Adam Apgar Pyle was born in Hong Kong on August 24, 1985, the son of Molly and Thomas Pyle. His middle name is in honor of his late grandfather, Dr. Louis Apgar Pyle, Jr., long of Princeton and former medical director of Princeton University. Adam’s lineal heritage is a union of his father’s ancestral English Quaker, Danish, Irish, and German roots and his mother’s Singaporean Hokkien and Hakka Chinese roots. Adam graduated from Princeton High School in 2003. His post-secondary education experience included three terms at Rutgers University, a season at the Dynamy Program in Worcester, MA, a term at Mercer County Community College, and a term at Pratt Institute, which awarded him an unsolicited scholarship for his artistic promise.
Adam traveled extensively in his earlier life. While resident in Hong Kong, he visited China, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, and Australia, and he frequently visited relatives in Singapore. After high school he traveled with classmates to Holland and Provence in France. With his family, he later traveled throughout Europe (England, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Poland, Czech Republic, and Hungary). With his father he also went on safari in Kenya.
Throughout his life, Adam was keenly intellectual, an assiduous autodidact of many subjects. From BMX biking in high school to history, art, esoterica, religion, and post-punk industrial music, Adam was an engaging expert. Among his favorite musicians were the Velvet Underground, the Grateful Dead, the Sex Pistols, Throbbing Gristle, and Whitehouse. Favorite authors included William Burroughs, Zecharia Sitchin, Manley P. Hall, and Alastair Crowley. Favorite works of art included Picasso’s Le Moulin de la Galette (1900), Van Gogh’s Provence paintings, and German expressionists. An adept player of the Magic—The Gathering card game, Adam was also a fan of science fiction horror cinema, notably the Alien series pioneered by Director Ridley Scott. Adam was admired by his family, teachers, and friends for his depth of knowledge and passionate discussions.
On March 30, 2007, Adam at age 21 was unexpectedly beset by an explicit first onset of a psychosis ultimately diagnosed as schizophrenia. He courageously yet quietly accepted the confirmed diagnosis as proof of what he was inexplicably experiencing previously. Over the subsequent fifteen years, many, many challenges ensued, including increasing isolation and depression. Nevertheless, he avidly and stoically continued his intellectual interests, despite increasingly intense intrusions of his illness. In close collaboration with his devoted psychiatrist, Dr. Kurt Stuebben, Adam applied the same intellectual rigor to his self-study of medications, attaining a knowledge of their metabolic structures, half-lives, and interactions worthy of a pharmaceutical detail man.
In 2012, culminating a period of fervent individual religious study, Adam took upon himself to become a Christian. He was baptized and received into the Plainsboro Presbyterian Church under the tutelage and direction of the church’s pastor Rev. Anita Milne, whose husband Rev. John Milne performed the sacrament.
In 2016, Adam developed an interest in Freemasonry—and even managed to persuade his skeptical father to join with him in the “Gentle Craft”. Together they were raised as a father-and-son pair to the sublime degree of Master Mason in November 2016 as members of Mercer Lodge No. 50 in Trenton. Their Masonic journey continued under Adam’s initiative in Masonry’s appendant bodies, where Adam and his father progressed together through the various degrees to the highest ranks of the Scottish Rite (32ο) and the York Rite (Knights Templar), and even joined the Shriners. As a Sir Knight Templar Mason, Adam especially enjoyed the ceremonial floor and sword work, and was honored to participate with his father in the Templar knighting ceremony of their fellow Mercer Lodge father-and-son brothers, Joe and John Pownall. Right Worshipful Brother Bob Stutz and fellow Sir Knight Lawrence Craver were particularly tender Masonic mentors to Adam. Received, welcomed, and fully accepted “on the level” by the world’s oldest fraternity, Adam found in Masonry such camaraderie, identity, acceptance, affiliation, achievement, affirmation, connection, and opportunities for esoteric knowledge that his illness had hitherto robbed of him.
Over the years, Adam pursued and received care and treatment from many evidence-based agencies including Second Nature Entrada Wilderness Program in Utah, WestBridge Community Services in New Hampshire, Pasadena Villa in Florida, LaPaloma Center in Tennessee, CooperRiis Healing Community in North Carolina, and Beck Institute in Pennsylvania, as well as Princeton House, Carrier Clinic, Hampton House, Association for the Advancement of Mental Health, and Trenton Psychiatric Hospital all in New Jersey. With his parents’ care and support, he engaged various modalities of recovery including Psychiatric Rehabilitation, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Cognitive Therapy-Recovery, Electroconvulsive Therapy, and Hearing Voices Network support.
With the relentlessness of a hellhound, Adam’s illness nevertheless irrevocably worsened, despite all possible efforts to contain it. Increasingly overwhelmed by harrowing illusions beyond his control, Adam determined not to careen into the abyss, but instead to offer himself unto God. On May 5, 2022, Adam laid his burden down and in God’s arms was taken up to his final rest and much deserved peace.
Adam is survived by his loving parents, Molly Tan Pyle and Thomas Hanson Pyle of Princeton, his sister and brother in-law, Tara Pyle and Daniel Biller of Brooklyn, NY, nieces Zoe and Sage Biller of Brooklyn, NY, and numerous cousins, aunts, uncles, and other relatives around the United States and Singapore. Requiescat in pacem, Adam Apgar Pyle, our dearly beloved son, brother, uncle, nephew, cousin, and friend.
A memorial service will be held at 11am on Wednesday, May 18th at Trinity Church, 33 Mercer Street, Princeton, New Jersey, 08540. The service will be livestreamed at www.trinityprinceton.org/livestream.
In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation in Adam’s name to Princeton House Behavioral Health (Inpatient), 905 Herrontown Road, Princeton, NJ 08540 or the National Association of Mental Illness (NAMI), Mercer chapter, namimercer.org.