UPDATE: Sen. Thurman Adams Died of Pancreatic Cancer

Filed in Delaware by on June 23, 2009

Senate President Pro Tem Sen. Thurman Adams died this morning. No other information is available at this time but we will update and promote this post as new information becomes available.

Sincerest condolences to his family.

SECOND UPDATE: The News Journal is reporting that Senator Adams had Pancreatic cancer.

Adams, 80, was admitted to Kent General Hospital on June 15. Doctors confirmed the nature of his illness only shortly before his death, said his daughter, Lynn Kokjohn of Rehoboth Beach. He would have turned 81 on July 25.

“It was very fast,” Kokjohn said. “He went to the governor’s lunch on Tuesday and then the doctor called him because of some blood work and said ‘I don’t like your levels. I want you to get to the hospital.’”

“He was talking yesterday with [grandson] Drew, making sure that certain tributes were ready for the [Delaware State] Fair, for the governor to sign,” Kokjohn said. “He was still working. He was still thinking of all of that.”

Here is local news coverage:
News Journal

Here is a picture from a feature story the News Journal did last summer on the late Senator.

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Jason330 is a deep cover double agent working for the GOP. Don't tell anybody.

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  1. The Mourning Constitution » Observations on Adams’ Passing | June 23, 2009
  1. liberalgeek says:

    Whoa. That’s big news.

  2. Joanne Christian says:

    A true legend.

  3. jason330 says:

    Yep. Nothing on NJ site yet.

  4. jason330 says:

    As of yesterday he was still int he hospital,

    Adams, 80, has represented the Bridgeville area since 1972 and has been president pro tempore of the Senate since 2003.

    A graduate of Bridgeville High School and the University of Delaware, his career in state government began when he was appointed in 1961 to serve on the old State Highway Commission, where he worked for nine years overseeing state roads, bridges and state police.

    He was elected to the Senate in 1972, and 31 years later, broke the previous Senate record for length of service.

  5. RSmitty says:

    Nothing on NJ site yet
    I noticed that, too. FSP and then you had this up, but ten minutes later, not even a headline-blurb from Snooze Journal.

  6. cassandra_m says:

    WDEL has a basic report up.

  7. I’m sorry to hear this. I was hearing this weekend that his illness was quite serious.

    My deepest condolences to his families.

  8. Paul K says:

    Condolences to his family, but the man should have retire years ago and spent more time with his family. I wonder who they will pick for head of the senate now? Hopefully it won’t be another guy who shoves bills into his desk because he’s afraid they would pass the senate.

  9. Delaware Dem says:

    This is pretty shocking. Just yesterday he was in the hospital awaiting test results and was considered well.


    I offer my sympathy and condolences to his family and friends. I will not eulogize the man as a legend for I and others did not agree with him on a host of issues facing Delaware nor his tactics in stifling debate, and I think it would be dishonorable to pretend these differences did not exist.

    But I will say it is sad whenever someone, including a political opponent passes, especially for those he leaves behind who loved him.

    I would ask that speculation as to who will replace him be tempered for a bit out of respect for Adams’ passing.

  10. RSmitty says:

    As I said on DP, condolences and thoughts to his survivors.

    On the Snooze Journal, though, we have learned via news updates that a woman drove her car into a 7-11 in Newport shortly after 10AM, but as of right now (11:07AM), still nothing on the passing of Thurman Adams. Unbelievable.

  11. PBaumbach says:

    Indeed, I join many others in offering my condolences to Senator’s family.

  12. jason330 says:


    Also…Ed McMahon died.

  13. Delaware Dem says:

    One thing we should speculate about: will business in the Senate be postponed? I would imagine so, and if so, a potentially crude thought is that Sen. Adams has delayed SB 121 one final time.

  14. anon says:

    FYI: General Assembly to recess until further notice.

  15. Best wishes to his family and to those who supported him over the years.

    Mike Protack

  16. anonone says:

    Del Dem wrote:
    “I would ask that speculation as to who will replace him be tempered for a bit out of respect for Adams’ passing.

    And then 7 minutes later, he wrote:
    “a potentially crude thought is that Sen. Adams has delayed SB 121 one final time.”

    7 minutes of respect is about right, I guess. It is 7 minutes more than I could give it.

  17. Delaware Dem says:

    I said it was a crude thought, hence not respectful.

  18. Sen. Adams was a solicitous and courteous Southern gentleman. Deepest sympathies to his family and friends.

  19. Joanne Christian says:

    MJ–won’t link.

  20. jason330 says:

    “Obviously, it leaves a huge whole. He was a gentleman, but he was a force. Here we are in the last four days of session without a pro tempore. For session purposes, the position needs to be filled. You hate to jump in there but we need to decide quickly. I imagine this will be the first order of business on the Senate agenda,” Peterson said.


  21. Joanne Christian says:

    Thank you DelGem…but still a mitzvah for you MJ!

  22. Delaware Dem says:

    Well, since Karen Peterson is speculating, I guess we can too.

    I am sure it will not be DeLuca. It will be Venables or Cook.

  23. RSmitty says:

    From that list (DeLuca, Venables, Cook), I guess I’d prefer Venables, but how ’bout ‘dem Dems get more progressive already.

  24. Geezer says:

    It was almost Blevins before. Why not now?

  25. So there will be 20 people in the Senate, making Denn a possible tie breaker in the last few days of the Legislative Session? This makes for some drama that will be interesting to see unfold.

  26. X Stryker says:

    Condolences to the Senator’s family and his supporters and friends. He led a long life of service to the state and supported his constituency quite effectively. As Senate Pro Tem, he leaves behind the largest Democratic majority of recent memory.

  27. Joanne Christian says:

    Mission Accomplished.

  28. PBaumbach says:

    Won’t Cook be too busy in JFC-related meetings to serve as PT this month?

  29. RSmitty says:

    Pancreatic cancer. That’s really hitting close to home, regionally speaking, this past week. I’m only turning 40 with no history, but I’d be lying if I said I’m not thinking of asking about getting tested sooner than later.

  30. MJ says:

    Denn as the tiebreaker – I’d love to see that in voting down Venables’ amendments to SB 121.

  31. liberalgeek says:

    Pancreatic cancer is one of the worst. I lost a friend to that a little over a year ago.

  32. Sad, at least he died with his boots on. He was able to make a difference right up to the end. You can’t ask for much more.

  33. i have never heard more empty words from such a shallow person.

    your ability to measure fellow human beings is right up there with a possum being able to find a good carcas

  34. it’s a shame that he worked right up till the very end. There was no time for what he personally and singlehandedly did to the state to abate and allow people to remember all the good that he did

  35. The deafening silence showing how fast this thread died speaks volumes more than any eulogy would ever accomplish to describe a 30-some odd year Senator.

    I am not adding to it, just recognizing what I see. Only Mike Castle has a heartwarming story about the man.