Beloved Detroit Reverend Charles G. Adams dies at 86, remembered for 50 years of service

A religious Detroit icon, Rev. Dr. Charles G. Adams, died on Wednesday at the age of 86.

Adams was the retired pastor of Hartford Memorial Baptist Church in Detroit. He died at Pontiac’s Trinity Health Oakland Hospital due to health complications.

"He had a tremendous influence on the metropolitan Detroit community for over 50 years," said his son and successor, Rev. Charles C. Adams – the current senior pastor of Hartford.

Adams left a lasting legacy that not only enriched lives through the teachings of The Gospel but also uplifted the community. Early on, he recognized that as a religious leader, he needed to expand his influence beyond the walls of the church. Under his guidance at Hartford, significant achievements were made.

"His tenure went a lot further than the politicians that worked with him and a lot of times for the same goals," his son said. "We’ve done extensive economic development. A Hartford Headstart program on our land (was started). We bought a park from the city of Detroit, refurbished that, and we developed, along with Presbyterian villages of Michigan. …a $16.5 million senior housing facility."

Adams' son first became co-pastor alongside him, before taking over as senior pastor once he fully retired. The office remains as Adams left it, his son said. 

The late pastor dedicated 50 years and 6 months of his life to serving at Hartford. After studying at Harvard Divinity School, he felt a strong calling to return to his beloved city.

"He loved everything about Detroit," his son said.

Adams was married to Agnes Hadley Adams and was the father of Tara Adams Washington, MD, and Rev. Charles C. Adams.

"Detroiters have lost a great champion and a great man," said Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan following Adams' death.

Detroit City council president Mary Sheffield also released a statement. 

"He was a warrior for justice and a beacon of hope for many," she said.

Ensuring the continued legacy of Adams remains a top priority, with a key focus on uplifting the community as the fundamental element.

"He was one of the most generous people that I have ever known," his son added. "There is nothing that he would not do for your well being."

The funeral arrangements for Adams have been scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 14, and Friday, Dec. 15 at Hartford Memorial Baptist:

  • Thursday: A public viewing will take place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., followed by a tribute and concert at 5 p.m. 
  • Friday: A processional will take place at 9 a.m., and the funeral service will commence at 10 a.m.