Adolph Coors explains how growing up in the Coors Brewing family taught him that wealth could never protect him from misfortune. After his father was murdered, Adolph spent years searching for meaning in life, which he eventually found in a relationship with Jesus Christ. (Part 2 of 2)
Adolph Coors IV: How much money does it take for you and me to be happy? Just one more dollar. Just one more dollar.
End of Excerpt
John Fuller: That’s Adolph Coors IV and up until the age of thirty, he would have said his life verse, if you will, is “just one more dollar.” You’ll hear what changed for him today and why he walked away from the company that bears his name, with Focus on the Family president Jim Daly as your host, and I’m John Fuller.
Jim Daly: John we’ve been listening to the life story of Adolph Coors IV, he goes by Ad. And it’s been fascinating to hear what it was like to grow up in a family that was so wealthy and privileged, and yet suffered so many tragedies as well. If you missed part one of Ad’s presentations yesterday, please get in touch with us, we can send you the entire message on CD or provide an audio download. And we’d highly recommend that you get a copy for that type -A, super achiever in your life. This will minister to them. We’ll remove these comments right here from the CD so that it’ll be completely seeker friendly.
John: And you can order that CD by calling 800-A-FAMILY. 800-232-6459, or online at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. Alright here’s Ad Coors and we’re gonna start with a quick recap on Focus on the Family.
Adolph: Because my great grandfather made a serious mistake that many people are making today. And that is they identify who they are in what they do. We need not identify who we are and what we do because what we do can change. What we need to do is we need to identify who we are and what we are in here, not what we do. I wish somebody had taught me as a young boy, I wish they would have said this, ‘Adolph, if you live for the next world you will gain this one in the deal. But if you live strictly for this world, you’ll end up losing them both.”
My friends when we’re born into this world, we have a creator who creates you and me, batteries not included. What I mean by that is He places a void right here in our hearts. And you and I know people who go through this life, and we try to pour our careers into this void. We try to pour our families into this void. We try to pour money into this void. We try to pour possessions into this void. The first 14 years of my life were like a beautiful Norman Rockwell painting. I was a part of a very loving, a very close-knit family—two older sisters, a younger brother, two wonderful parents. As a family, we did everything together. And I remember wanting to grow up to be just like my father. Adolph Coors III was a remarkable man. Not only was he Chairman of the Board of our brewing empire, he was a successful businessman, he was a successful athlete, he was a multi-talented man. He was a tremendous musician, he was an architect, and he was an engineer. He was one of these guys that everything he did, he did it to perfection.
It was typical that morning. It was February ninth, 1960. It was bitter cold. And my father left early, as he always did. But on that February morning, for some unknown reason, just three miles from home, he stopped to what he thought…to help what he thought was a stranded motorist about 50 yards away.
As he began walking over to this man’s car, my father didn’t realize who was waiting for him that morning. This man was an escaped prisoner from the state of California. He had been serving a life sentence for murder. In 1955, he escaped from this maximum-security prison, came to Colorado and began stalking my father. There was a violent struggle on this tiny bridge that morning, and at 7:55 a.m., the Coors family got a nudge from heaven.
My father was brutally murdered. His body was stuffed in the trunk of this man’s car. The car headed south.
I’ll never forget the day that he disappeared. I walked into our home after a day at school and my mother greeted us greeted us at the front door and she said, “Kids, I’ve got some bad news for you. Your father was kidnapped this morning, and I don’t think you’re ever going to see him alive again.” My mother passed out on the floor in front of me. For seven long months after my father disappeared, my family hoped beyond hope that he would return to us, but one day, a farmer was walking across his field about 40 miles south of our home and he stumbled across a pile of bones and that was all that remained of my father. When the news of my father’s murder hit my family, I watched my 44-year-old mother begin to change before my very eyes. Yes, my mom had a void in her heart, but instead of putting Jesus Christ into her void, I watched my mother begin to pour anger and hate into her void. You know, hate will kill us. Hate will destroy us. I also watched my mother begin to pour alcohol into her void, and alcohol will also destroy us. Alcohol was never meant to fill that void in our heart. Instead of majoring in pre-law my freshman year, I majored in the Greek system of this beautiful University. I majored in fraternity, I minored in sorority, and I failed academically.
