Barn 04

John Howard Adamson, III

November 3, 1947 ~ November 19, 2021 (age 74)


John Howard Adamson III

11/3/1947 – 11/19/2021

John Adamson, loving husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle and friend, passed away suddenly of natural causes on Nov 19, 2021.  John was born in Pittsburgh, PA to Sally Weber Adamson and John Howard Adamson II on Nov 3, 1947, the third of five children. He was raised in Arlington, VA where he was a record breaking track star at Yorktown High School. He attended Virginia Polytechnic Institute, earning a B.S. degree in Statistics and running track. His college track relay team exceled in the 4x100 and 4x200 and recently reconnected to collaborate on a writing project focused on those invaluable experiences and friendships. John later earned a Master of Commerce degree from the University of Richmond.

He met his wife Barbara Ann Hardebeck on a blind date and they married on June 7, 1969. They raised their family in Culpeper, Richmond and later Vienna, Virginia where John was an active father, coaching his son’s basketball team and getting his daughter through calculus.

John’s career was spent at C&P Telephone, later Bell Atlantic/Verizon, where he served in a multitude of roles from Planning and Design Field Engineer to Director of Long Distance Operations over a commendable 30 years. He was also an Army veteran.

In 1998, John and Barbara retired to Strasburg, VA where they quickly became active in numerous local organizations and John nurtured his passions for history, craftsmanship and the outdoors. He long had an interest in history in general, military history in particular, in Kentucky long rifles and was a member of the Kentucky Rifle Association.  Since coming to Shenandoah County he developed a great interest in Shenandoah County history, local architecture and the material culture of the Shenandoah Valley.  Most recently he was leading a program to document the barns of Shenandoah County. He enjoyed giving presentations to local groups that share these interests.

At the time of his passing, John was a member of the Board of Directors for Strasburg Museum, Shenandoah County Historical Society, Belle Grove Inc. and the National Barn Alliance. He was an active member of the National Trust for Historic Preservation and past chair of the Federal Advisory Commission for the Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park.  He was past Chairman of Belle Grove, Inc., where he was a volunteer tour guide. He served as a member of the Citizen’s Advisory Committee on the Shenandoah County Comprehensive Plan. He was an active member and past president of the Strasburg Rotary Club.

Throughout his life, John appreciated listening to and making music, and was in a basement/barn/backyard band, the Monkey Bars, with numerous and valued friends for over 25 years. He enjoyed fishing from his canoe for smallmouth bass on the North Fork, spending time outdoors, hiking, reading, traveling, watching sports, learning and spending time with friends and family in good conversation.

John was preceded in death by his parents and his sister Marjorie Cameron Adamson.  John is survived by wife Barbara, son Matthew (Erika), daughter Marjorie Lee (Mark), grandchildren Peter Adamson, Erin Lee and Juliette Lee. Also survived by sisters Sally Burlingame and Jane DeSelm (David) and brother Robert (Katie), 5 nephews, 1 niece, 2 great-nephews, 3 great-nieces, almost too many cousins to count and many cherished friends.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the Shenandoah County Historical Society (P.O. Box 506, Edinburg, VA 22824) or to Belle Grove Plantation (  P.O. Box 537, Middletown, VA 22645).

A Celebration of Life for John will be held at Strasburg United Methodist Church, 114 W. Washington Street, Strasburg, VA on Friday, December 3, 2021, beginning at 11:00 a.m.  For those who prefer to view the Celebration of Life service online may do so at the following livestream link  

The family will receive friends at Stover Funeral Home on Thursday, December 2, 2021, from 6-8 p.m.

You may sign the family guestbook and submit condolences online at

Stover Funeral Home and Crematory, Strasburg, VA is serving the family of John H. Adamson.


To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of John Howard Adamson, III, please visit our floral store.


December 2, 2021

6:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Stover Funeral Home & Crematory
177 N. Holliday Street
Strasburg, VA 22657

Celebration of Life
December 3, 2021

11:00 AM
Strasburg United Methodist Church (Washington Street, Strasburg, VA)

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