Obituary

Shared on 4th April 2012

Richard Lee “Shtix” Adelman                                                          

October 13, 1946 - April 1, 2012

Richard Lee Adelman died peacefully of natural causes on April 1, 2012 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. He was in his wife’s arms and in the presence of one of his closest friends, Ken Eisenstein, at the time of his passing.

Richard had two great loves throughout his life: his devoted wife, Janice Adelman, and his music. Richard started playing drums at age 8 and studied under several Boston-area teachers, including percussion legend George Stone.  A staple of the Boston music scene from a young age, Richard went on to play in bands with music greats including Donna Summer, Jonathan Edwards, Rita Coolidge, the Hues Corporation, Martin Mull, and Billy Vera and the Beaters. Richard’s role as Donna Summer’s drummer on her album "Live and More" earned him a Platinum Record and his role on Jonathan Edwards’s hit single "Sunshine" earned him a Gold Record.

While Richard was at Brookline High School, he met the love of his life, Janice Sokoloski, a Saint Mary’s Catholic School girl with a soft spot for the Jewish drummer at her high school dance. Despite the social and religious prejudices against such relationships in the early 1960’s, the two formed a life-long bond and went on to marry and raise a family together. The strength of that bond endured through significant hardship over the years, including an automobile accident in 1985 that left Richard quadriplegic and ended his career as a touring musician overnight. Richard remained active in the music scene following this accident, including as a performer and as an advocate for disabled musicians. 

Born in Brookline, MA on October 13, 1946 to Dr. Norman and Mrs. Ruth Lewitus Adelman, Richard was a Massachusetts resident for most of his life. Richard first left Brookline for Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where he studied business at the University of North Carolina from 1965-1968. Richard and Janice started their family in 1965 with the birth of their first son, Eric Lee. As a young family, Janice and Richard followed Richard’s early music career around the Northeast. In 1977, two years after their second son, Zachariah Emile, was born, Richard and his family moved to Los Angeles, where Richard’s music career flourished. Richard and Janice moved back to Massachusetts year-round in 1997, building their dream home on Cape Cod.  After residing in Eastham for over a decade, Richard and Janice relocated to Hillsborough, NC in early 2010.

Richard was a warm, soft-spoken man who embraced all he met with his kind heart.  He will be remembered best for his gentle spirit, his devotion to family, his incredible musical talent, his love of sports (he was a fervent Patriots, Bruins, Red Sox, Celtics and Tar Heels fan), and his astonishing resilience. Whether performing for sold out arenas of fans, working as an advocate for disabled musicians, or playing percussion and dancing during evening “music hour” with his beloved granddaughters, Richard shared his love of music with many people throughout his life. Richard’s capacity for spreading joy and remaining positive throughout the most challenging times of his life served as an inspiration to all who knew him.   

Richard leaves behind a large circle of family and friends. He is survived by his wife, Janice Adelman; parents, Norman and Jeri Adelman; son, Eric Adelman, his wife, Beverly, and their daughters, Ashley and Haley; son, Zachariah Adelman and his wife, Caroline; brother, Michael Adelman, his wife, Sharyn, and their children, Craig Adelman and Rachael Pelletier and their families; brother, Allen Chin, his wife Linda, and their sons, Adam and Andrew; sisters, Leslie Chin and Suzanne Martel; sister-in-law, Arleen Turk, her daughters, Julie Rizzo, Robyn LaFrance, Sarah Johnston, and their children.

A memorial service will be held at Granite Links Golf Club in Quincy, MA on April 17 at 3:30 p.m. All friends and family are invited to attend. Richard’s youngest son, Zac Adelman, may be contacted for details at zacadelman(at)gmail.com. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that donations be directed to The Rhythmic Arts Project (www.traponline.org), an educational organization focused on empowering and enriching the lives of disabled individuals through percussion-based music.