A life-long resident of Shelby, Roger Adam attended one-room schools for eight years. He attended grades 1-4 at the Marsh Run school at the comer of Shoup Road and Route 61 north of Shelby. For grades 5-8 he attended Landis School on East Smiley which today serves as a home. While at SHS Roger was class president for three years and represented the school at Buckeye Boys State in 1938.
After graduating he entered Heidelberg College on a government-sponsored program that led Roger to becoming a nitrator – mixer of chemicals – in making explosives for bombs. A desire to fly led Roger to enroll in the government’s VS program. The program required his attending flight schools around the country and he graduated – and was commissioned an ensign – from Corpus Christi Naval Air Station in Texas. He was certified as a pilot, navigator and bombardier.
During World War II Roger flew four-engine patrol bombers. “Our mission was not bombing land targets,” he explains, “but Japanese warships and supply vessels.” He and his crew flew from bases on several islands including Iwo Jima. They took on Japanese Zeros, sank a Japanese vessel and searched for down American flight crews forced to ditch in the Pacific Ocean. He flew cover for the surrender of Japanese forces on Truck Island. Roger was promoted to Lieutenant JG in 1945 and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal with two stars and other campaign decorations.
He was released from active military duty in 1946 and in 1947 married Catherine (Katie) Sheridan. They have three children: Dennis ’68 of Shelby, Mary Ann Vaughan ’74 of California and Melinda Berdanier ’76 of South Dakota. He and Katie, members of Most Pure Heart of Mary Church, also have five grandchildren.
Roger has been active in community endeavors. He as served on the boards of Rehabilitation Services of North Central Ohio, United Fund of Shelby, Shelby Girl Scout Little House, Girl Scout Council of Mansfield and St. Mary’s Cemetery. He also served as a Little League baseball coach and courier for Shelby Memorial Hospital for 22 years. He and Katie delivered Meals On Wheels for many years and were recipients of the Jess Rath Christian Volunteer Service Award.
Roger worked 36 years at Miller Shelby Products which experiened several name changes and became Quanex. Roger completed his career as director of industrial relations.
Nominator: Don Chew ’40. Presenter: Dennis Adam ’68.