John Adams was born and raised in Portsmouth, Ohio, a son of George and Anne Adams, who operated their retail bakery, Anne's Pastry Shop in Portsmouth. John Adams graduated from Ohio University with an A.B Degree in Philosophy. He is married and has two grown sons, one a graduate of The Ohio State University and his other son, a graduate of Franklin University.
John Adams served four years in the United States Air Force as a radar maintenance and repairman.
John Adams has owned and operated his own industrial chemical company since 1977. John Adams was elected twice to the Portsmouth City Council and once to the Portsmouth Board of Education, serving as the Vice-President of the Board. He has served the public as an elected official for almost six years.