Tribal elder Philip Adams, 69, was 'multitalented'
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Peninsula College
Philip Adams is shown performing at his retirement party in 2010. His pickup was found down an embankment of Lower Elwha Road on Saturday night. An autopsy was scheduled to be performed Monday.

By Arwyn Rice
Peninsula Daily News

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PORT ANGELES — A 69-year-old Port Angeles man and former Peninsula College counselor who died following a one-vehicle crash was remembered Monday for his academic contributions.

Philip D. Adams, who retired from the community college in 2010 and was a Jamestown S'Klallam elder, was pronounced dead at the scene on the Lower Elwha Klallam reservation Saturday night after paramedics' attempts to resuscitate him were unsuccessful.

Adams' pickup truck ran off the road and over an embankment at the north end of Lower Elwha Road, the Clallam County Sheriff's Office reported.

“He had an incredible impact on a lot of people,” said Kathy Murphy-Carey, a Peninsula College counselor who had worked with Adams since 1975.

Murphy-Carey said Adams, who was vice chair of the Jamestown S'Klallam Higher Education Committee, worked often with minority students, those with disabilities and international students.

He counseled thousands of students during those decades, Murphy-Carey said.

“He filled a lot of roles. He was always a student advocate — the student was always first,” she recalled.

He also taught a class on the history of the Native Americans of the Pacific Northwest, and played guitar and sang in country-western and classic rock 'n' roll bands.

“He was a multi­talented fellow,” Murphy-Carey said.

Clallam County sheriff's deputies, a Lower Elwha tribal police officer and volunteer firefighters from the Dry Creek station of Clallam County Fire District 2 responded to the scene at 8:46 p.m. Saturday to investigate reports of a vehicle over the embankment, said Ron Cameron, Sheriff's Office chief criminal deputy, on Monday.

The pickup truck went over the embankment near Full Moon Trail and Adams, the truck's sole occupant, was found unresponsive inside the cab.

Deputies investigating the crash said they believe it happened a few minutes before it was reported.

No one witnessed the crash, and as of Monday afternoon, no cause had been identified, Cameron said.

It is not being investigated as a crime, he added.

An autopsy was scheduled Monday afternoon, and initial findings may be available later this week, said Mark Nichols, Clallam County's chief deputy prosecutor and deputy coroner.

A Washington State Patrol accident investigation team assisted sheriff's deputies with the investigation, he said.

Adams earned an Associate of Arts degree from Peninsula College, a Bachelor of Arts from Washington State University, and a Master of Education degree from Western Washington University.

He was married to Carolyn Adams, and together they had a large, blended family, Murphy-Carey said.

“He always referred to all of them as 'his kids,'” she said.

Adams also was a longtime member of the Fraternal Order of the Eagles, Aerie 483 of Port Angeles.

Funeral services were not announced.

Reporter Arwyn Rice can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5070, or at

Last modified: February 11. 2013 6:22PM
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