Update: Funeral arrangements have been set for Times/Review sportswriter and author Chuck Adams.
The family will receive visitors Friday, Jan. 7, from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. at Defriest-Grattan Funeral Home, Mattituck. Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 8, at Mattituck Presbyterian Church.
Author, sportswriter and businessman Chuck Adams of Mattituck died Tuesday at Peconic Bay Medical Center. He was 55.
A cousin, Lori Wulffraat of Riverhead, said the family was awaiting an autopsy, but they believed Mr. Adams died from a reaction to medication.
Ms. Wulffraat described her cousin as “outgoing, upbeat, smiling, happy, living for the day,” and said his two daughters, Rebecca and Bridgette, were his life.
“He had such a strong will for life and happiness. He was going to live to at least 75,” she said.
On his Facebook page on New Year’s Day, he wrote, “To all my family and friends, this has been a difficult year in so many ways, so I want to thank all of you for your love and support … Happy New Year!!!”
Another posting on his Facebook page hours after his passing summed it up for many who knew Mr. Adams. Alison Hallock wrote, “I will miss you so much. RIP, Chuck, you have been a beacon of hope for so many people including me.”
Just a year ago, Mr. Adams published his first novel, “Something More,” a story that paralleled his own life so closely that his parents had difficulty separating him from the book’s main character, Bobby Sanders, he said in an interview at the time.
But the author and his fictional character differed greatly in one major way, he said. Bobby Sanders sometimes expressed frustration with his life as a paraplegic and contemplated suicide, while Mr. Adams said he himself embraced life with zest.
“Success isn’t driven by your arms and legs; it’s driven by your heart and head,” he said. He described “Something More” as “a story of determination.”
Mr. Adams’ paralysis was the result of a breech birth that severed his spinal cord. He wasn’t diagnosed until he had started to crawl and his parents realized he was using his arms to pull himself along. As a toddler, he spent close to a year at St. Charles Hospital while doctors explored what to do for him. But he remained in a wheelchair.
In recent years, Mr. Adams underwent a number of surgeries. With the last one, in January 2010, he told his doctors he wanted 10 to 15 more years to pursue his dreams, one of which was to publish two additional Bobby Sanders books. The second, written last year, is expected to be published soon, Ms. Wulffraat said. Mr. Adams had been working on the third book in the trilogy for the past year.
For some 20 years, Mr. Adams was a freelance sportswriter for Times/Review Newspapers; his day job was as a corporate sales representative for BJ’s Wholesale Club. Earlier in his career, he was vice president of marketing and public relations for Riverhead Savings Bank. He also co-hosted the weekly sports cable television show, “The Hot Stove League.”
His co-host, Doug Wald, said Mr. Adams “lived for sports and lived for music. I just remember his penchant for life. He was one of those guys who never let his challenges hold him back. He just had a strong presence.”
Mr. Wald called his friend “an absolutely lovely guy” and said, “There was not a bad bone in his body. Chuck was all heart.”
Besides his daughters, Mr. Adams is survived by his parents, Antone and Georgia Adams, and his brother, Greg Adams.
Bob Liepa contributed to this story.