Jean Adam PO ’67 was one of four American sailors killed by Somali pirates on Feb. 22 while sailing off the coast of Somalia. Adam and her husband Scott were enjoying the seventh year of a tour around the world on their yacht “Quest,” which they had custom-built after they both retired.
U.S. Navy officers, who had been monitoring the yacht since it was hijacked a few days earlier, intervened after seeing gunfire, but the four travelers were already dead. The pirates’ motive for killing the hostages is unclear. According to The New York Times, the Navy killed two of the pirates, and the remaining fifteen who were caught may be tried in the U.S.
Adam, born Jean Hawkins, majored in Zoology at Pomona. She took a leave of absence before her senior year to marry her first husband, Pomona alum Bill Savage, with whom she had two sons.
Adam then went to dentistry school at UCLA. She married Scott Adam in 1999.
“Jean was my dentist for several years,” said classmate Robert Stern PO ‘66. “Obviously this was a huge shock… She was a great dentist and a fine person.”
Over the years, Adam kept in touch with the Pomona alumni office. In a 2001 letter to the office, she wrote, “I’ve been studying things like navigation, weather, radio, diesel engines, and scuba diving. You’re wondering what this is leading to! We don’t have a clear picture; however, we do plan to pick up our new home/sail boat in New Zealand in May.”
Both Adam and her husband had 50-ton captains’ licenses and had taken a safety course.
Initially, the Adams and the other couple with whom they sailing were part of a rally of yachts that traveled together in hopes of avoiding danger. They decided to stray from the rally on Feb. 15. They were captured on Feb. 18.
According to the Alumni Office, in her Pomona admissions essay, Adam wrote about her Christian faith. When they went sailing, Adam and her husband carried hundreds of Bibles on “Quest,” and distributed them in Christian communities around the world.
During their fifteen years of marriage, the Adams visited Tahiti, China, Hawaii, Alaska, Mexico, and Fiji, among many other destinations.