Cover photo for Adam Kendall's Obituary

Adam Kendall

November 5, 1984 — November 13, 2021

Adam Kendall

Adam Wolford Kendall was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan on November 5, 1984, to LeeAnn Wolford Kendall and Robert T. Kendall, III.  On November 13, 2021, Adam and his lovely wife, Kate Leese, were returning to their home on Beaver Island, when the plane they were traveling in crashed at the airport.  Adam (37) and Kate (35) left this life together, along with their cherished dogs, Baker and Frank.

Adam was a loyal and steadfast man to his friends and family. Any task Adam faced, he mastered.  His grandfather, who narrowly survived World War II, said on many occasions that Adam was the kind of man you wanted next to you in a pinch.

Growing up in Jackson, from an early age Adam showed a predisposition for adventure. When he was 13, he decided on his own to learn to scuba dive, earning his junior advanced open water certificate and proceeded to dive throughout Michigan with his older brother, Robert Kendall. Adam graduated from Jackson High School in June 2003, where he played soccer and was the co-captain of the soccer team.

After graduation, he joined his big brother in Boston where they both attended Boston University.  During their time together in Boston, Adam and Robert lived together, worked together at a specialty outdoor sports and climbing store, and spent their spare time skiing and kiteboarding together. Ultimately far surpassing his big brother in skill and courage.

Adam graduated from BU with a degree in economics, followed by Law School at Suffolk University earning a JD. After law school, he moved to Houston to start his law career and again live with his brother Robert.  After passing both the Texas and Washington state bars, Adam was invited to join a law firm lead by his aunt, Elizabeth Reeve. He followed his love for the mountains and moved to Seattle to practice law, growing to be a trusted and respected attorney at the firm.

While he loved the firm and work, friends and family in the area, and the Pacific Northwest, fate intervened. His life-long friend, Michelle Lake, met an extraordinary woman in Jackson – Kate Leese – and was determined that Adam and Kate should meet.

When Adam and Kate met, they knew right away that they were kindred spirits, meant to be together.  They both shared a passion for life and adventure that created an instant bond. Adam moved to Michigan to be with Kate, and they married on August 1, 2015, under a majestic 100-year old oak tree, in the middle of a classic northern Michigan farm field, surrounded by close family and friends.  Adam and Kate started to put down roots in Jackson, self-renovating their house in perfect mid-century modern form, as both of them shared a love for the design.  Though, their shared sense of adventure soon spoke to them, and they made the decision to start their first grand adventure.

In 2016, Adam and Kate bought and renovated a classic Airstream trailer, sold their house and headed west with the sole goal of experiencing the country with their beloved dogs.  They crisscrossed the U.S. and Canada for 4 years, living in over 220 places, making great friends along the way.  Thousands of people followed their adventures on Instagram at LifeWithoutWaiting.

During their time on the road, they started an emergency management consulting business that grew into a successful enterprise.  They worked closely with large and small Utility companies throughout the world building a name for themselves at helping Utilities to better plan for and respond to natural disasters.

In 2019, they started their second adventure. Both shared a love for northern Michigan and its lakes.  That love lead to buying a liveaboard boat and traveling around northern Lake Michigan for the summer.  One day, while returning from Mackinac Island, they decided to visit Beaver Island.  On that first visit they knew the island was where they were meant to be.  After four years of traveling together with Frank and Baker, Adam and Kate literally put down roots on Beaver Island and started their final and most impressive grand adventure.

Adam and Kate bought a 120-acre farm on the island with the intention of establishing a vineyard. They intended to smartly push the boundaries of northern Michigan wine; growing varietals that have yet to be grown in Michigan at similar latitudes.  In the spring of 2021, they (with the help of their family) planted 2,100 grape vines, which showed great promise through the summer. On November 6, 2021, Adam and Kate and their vineyard were featured in an article in the Detroit News given the uniqueness of their story and their ambitions.

The day they passed; they were returning from visiting family in Traverse City to Beaver Island in order to secure the vineyard for the winter. The Beaver Island community embraced Adam and Kate in the short time they lived on the island.  Within hours of the crash the community self-organized to finish the work they intended to complete. Over 100 community members of a 600 person town, worked together for days, moving dirt with tractors and shovels, to bury the vines allowing their dream to have a chance at survival.

Adam will be deeply missed by his survivors; his parents, Rob and LeeAnn, his brother, Robert T. Kendall IV (Brandi), his grandmother, Lee Wolford, his aunts Elizabeth Kendall Reeve (Edward), Diane Kendall Berkshire (Daniel), and Autumn Wolford Zick (Russell).  Adam is also survived by nine cousins Jonathan Reeve (Erin), Anna Reeve Gillette (Robert), Timothy K. Reeve (Hailey); Emily Berkshire Tappan (Brian), Rachel Berkshire Kibbee (Andrew), Andrea Kate Zick (Rhett) and Erica Zick Wieczorek (Tom), and nine second cousins.

Adam’s family was truly blessed to have known and loved Adam during his life, and to have had Kate, the wonderful woman he married six years ago, as a member of their family.  Adam and Kate will both live in our hearts forever.

Services for Adam and Kate will be held at the Center Point Assembly of God Church, in Charlevoix, Michigan, at 3:00 p.m., Sunday, November 21, 2021.  Visitation will be at the church on Saturday, November 20th, from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m., and on Sunday, November 21st, from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m.  You can livestream the Funeral Service via facebook at

To honor the lives of Adam and Kate, the families invite gifts to the Beaver Island Enrichment Fund at the Charlevoix County Community Foundation.  Checks made payable to the “Charlevoix County Community Foundation,” with Adam Kendall and Kate Leese on the memo line, can be sent to C3F, POB 718, East Jordan, MI  49727.  Gifts can also be made online at using the Make a Gift tab.

Arrangements are in the care of the Charlevoix Chapel of Mortensen Funeral Homes.  Sign his online guestbook

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Adam Kendall, please visit our flower store.


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