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Jim Adcock leaves lasting, colorful legacy

(July 27, 2023) Heaven must have wanted a little more color and joy because on July 19, 2023, at age 75, renowned local artist and benefactor Jim Adcock passed peacefully over, in the arms of his loving wife.

Jim was born and raised in Dundalk, the youngest child and only son of Bentley and Florence (née Reckline) Adcock.

He is survived by his wife, Karen Adcock; sisters Betty Pyfer and Rose Adcock; brother-in-law Darel Patrick; daughter Jessica Dziemburski (Robert); son Jason; stepdaughters Amy Brennan Ohringer (Ron) and Nikkole McClure; and grandchildren Makenna and Kara Dziemburski, Alice and Derek Ohringer, and Bohdi McClure.

He was also a dear father figure to nieces Marilyn Wellington (Mark), Amber Burgess (Randy), and Trina McDonald. He had too many other relatives to name, but was especially close to his cousin, Delana Wisnauskas, of Ocean Pines.

Jim said he could not remember a time when he didn’t want to be an artist. Though he had the brains and heart to conquer any discipline, he had scores of stories about the trouble he got into in school because he didn’t care about learning anything but art.

The prestigious Maryland Institute College of Art apparently agreed, enthusiastically accepting him as a student and ultimately awarding him a degree in art education, which he used initially to teach art to middle schoolers in the Baltimore school system.

By then married with a young family, he left teaching, partly to make more money and because he felt he wasn’t having much of an impact on the kids. If only he had known then how many working artists today credit “Mr. Adcock” for fueling their passion for self-expression and imbuing them with the confidence to be true to their own visions.

Before moving to Delmarva in the 1990s, Jim worked as a commercial artist, a liquor distributor, and a railroad brakeman, a job that provided him with enough amazing stories he was frequently urged to write a book, though he couldn’t put down his paint brushes long enough to do it.

Jim found his true home and career in Delmarva, a place he adored, with people he made it his business to know and befriend.

Jim was a local icon. He left a huge catalog of artwork celebrating the people, landscapes, architecture, and attractions in the area.

Countless local residents commissioned him to paint their homes, pets, or favorite locations. Jim was always moved to see how happy people were when they came to vacation in the area. He made it his mission to paint the things that would remind folks of the memories they made here.

In addition to painting, Jim had many passions.

He and his former wife, Edie Brennan, a well-known and accomplished real estate broker, helped to begin the Wines in the Pines club, where he could share his encyclopedic knowledge of and appreciation for good wines.

Edie also used his love of theater to wheedle him into performing with and designing sets for the Ocean Pines Players, a tactic also successfully employed by his current wife, Karen.

Jim loved music and it was always playing in the studio. He was an avid reader and moviegoer, and Sunday could not begin until he finished the New York Times crossword puzzle.

After moving to Delmarva, Jim held several jobs before working full time as a painter.

While working in publishing, he decided Ocean Pines deserved a better newspaper, so he created the Ocean Pines Gazette.

The paper grew quickly and in 2004, Jim sold it to Flag Publications, which renamed it the Bayside Gazette. From then until his death, Jim published a humorous editorial cartoon in the Gazette every week that won him an entirely new set of fans.

Jim’s greatest talent of all was as a human, a mensch. He was a gentle giant, whose empathy and compassion knew no bounds. He adored his family and loved nothing more than spending time with them, especially the little ones.

He was the truest of friends and was unfailingly gracious, generous, and kind to acquaintances and strangers alike. No matter what was going on inside him at a given time, the people he was with saw only attention, patience, and caring.

He will be greatly missed by all who knew him.

The Art League of Ocean City, of which Jim was an enthusiastic member and contributor, is working with the family to establish an annual scholarship in Jim’s name. To support the cause, donations in his name can be sent to the Art League of Ocean City.

Though he rarely mentioned it, Jim was a proud member of the Monacan Indian Nation and a generous supporter of their efforts on behalf of Native American welfare. Those who wish to remember Jim in this way can donate to the tribe at Monacan Indian Nation, 111 Highview Drive, Madison Heights, VA 24572.

Jim chose to be cremated.

There will be Celebration of Life at Community Church of Ocean Pines on Sept. 23, details to be announced later.

Letters of condolence can be sent to the family at Arrangements are in the care of the Burbage Funeral Home.