Mary Jane Adams, early KFTC leader, passes away

Mary Jane Adams, one of KFTC’s earliest members, our first vice-chairperson and later chairperson, passed away last week after an extended illness.

Mary Jane AdamsMary Jane and husband Raleigh were among the key organizers of the Leslie County Concerned Citizens, one of the core community groups associated with KFTC in our earliest years. They and other landowners formed LCCC to protect their land from destruction by coal, oil and gas companies, and later took on other issues.

She was a leader on many KFTC issues, including the successful broad form deed constitutional amendment campaign in 1988. In a 2011 interview, she recalled that campaign:

“One highlight of my two years as chairperson was Election Day when the Broad Form Deed Amendment was voted on. I remember being an election officer. People would come in to vote for the amendment and said they didn’t want to vote for any candidate.

“I was an election judge and Raleigh drove me over to Hyden to take the results. As I walked in the clerk’s office, Jimmy Lewis, the clerk, yelled out, “We’re winning really big in Leslie County!” It took me a minute to realize he was talking about the amendment vote. Then lots of people cheered. None of those folks had ever acknowledged my position as chair of KFTC. I was really surprise that they even knew who I was.

“Then we headed on to Hindman [the Hindman Settlement School]. Wow! There were cars everywhere. I remember all the KFTC staff were there and James Still and Joe Begley. Everything was moving in a whirl. We had to go next door to use the phone to talk to the press or whoever. I was running back and forth across the drive. Everyone enjoyed the evening, especially the verdict.

“Finally, we had enough of a count across the state to declare the amendment had won. I got to announce the verdict. It was wonderful. More people had voted for the amendment than had voted for president.”

The video clip below is from election night in 1988 when Mary Jane and a group of KFTC leaders gathered to watch election returns.

A public leadership role was not a natural one for her, Mary Jane would say, but one in which she grew in skill and confidence through her work with KFTC and the Leslie County Concerned Citizens. She also took that into the classroom as an educator for 20 years.

The family requests memorial donations be made to the Cutshin Mission-Clinic, 12500 Cutshin Road, Yeaddiss, Ky. 41777 or to the Markey Cancer Foundation, 800 Rose Street, Roach Bldg. - CC160, Lexington, Ky. 40536-0093. Condolences to Raleigh Adams and children Richard and Leah may be sent via

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