Thomas Conrad Adam

Thomas Conrad Adam was born on Feb. 16, 1935, in Deadwood, to August Conrad Adam and Jesse Ellen Maxwell Adam.  Due to medical complications, Tom lost his mother only two weeks after his birth, and was raised solely by his father until August was remarried to Bessie McGraw.  Later, Tom’s brother William was born and completed the family. 

Tom was a miner’s son and lived with his family in a variety of Montana mining camps during World War II, but was mostly raised in Lead, home to Homestake Gold Mine where August worked. Even as a boy Tom was resourceful and hard-working, always looking for ways to contribute.    He often told stories about his childhood paper route, delivering the Lead Daily Call up and down the many tall streets of Lead, through very deep Black Hills snow, or of his time working in the mine as a young man.  He also worked hard in school and excelled academically, earning the respect of his teachers and peers who voted him class president in 1952, his senior year.  Tom played baseball and football for the Lead High Golddiggers, and was his team’s captain. 

Following high school, Tom attended the University of South Dakota.  After his freshman year, he proudly served in the United States Army for two years then returned to USD where he was an active contributor on campus and a member of Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity.  While an undergrad, Tom met his future bride, Patricia Mickelson, and they were married in Sioux Falls, in 1959.  As newlyweds, they returned to USD where Tom attended law school and earned his Juris Doctorate in 1961.  Upon graduation the couple moved to Pierre, where they made their home for 55 years, and where Tom began his life-long career practicing law with the firm of Martens & Goldsmith, presently known as May Adam Law Firm.  During his tenure at the firm Tom was very politically attuned, and spent significant time at the State Capitol during the legislative session.  He also proudly represented the South Dakota Bankers Association for almost 40 years but mostly, Tom developed a meaningful practice which cast far and wide, helping farmers and ranchers meet their needs. 

Among his many other contributions and commitments, Tom served on the national board of the Easter Seal Society, served as chairman of the South Dakota Board of Bar Examiners, and was a director of the Sanford Underground Research Facility located in the former Homestake Gold Mine.  Tom and Pat were also disciples at the First United Methodist Church where they were actively involved in the life of the church for decades.  In his free time, Tom loved hunting, reading, tending his salsa garden, pruning his apple trees, joining his wife for a float down the Missouri River, or spending time together at their beloved cabin in Spearfish Canyon.

In addition to making the lives of their four children the best that it could be, Tom and Pat were proud grandparents of 14 and great-grandparents of 3, and loved spending time with all of them. 

Tom is survived by his children; Kathleen (Bruce) Bykowski of Eden Prairie, Minnesota; Paula Adam-Burchill (Thomas), of Sioux Falls, Karlton (Joan) Adam of Pierre; Sarah (Greg) Axtman of Harrisburg, PA; grandchildren Matthew (Ashley) Bykowski, Bennett (Katherine) Bykowski, Carter (Adrianna) Bykowski; Connor, Nolan and Maxwell Burchill; Katherine (Eric) Danforth; Conrad, Jack, Phillip and Paul Adam; August, John and Eric Axtman; great-grandchildren Brooklyn, Luke and Brody Bykowski; many beloved nieces and nephews; sister and brother in law Lavon & James Meyers of West Lafayette, IN; sister in law Linda Mickelson Graham of Sioux Falls; sister in law Therese Adam of Spearfish; as well as many dear friends.

Tom was predeceased by Patricia, his wife of 56 years; his father, August; his mother, Jessie; his step-mother, Bessie; parents-in-law Governor George T. and Madge Mickelson; brother William; brother and sister-in-law, John and Janice Carmody; brother-in-law, Governor George S. Mickelson; nephew Jack Carmody; and great nephew Michael Carmody.

Tom’s 14 grandchildren are his pallbearers, with honorary pallbearers including Karl Fischer, Milton Schwartz and the past and present attorneys of the May Adam Law Firm.  Visitation with family present will be on Thursday, Oct. 10, at the First United Methodist Church of Pierre, 117 North Central Avenue, from 5:30-7 p.m.  The funeral will also be at the church on Friday, October 11, at 11 a.m.  The family suggests memorials may be directed to the First United Methodist Church of Pierre, the South Dakota State Historical Society, or The Trail of Governors Foundation.

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