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Mitchell   Lash Adams
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Memories & Candles

“I am so sorry that you have gone you were alway so generous with my family. - ”
1 of 25 | Posted by: Deborah Stanton - Malvern, PA

“My husband,Lee Smith,admired you so and After meeting you at those Terre Haute Wiley High School reunions, so did I. You and I both shared the pain...Read More »
2 of 25 | Posted by: Mary Jane Bradley-Smith - IL

“Mitch and I were good friends in Terre Haute, Indiana, where we lived in the 50's and 60's. We shared many great memories and he was a constant...Read More »
3 of 25 | Posted by: ROGER STELLE - Terre Haute, IN

“We are so sorry to learn if Mitchell's passing. We have lost a good friend from high school days. What an amazing man. ”
4 of 25 | Posted by: Chuck and Annette Tryon - MN

“And with it all, one sterling accomplishment after another, he was genuinely self-effacing, kind and warm, a gentleman in every sense of the word. ...Read More »
5 of 25 | Posted by: Carl Muller - Greenville, SC

“The Button Family loved Mitchell and Kevin. He was the best God Father to my brother, Tom. He often took care of us in the 70's when my mother went...Read More »
6 of 25 | Posted by: Wendy Button - Dedham, MA

“We had the pleasure of sharing lunch with Mr Adams for many years at Panificio On Charles Street. He very much enjoyed the Lentil Soup & a good...Read More »
7 of 25 | Posted by: Christopher Spagnuolo - Boston, MA

“Cheerful as your bow ties, courageous and generous in life and work, the warmth of your spirit and friendship will be remembered by many a classmate. ”
8 of 25 | Posted by: John Diamante - CA - Classmate

“I worked with Mitch at Harvard Medical School and remained in touch with him for years after he left. I attended his marriage to Kevin and Kevin's...Read More »
9 of 25 | Posted by: Joyce Brinton Brinton - Littleton, MA

“Mitchell was a friend, a mentor and a role model, whose wisdom, humor and kindness would always be my guiding lights in life. ”
10 of 25 | Posted by: S Koh

“Joyce met Mitchell during their joint professional days at Harvard and we soon enjoyed time with him, Kevin and the Smiths, sharing weekends in Dark...Read More »
11 of 25 | Posted by: Bruce Hauben Hauben - Littleton, MA

“How could anyone forget this refined, intelligent man? His kindness to me during our campaign to elect Bill Weld as Governor in 1990 will always be...Read More »
12 of 25 | Posted by: Gladys Beaudette - Hudson, MA

“Mitchell,Was the host of the first Weld for Governor House Party Fundraiser I organized at the beginning of the campaign back in the summer of 1989....Read More »
13 of 25 | Posted by: Samantha Overton - Salt Lake City, UT

“Our dear cousin will be sorely missed! We loved having him join us for the wild bunch gatherings each year. It's unthinkable that he will not be with...Read More »
14 of 25 | Posted by: Ann Mehaffy - Baker City, OR

“Mitch and I were classmates at Harvard where I first met him. Later we both served in the Weld admin in the early 1990's. One of the remarkable...Read More »
15 of 25 | Posted by: Tom Black - Maynard, MA

“I would like to express my heartfelt condolences to all of Mitchell's family and friends on his passing. I greatly enjoyed getting to know Mitch and...Read More »
16 of 25 | Posted by: Peter Howe - Boston, MA - Friend

“Mitch, you were such a lovely, gentle man! Rest in peace! ”
17 of 25 | Posted by: Liam Tuffy - Enniscrone, MA

“I will miss Mitchell. To those who were most close to him, please know that Elizabeth and I shall miss him. I knew him since 1964, and he and I...Read More »
18 of 25 | Posted by: Clint Smith - Lexington, MA


19 of 25 | Posted by: John Wilson - Sudbury, VT

“I just heard of Mitchell's passing today. Mitchell gave me my break in 1992 and I shall forever be in his debt. He was a fascinating, fast-walking...Read More »
20 of 25 | Posted by: Todd Sharek - Newton, MA

“I am so sorry to hear about the families loss.may the families hearts ♥ be filled with wonderful memories of joyful times the family shared...Read More »
21 of 25 | Posted by: A friend

“Mitchell was my boss at the department of revenue when he tapped me to to help quarterback passage of new child support enforcement legislation. He...Read More »
22 of 25 | Posted by: Kevin Sowyrda - New York, NY

“When I came back to Boston in 1995 after finally coming out of the closet in 1990, Mitchell and Kevin took me up into their warm circle of friends.He...Read More »
23 of 25 | Posted by: Andrew Saxe Saxe - MA - Friend

“My heart is broken to hear the news of the passing of Mitchell Adams. I worked with him as the Director of Communications for the Mass. DOR from...Read More »
24 of 25 | Posted by: Ann Murphy - Boston, MA - Friend

“Mitchell was a dear friend, teacher and mentor for more than 30 years. We met in 1989 as members of the Dedham Village group. He gave me my first...Read More »
25 of 25 | Posted by: Chris Kealey - Medway, MA


Mitchell Lash Adams, a devoted and beloved husband, brother, uncle, cousin, son, friend, and philanthropist died at home on Beacon Hill on July 18, 2020 in Boston, Massachusetts. He was 75 years old.

