Robin Adams (Oates 1960 – 1964)

Robin Adams in 1964

Robin Adams, photographed in 1964

It is with great sadness that I have to report the passing of Robin Adams, my brother. Robin was in Oates from 1960 to 1964 and will, I think, be remembered by many of his contemporaries with great fondness. He was, and remained throughout life, a great character, very vocal and with an extremely active brain.

His poor eyesight, he wore strong glasses from an early age, meant that ball games were not his forte. But, uniquely, he gained his 50 Club colours for cricket as the long serving scorer for 1st XI. He supplemented his neat and accurate scorebook with diagrams showing the location of the scoring shots of the opposition batsmen. I do not know whether these ever proved of practical value. He was also a good sprinter and a more than useful horseman. But his main sporting accomplishment was as a skier. He delighted in the difficult technical challenge of skiing through trees in deep powder snow.

After Falcon he went to Oxford University where he had a notable career as an undergraduate. He became Treasurer of the Oxford Union at the time when FOB Robert Jackson was President. It was an extraordinary achievement for a small school from the colonies to provide the two most senior officers in that august institution at the same time. He was also the President of his college Junior Common Room and still had time to get a first class honours degree in Politics Philosophy and Economics.

Contemporaries may remember his liberal (by the standards of the time) political views. In 1974 he stood as a Liberal Party candidate in the two general elections that were held in the UK that year. He was not successful and thereafter took less interest in politics to concentrate his efforts on his career as an economic consultant,

He married Judith Richardson in 1975. Two years later they moved to the USA near Philadelphia where they had three children, Laura, William and Rachel. They then moved to Whidbey Island near Seattle.

Robin Adams, 3rd from left, being presented to The Queen, in 1967, in his capacity as Treasurer of the Oxford Union

Robin Adams (far left), and Robert Jackson (centre), being presented to The Queen, in 1967, in their respective roles as Treasurer and President of the Oxford Union

Robin built an international reputation as a consultant to the mining industry and amongst other things acted as the regulator of the electricity generator in Iceland. He carried on working right up to the end. In fact, only two weeks before he passed away he acted as an expert witness in a multi-million pound law suit, the Judge having moved the court from New York to Whidbey Island so that Robin could give his evidence.

He died last Tuesday, 28th January 2014, peacefully at home with his wife and family at his side after a short struggle with cancer. He will be sadly missed by us all.

Chris AdamsOates 1964-1968



Only a week ago it occurred to me that it was exactly 54 years since I arrived at Falcon wide eyed as the only boy from St Johns in Salisbury to go up to Falcon in 1960.

Robin and I became friends on the first day and we remained good friends for life, picking up where we left off, no matter how long had intervened. Of all the friends I had at Falcon, Robin was always my best friend, and indeed, he visited us in Malawi for one holiday and I spent many enjoyable visits to his parents’ place in Bulawayo and later to the house in Piers road.

Robin had a very acute brain and loved the challenge of debate, sometimes beyond most people’s endurance, but always without rancour.

One of the highlights of his sporting life was when Robin and his brother Chris entered the schools skiing competition at Klosters and won it representing Rhodesia, which had never seen a snowflake!!

Best friends at school are, like your parents, irreplaceable, and Robin was much too young to pass on.

Roger PhillipsOates 1960-1964



I well remember Robin, being in the same class as he was all the way through Falcon. Robert Jackson was also in the same class. I would say the two of them were probably the brightest in what was, dare I say, a very bright class. They both excelled in different academic areas although Robin was probably a better all-rounder. Robert Jackson was way ahead of anyone else in the more Art type subjects but hopeless at the sciences. I am not surprised to hear of how they did at Oxford.

I do remember one amusing incident though, involving Robin. We were translating a Latin set book called “Camilla”, being taught by Mr Jenks who loved Latin but seemed to hate kids. We used to go around the class translating a few sentences each (exceedingly boring and we used to get fed up with it). On one occasion, it was Robin’s turn to translate and it was a passage saying something to do with the light being behind Camilla and shining past her neck. Robin translated it as “shining though her neck”, whereupon Jenks, got up and said, “’Light shining through her neck’; you blithering idiot” and walked out of the classroom refusing to teach us for the rest of the lesson. We were thrilled! I have to say, though, it was rare for Robin to make a mistake like that.

I am sure he will be sadly missed, not only by his immediate family, but by many others. I will always remember him as being not only very bright but also very human.

Neil Laing – Tredgold, 1960-1964

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3 Responses to Robin Adams (Oates 1960 – 1964)

  • Robin was a member of the most remarkable group of boys, academically, that I taught in 40 years in the ‘business’. Most of them went on to Oxford and Cambridge – from that funny little bush-school, Falcon.

    Utterly coincidentally, Robert Jackson and Caroline have been holidaying in the Cape recently and TOMORROW, Tuesday 4 February, Robert is opening a water-feature at Falcon College and will say a few words about places and people. It so happens that 4 Feb was Dougal Turner’s birthday in 1922, so he would have been 92 tomorrow if still alive. And Robin Adams, of course, was Jackson’s great friend and competitor.

    Paul CannonStaff, 1958-1967

  • As I think ahead to a visit to Falcon this July, it is now 50 years since I started in Founders in January 1964. I recall Robin clearly – as a junior we had to learn the names of all the prefects in all the houses and as a keen cricket follower I remember his part as the First XI scorer. Despite the considerable distance between a junior in one house and a prefect in another, my recollection is that he was a kind person and clearly very intelligent – the picture with the Queen was in the February 1969 edition of The Falcon and I am sure that many of us still at school that year took particular pride in his achievements at Oxford.

    Having followed a little in Robin’s footsteps as First XI scorer for three years I was very sorry to hear this sad news and send to Chris and Robin’s family my sincere condolences.

    John Roberts – Founders 1964-69

  • Chris I remember your brother Robin well although he was in another house and a prefect. In Tredgold we were rather proud in having Robert Jackson who used to take Robin on in debates. None of us really knew what they were arguing about. I also remember him riding horses.

    You have my sincerest sympathy.

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