Enduring legacy
Bud and sister Elaine Harrison

Bud Adams leads a trail ride at the family’s Lake Marian ranch in 1995. His sister, Elaine Harrison, is riding behind him. JON KRAL PHOTO


In the last half-century on the Treasure Coast, nobody was more liked, more loved, better known or more respected than Alto Lee Adams Jr.

Adams, 91, died Sept. 22 surrounded by family in the modest cypress home he built on Adams Ranch west of Fort Pierce for his bride in 1949. Until a stroke a week before he died, he continued to drive himself around the ranch that he spent 80 years tending and protecting.

Adams helped grow a modest operation his father bought in 1937 into Adams Ranch Inc., an enterprise that today consists of 50,000 acres in St. Lucie, Okeechobee, Osceola and Madison counties. At his home ranch in Fort Pierce, he hosted governors and senators, U.S. Supreme Court justices, movie stars and athletes — all falling under his charms as he quietly pushed a gospel of conservation.

Lee, Dot, Mike, Robbie and Bud

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