Born in the middle of the American Century, Mitchell lived an American life - traversing an improbable arc from scion of one the Country's oldest and most distinguished political and medical families to a passionate and dedicated advocate for LGBTQ rights, access to healthcare, and recovery from alcoholism and drug addiction.

Mitchell was born on September 23, 1944 in Little Rock, Arkansas to Sam and Sibyl Adams. Mitchell's family lived in the South and Midwest before moving back to Massachusetts, home to the Adams family for almost four hundred years. Like his cousins John (and John's son John Quincy) and Samuel Adams, Mitchell was a direct descendent of Henry Adams, who arrived in America in 1632.

Always a hard worker and overachiever, Mitchell earned his Eagle as a boy scout in the summer of 1958 when he was only 13. He graduated high school from Western Reserve Academy in Hudson, Ohio before matriculating at Harvard College where he majored in Art History. While at Harvard, Mitchell was a member of The Fly Club and also served as the President of the Hasty Pudding Club. Mitchell graduated cum laude with an AB in 1966. While Mitchell completed his formal education with a Masters of Business Administration from Harvard in 1969, he loved learning and spent a lifetime exploring subjects of interest, including World War II, the Roosevelts, the American Civil War, ship building, physics, and the arts, to name a few.

Mitchell had a varied and distinguished career in banking, healthcare, and public service. He served as a Dean for Finance and Business at the Harvard Medical School and held a similar position at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center. His favorite position, however, was serving as the Commissioner of Revenue for the Weld Administration from 1991-1998. During his tenure, Mitchell pioneered new and innovative programs to save taxpayers' money and to help the citizens of Massachusetts. He was most proud of his efforts to use the resources of the Department of Revenue to collect overdue child support payments from delinquent parents. His work made Massachusetts a national model for this work.

When Mitchell retired, he was serving as Executive Director of the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative (MTC), an organization that served as a catalyst for invigorating the Commonwealth's innovative economy. The MTC and Mitchell's role were a perfect fit for his unquenchable curiosity, creativity, and energy. Among his many accomplishments was leading Massachusetts's effort to develop and transition to digital health records to reduce the cost of healthcare while improving the quality of care.

In 1980 Mitchell met the love of his life, Kevin Smith, at the Church of the Advent in Boston. He and Kevin were together for 24 years when, on June 22, 2004, they became one of the first gay couples in the United States to marry legally. Mitchell and Kevin built a life together focused on family and service. They provided a home to Mitchell's father Sam for eight years and to Kevin's mother Esther for over 30 years. Their home in Dedham was the gathering place for their extended family until Kevin's tragic death in 2014.

In 1992 Mitchell and Kevin came out publicly in an article in the Boston Globe. At the time, both were commissioners in the Weld Administration. Their coming out as a gay couple was as historic as it was brave, causing Barney Frank to observe at the time that they were the country's only openly gay couple in high public office.

Mitchell and Kevin were tireless and generous advocates for the LGBTQ community, helping to support the AIDS Action Committee during the early days of the AIDS crisis and to create the Governor's Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth. They also provided financial support and strategic guidance for the Marriage Equality movement. Mitchell further served as co-chair of the committee of the Harvard Gay and Lesbian Caucus, which raised funds to endow the country's first professorship in gay and lesbian studies (F.O. Matthiessen Visiting Professorship of Gender and Sexuality). In 2012, Mitchell and Kevin were honored by the Greater Boston Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbian and Gays (PFLAG) with a Lifetime of Service Award for their leadership.

Mitchell was involved with many civic and community organizations, including serving as a Trustee for both the Boston Athenaeum and the Handel and Haydn Society (H+H). Mitchell held the position of Chairmen for H+H from 1986-1991. In 2018 Mitchell combined his love of art history with his passion for Handel's Messiah and commissioned a multi-media project to use visual art to accompany the oratorio. The Society is working on completing the project for a future performance, which will be dedicated in Mitchell's memory.

Mitchell loved Harvard and was honored to serve the University in many capacities, including as a Member of the Board of Overseers from 2005-2011 and as the Board's Vice Chairman from 2010-2011.

Mitchell was also passionate about healthcare and considered access to it a human right. He devoted much of his time and resources to organizations that were working to solve some of the most challenging aspects of healthcare delivery. He did not accept the limitations of binary solutions and worked to make both our current system more effective while simultaneously supporting efforts to reimagine what was possible. To this end, he served as a Trustee for Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates and for Partners in Health (PIH). He personally led several trips to PIH facilities in Haiti and Rwanda.

With his death, it can be publicly revealed that Mitchell was a devoted and active member of the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous, maintaining continuous sobriety since January 1, 1988. During his lifetime, Mitchell was open about being an alcoholic in the hope that his candor would be beneficial to others, alcoholic or not. Mitchell's commitment to recovery and generosity of spirit directly

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