And I have a grandfather who has a knack of telling us how we stand. Well, he got a hold of me that summer and he let me know that I had let the family down, and that I had failed. And the decision was that I needed six years in the United States Marine Corps. (Laughter) I made a decision I was going to be the best marine the Marine Corps had ever produced. Well, I obviously made it six years as a Marine. I escaped death on many, many occasions, and just before I was discharged back in the late ‘60s, one day my mother called me. She said, “Son, I’ve got some bad news for you.” And that morning my mother informed me that my oldest sister living in Glenview, Illinois—just 27 years of age, the proud mother of a brand new baby son—that morning had gone in for a routine physical. And the doctors found a lump on her neck that they biopsied and discovered that that lump was a very dreaded form of cancer.
Is your passport for eternity stamped this morning? I ask you that. Is your passport stamped with Jesus Christ this morning? We may need that passport sooner than we think. My father needed his passport at 48 years of age, my sister at 27 years of age.
Death is not a respecter of age.
It’s been said that a man is incomplete until he’s married, then he’s finished. (Laughter) I left the United States Marine Corps and I returned home to Denver, Colorado, to marry my high school sweetheart. I’ll never forget the day that I married this beautiful girl walking down the aisle of this beautiful church in downtown Denver with the girl of my dreams on my right arm. Walking out of that church that afternoon, I had a sick feeling right here. Had I married the wrong girl? No. But I somehow knew that BJ [Betty Jane], my beautiful bride, was not going to fill my void in my heart. Are you looking to your spouse to fill your void this morning? Are you? Your spouse was never created to fill your void, not permanently. You know, many girls marry a man just like their dads. Is it any wonder why so many mothers are crying at weddings? (Laughter)
You know, we’re funny as human beings. We spend money we don’t have to buy things we don’t need in order to try to impress people we don’t even like. And this describes the first eight years of my marriage to BJ, hoping that she would fill my void while she was busily trying to change me. I began to bury myself in this. Do you see what I’m holding here this morning? Do you see what I’m holding up here? It’s a dollar bill. Four years after I married this beautiful girl, I graduated from the University of Denver with a degree in business. One of the best business schools in this country.
I moved my family to Wall Street to begin burying myself in the New York Stock Exchange and began pouring millions of this into my void. But just before I left, one night I found myself in a hospital in downtown Denver. In the operating room that night were my wife and her doctor and myself—there were three of us—and then poof! There were four. Adolph Coors the fifth came into this world, my first son. Now you can go home and tell your friends that Coors does come in fifths. (Laughter) I was so happy, I ran out of the delivery room to call my wife, but she wasn’t at home. (Laughter) I held my son just seconds after he was born. My pride and my joy. I love him with all my heart, as I know you love your kids.
But ladies and gentlemen, the legacy that my father left to me—the 14 years I had with my dad—the one thing that he taught me, sir, was this: At the other end of life, we’re not going to wish we’d spent another day at the office. Children are a living message we’re going to send to a time we’re never going to see. I beg you, my friends, I beg you. I don’t care how busy you are, how important you are, carve quality time out of your busy schedules every day to spend with your wife and your husband and your kids. I beg you. Please do that.
I moved my wife and my brand new son to Wall Street to begin pouring myself into the Stock Exchanges, and the car bonds and the stock bond…stocks and bond markets and the commodity markets of this world hoping that this would fill my void. But you know the Bible says a fool and his money are soon parted. A fool and his money are soon parted. Before I left Colorado, I began to build 95 condominiums in Steamboat Springs, Colorado—95 condominiums. Millions of dollars hoping that the real estate market would fill my void.
While I was in New York training to become a stockbroker, my real estate investments collapsed and I was facing personal bankruptcy. Are you putting your faith and trust in your investments this morning? Are you? How’s the economy here? Is it pretty good? Pretty good, is it? Well, don’t put your faith and trust in your investments. A fool and his money are soon parted.
A year later, I went to work for the Adolph Coors Company located in Golden, Colorado—the largest single brewery in the world. 2,000 acres in Golden, Colorado. I wanted to become its youngest president, following in my father’s footsteps. I had to learn the business from the ground up. Many nights, my friends, I wouldn’t even return home to my wife and son. Many nights I went without sleep.
One day, after having not slept for three or four nights, I got into my automobile to return home to my wife and son. I had a 25-mile drive every day and I was 275 pounds studying to become a karate master. I thought I had the world by the tail. I got into my sports car to return home to my wife and son. Two miles from home, at 7:30 in the morning, at the crest of the hill, I fell asleep. My car hit another car head-on. My 275-pound body went through the windshield of my automobile. I have no memory of that accident today. Two years in recovery—two long years.
John: Adolph Coors IV is our featured speaker on today’s episode of Focus on the Family. We have a CD of his broadcast, and for a gift of any amount, we’ll send that to you. Just call 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY. Or, you can make a donation and request that CD at Focus on the Family.com/broadcast. Let’s return now to more from Adolph Coors IV.
