Giving Banner
  cta: "#show-navobile",
  changeDOM: true

Former St. Norbert Men's Soccer Coach Adema Passes Away at 76

From Sports Information Director, April 16, 2013 | Men's Soccer
by Dan Lukes,, (920) 403-4077

DE PERE - John Adema, who coached men's soccer at St. Norbert College from 1990 to 1998, died April 13 at Theda Clark Medical Center in Neenah.

Adema, 76, spent nine years coaching the Green Knights and is the longest-tenured men's soccer coach in school history. Adema, who commuted about 90 miles round trip to St. Norbert from his home in St. Anna, compiled a 74-64-9 record. His teams finished second in the Midwest Conference three times, placing as runner-up in 1990, 1993 and 1994. Adema was the Midwest Conference Coach of the Year in 1994.

"John was dedicated to the sport, and it showed in the relationships he had with his players," longtime St. Norbert athletics trainer Russ Schmelzer said. "He was well-respected, and outstanding person, and he will be missed."

Following his tenure at St. Norbert, Adema coached boys' soccer at Kiel High School, a position he held at the time of his death. He also coached at Marian University as well as New Holstein, Stockbridge and Cedar Grove-Belgium high schools.

Adema played soccer with the Sheboygan Sports Club and with the Appleton Bombers, and retired from playing at 55. He was also active in youth soccer programs, and was still currently referee.

Adema was born in The Netherlands and emigrated to the United States at the age of 19.

He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Helen, and three children: Diane Apkarian, Debbra Cleveland and Therese Smith, as well as eight grandchildren. He was preceded in death by one son, Cliff.

Friends may call at Meiselwitz-Vollestedt Funeral Home, 815 Sixth St., in Kiel from 3 to 7 p.m. Friday, April 19. Friends may also call at Shepherd of the Hills Catholic Church, W1562 County Trunk B, in Eden from 9 to 11:15 a.m. Saturday, April 20. The Mass of Christian Burial will be at 11:30 a.m. Saturday at the church, with Revs. Joseph Juknialis and Charlie Wester officiating. Burial will be in St. Ann Catholic Cemetery in St. Anna. To send online condolences, please go to

A memorial has been established in his name.

Back To Top