. They immediately searched in boats with flood lights until it got too dark. They provided immediate comfort and emotional support for my sister, who witnessed the accident.

The morning of July 18, a team of more than 75 volunteers searched up and down the river with all-terrain vehicles, kayaks, boats and airplanes. They were in constant contact with Lee.

The Warm Springs Tribal Police and community also actively searched on the reservation side of the river, where Adams was recovered six days later.

Annie said, “The outpouring of love and support they have given our family is overwhelming. The reporters from KTVZ Channel 21 were conscientious in their coverage and continue to show genuine concern for the well-being of my sister. They are a remarkable community with truly phenomenal individuals.

A service for Adams was held at Trout Creek Campground on Saturday.

For information on celebration of life services on Maui, e-mail smokeypals@gmail.com. Services have not yet been scheduled.

Annie will remember her brother for “how special he always made me feel.

“It means so much to me that Stevie and Connie took a hand in helping us raise our children. I will remember the selfless dedication and immaculate care he gave Connie when she was bedridden with cancer,” she continued.

“Smokey, as Steve has come to be known, was fiercely loyal and dedicated to the people he loved and respected. He was also willing to give, anyone in need, the Merry Monarch shirt off his back.”

In lieu of flowers or gifts, donations may be sent to Hospice Maui or the Jefferson County Sheriffs’ Search and Rescue Unit, 66 Southeast D St., Suite C, Madras, Oregon 97741-1739.