End of Program Note
Ad: It was during that two-year recovery period of time that I began to take a hard look at my life. Let’s take a hard look at our lives this morning. Let’s do that. I saw a marriage headed for divorce, I saw a beautiful son at home that I didn’t even know, I was consumed with Madison Avenue’s description of a success, pouring billions of these into this void. I thought becoming the president of the Adolph Coors Company would fill my void, but being at the top is very lonely. You see, there’s nobody else up there. There’s nobody there. Being at the top is very lonely; there’s nobody there.
I began to ask myself over and over again, “Adolph Coors, who are you really? Adolph Coors, why are you here really? Adolph Coors, where are you going with the rest of your life really?” I ask you that question this morning. Where are you going? Why are you here? What is life all about? You think this is all there is?
One evening, during that recovery period of time, I invited one of our senior vice presidents over for dinner, a man my father had hired 20 years earlier. He was one of our best vice presidents and I was working for him. I was about to step into his position. I thought I knew him. I invited him over to meet my wife and my son. But that evening, ladies and gentlemen, over our dining room table, this couple asked my wife and I a very important question. They said, “BJ and Adolph, who is your lord and savior?” And my friends, had I asked…had I answered honestly that evening, I would have said “the Adolph Coors Company is my lord and my savior.” But that evening this couple opened up their lives to my wife and me. And that evening this couple shared something I’ll never forget. They said, “Adolph and BJ Coors, do you realize that 2,000 years ago, God stepped out of eternity and into time in the very person of his one and only unique Son? If you put your faith and trust in Jesus Christ, that void of yours will get filled.”
And then, this couple gave us the answer. They said, “Adolph Coors and BJ Coors, Jesus Christ is God’s only provision for your sin. Jesus Christ, 2,000 years ago, died a real death on a real cross for you and me.” And I sat there and I said, “This couple has got something I didn’t have.” Lowell and Vera Sun explained that Jesus Christ is God’s only provision, for you and for me. God made him who knew no sin to become sin for you and me so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
You see, my friends, we have a lot of peace officers in the crowd this morning. Let me explain it to you this way: We broke the law, sir, and Jesus Christ paid the fine 2,000 years ago for us. But as a result of that, we must individually reach out and receive Christ. I couldn’t do it for my bride and she couldn’t do it for me. It’s a decision I had to make for myself; she had to make for herself. She made that decision three days later. I watched her change before my very eyes. I couldn’t handle the change.
I think it was Phyllis Diller who once said, “Never go to bed mad when you can stay up and fight.” (weak laughter) I left my wife and my son, hoping divorce would fill my void. I moved into a hotel in downtown Denver. While I was separated from my wife and my son, one day a good close friend of mine gave me a book that I recommend to every dad sitting in this room this morning. It’s a book called Do Yourself a Favor: Love Your Wife.
For seven years I tried to love my wife and I couldn’t do it. You see, the love that this book told me about was a very special love that comes from our Creator. It’s a very special love. We can’t generate that kind of love, it comes from Him. You see, I needed to love BJ with His love, with His love. I needed to love my son with His love. I needed to have true friends. I didn’t have any true friends. A true friend is one who will attend your funeral someday and never look at his or her watch, and I had none of the above.
It was not long after reading this book that one afternoon I went out to hear a man speak in the largest auditorium in downtown Denver. I didn’t want to go. I wanted to play golf that Saturday afternoon, but instead of playing golf, I went to hear this man speak. Sitting in an auditorium in downtown Denver, surrounded by thousands of people, this man was speaking directly to me. He concluded his message with this. He said, “God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son of God has life, but he who does not know the Son of God does not have life.” Oh, I was living; my friends, but I had no life. I was living, but I had no life.
This man closed in a prayer that afternoon—I’ll never forget. He invited everybody to come forward and to receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. I couldn’t get out of my seat. Marines don’t cry; Coors men never cry. But that afternoon I couldn’t stop crying. As the God of this universe broke into this man’s stubborn heart right here,
And as I said yes to Jesus Christ, a void that I’d try to fill for 31 years of my life was instantly filled. And sir, I walked out of that auditorium 23 years ago, that Saturday afternoon, I walked out with my passport stamped. ++I knew I had been changed. (Applause)
A person is no fool who gives up that which he or she can never keep in order to gain that which he or she can never lose. Jim Elliott said those words just before he died. A man is no fool who gives up that which he or she can never keep. You think you can keep all this? Is there a U-Haul trailer hooked to a hearse going to the graveyard in this town? Have you seen one? Can we keep all this stuff? It’s not going out with us. None of its going out with us. I returned home to my wife and son shortly thereafter, Bob
A good marriage is a union of two forgivers. A good marriage is a union of two forgivers. Don’t base it on feelings, my friends. Feelings come and go, they ebb and they flow. Base it on a commitment to Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ, number one; your wife or your husband number two; your kids number three; and watch God, how he can put a family back together again.
