A. John Adams, journalist, public affairs specialist

December 20, 2012

A. John Adams, 81, a former journalist who operated a Washington-based public relations firm for many years, died Dec. 7 of melanoma at his home in Lovettsville. His wife, Judith Adams, confirmed his death.

The British-born Mr. Adams worked for Radio Free Europe in 1950s and came to the United States in 1962 to work for the Catholic News in New York.

He later worked as a writer and producer for ABC News and CBS News in New York. He worked on documentaries with Walter Cronkite and other well-known correspondents.

In 1971, Mr. Adams came to Washington as a public affairs officer with the Price Commission, a White House board established to administer wage and price controls.

Mr. Adams launched his public relations firm, John Adams and Associates, in 1973, and had many high-profile corporate and international clients. He provided early pro bono professional support to the Solidarity movement in Poland and helped coordinate the first visit to the United States of Solidarity leader Lech Walesa.

Mr. Adams’s firm also represented the Republic of Georgia and exiled leaders of Chechnya. He was a founding partner and the first chairman of Worldcom, an international consortium of public relations firms established in 1988.

He retired in September.

Alfred John Bertrand Adams was born in Liverpool, England, and grew up in London. As a child in World War II, he was evacuated from London to rural Hertfordshire during the Blitz.

Mr. Adams served in the British army during the Korean War, and he was wounded and taken prisoner. He helped lead an escape by several prisoners.

He later worked for the Telegraph newspaper in London before joining Radio Free Europe.

Mr. Adams was a member of the boards of several professional organizations and was a co-founder of the Environmental Health Research Foundation. He was a member of the National Press Club and was elected to the hall of fame of the national capital chapter of the Public Relations Society of America.

His first marriage, to Vibeke Dinsen, ended in divorce.

Survivors include his wife of 34 years, Judith Duff Adams, and their daughter, Caroline Adams, both of Lovettsville; and a brother.

— Matt Schudel