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A Tribute To Alto “Bud” Adams Junior

Part cowboy, part artist, part philanthropist, part genius, Alto “Bud” Adams Junior was truly a Renaissance man and an icon in St. Lucie County and Florida history.

A quintessential cowboy who really was larger than life, Bud was the 91-year-old patriarch of the Adams Ranch, a cattle operation that has spanned over 80 years and across four Florida counties. His passion for both the Florida landscape and the animals in his care were legendary, and he is responsible for the development of the Braford breed of beef cattle, a cross of Herefords and Brahmans, which are able to withstand the unforgiving Florida climate. 

Bud Adams was known as much for his personality, his approachability, his philanthropic heart and his artistic side as he was for his business acumen and success. To spotlight the environment he so deeply loved and cared for, Adams took up photography and published three books spotlighting the beauty of the Florida landscape and wildlife around him. 

Bud Adams was known for his kind and philanthropic heart, his quick wit and his reputation as a man of honesty and integrity. The son of a Florida Supreme Court judge, Adams served in the United States Navy and graduated from the University of Florida. He was a member of the Florida Cattlemen’s Association, a founding member of the United Way of St. Lucie County and a supporter of the Indian River State College Foundation, Heathcote Botanical Gardens and the A.E. Backus Museum & Gallery, to name just a few of his many affiliations. 

He is survived by his beloved wife of 67 years, Dorothy “Dot” Snively, three sons, Alto Lee, III, Michael and Robert, 14 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. He leaves behind countless friends and members of the community who will long remember and revere the memory of a good man, a great leader and a grand champion for Florida and the environment.  

Photo courtesy of Steven Martine