You know, some women work so hard to make men into good husbands, they fail to become good wives. My wife began to love me unconditionally, and I just absolutely melted. You know, changing your partner is only changing troubles because you carry your dead carcass into that next relationship. See? That’s not going to solve the problem.
Now I want you to listen very carefully as I conclude. . Do you think I’m talking to you about a religion this morning? Ladies and gentlemen, a religion is nothing more than you and I trying to reach God through our own feeble works. We can never reach him on our own. There’s a barrier that separates us from our Creator, and that barrier is our sin.
Now I’m not talking to you about a religion this morning. Religion won’t do you or me a lick of good. I’m inviting you to realize that I’m sharing with you a relationship this morning. Christianity is a relationship between you and me—sinful fallen man—and our perfectly righteous, holy God. It’s a relationship. Don’t miss it. It’s nothing complicated. Don’t miss it.
Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you and I will be saved. It’s that simple. It’s not a list of do’s and don’ts, it’s not about going to church every Sunday, it’s not about doing a lot of good works. God doesn’t love us because of who we are or what we can do. God loves us because of who he is and what he has already done for us. (Cut-off) …Jesus Christ, death is not a period; death is a comma in the story of life. We’re really not ready to live until we’re ready to die. That’s why I asked you a few minutes ago, “Is your passport stamped for eternity?” Is it stamped?
Jesus Christ came into this man’s heart in 1975, my friends. God takes us right where we are, sir. He loves us unconditionally. He takes us right where we are, but he doesn’t leave us where we are. Into this heart he found a hate that I cannot describe…to you this morning. A hate for the man who killed my father in 1960 was killing me. It killed my mother. My mother didn’t die of alcoholism in 1975; she died of a broken heart. Hate killed my mother and hate was killing me.
But two years after I received Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, one Wednesday morning I walked into the very penitentiary where Joseph Corbett was serving a life sentence to sit down with him to share Jesus Christ with this man who murdered my father in 1960. (Applause) I can tell you, that’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my entire life, you know, the beginning of true forgiveness is a relationship with Jesus Christ. And I made a decision in 1977 to surrender my right to hate that man to Jesus Christ, and He replaced that hate with a love this day that I can only give credit to Him.
I want to leave you with this thought. This life is soon going to be past, my friends, but only what’s done for Christ and through Christ will last. God bless you. Thank you very much.
John: This is Focus on the Family, and we’ve been listening to Adolph Coors IV
Jim: Yeah John, what a heartwarming, inspirational message. We are grateful to Ad Coors for allowing us to share his story today and last time. He’s semi-retired now and as we said earlier, he left the beer industry soon after becoming a Christian and started the Adolph Coors Evangelistic association. Ad and his wife BJ have been married for over fifty years and have two adult sons and several grandchildren. And think of this, Ad was fifteen years old when his dad was kidnapped and murdered. That’s a hard age for a boy to lose his father. Especially in such extreme circumstances. So for Ad to be able to extend forgiveness to the man who was convicted of killing his father, boy that takes divine intervention. That’s the power of The Lord working in a man’s life, and let me just say, if you’re harboring unforgiveness toward another person, you need to give that up. It’s hurting you much, much more than it’s hurting them. And if that strikes a chord with you, please give us a call. We have caring Christian counselors here who would be happy to spend some time with you on the phone and even pray with you to find some healing. If you’d like to learn more about what it means to become a Christian, we have a free e-booklet for you called, Coming Home: An Invitation to Join God’s Family. And it will tell you everything you need to know. And if you’d like to pass along a CD of this message to a friend or family member, who really needs it, we’d be happy to send it out to you for a donation of any amount. And we sincerely mean that, just get in touch with us and we’ll get that out to you right away.
John: And you can reach us by calling 800-A-FAMILY. 800-232-6459, or donate online and request the CD, get the audio download as well at focusonthefamily/broadcast. And if you enjoyed today’s program, if you benefited from what was shared please, tell a friend to tune in next time. You’ll hear Dr. Kevin Leman. He’ll offer encouragement to moms with boys.
Kevin Leman: The thought never entered her mind that she could be having a little son. And the question is in her mind, “A son?”
Jim: It’s that far removed from her.
Kevin: “What am I gonna do with a son?”
End of Teaser
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