Jamie Adair was born in Syosset, New York, on 16 January 1916 son of Jamie and Barbara (Anderson) Adair. He attended Williamsville (New York) High School, prior to entering the US Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland, on appointment from his native state in 1934. Graduated and commissioned Ensign on 2 June 1938, he subsequently advanced in rank to that of Rear Admiral, to date from 1 July 1966.
Following graduation from the Naval Academy in 1938, he joined USS Vincennes (CA-44). Detached from that cruiser in May 1941, he next had postgraduate instruction in naval construction and engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology at Cambridge, from which he received the degree of Master of Science in February 1944. He then served as Ship Superintendent at the New York Naval Shipyard, Brooklyn, New York, and from April to October 1945 was attached to the US Naval Technical Mission, Europe, where he was engaged in the technical intelligence evaluation of German shipbuilding.
Returning to the United States, he had duty in connection with evaluation of intelligence material in the Bureau of Ships, Navy Department, Washington, DC, from November 1945 until February 1946, and then returned as Assistant to the Production Officer at the New York Naval Shipyard. He remained there through March 1946, then joined the Staff of Commander Mine Force, US Atlantic Fleet, as Material Officer.
In July 1948 he became an Instructor at the Naval Academy, where he continued to serve until June 1952, then was again assigned to the Bureau of Ships. He was a student at the Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island, from July 1955 until June 1956 and the next month returned to the Bureau of Ships, where he was Assistant for Shipbuilding until July 1960. Assigned next to the Pearl Harbor (Hawaii) Naval Shipyard, he served as Planning Officer until March 1963.
During the period September to December 1964, he attended Harvard University Graduate School of Business Administration for the Advanced Management Program. Following command of the Long Beach (California) Naval Shipyard, he reported, on 9 January 1966, for duty in the Bureau of Ships as Assistant Chief for Design and Shipbuilding. Upon the reorganization of the Navy Department, effective 1 May 1966, he was designated Deputy Commander for Ships Acquisition, Naval Ship Systems Command. In July 1969 he assumed duty as Deputy Commander for Plans, Programs and Financial Management (Comptroller) for that command and in June 1970 became Commander of the Norfolk Naval Shipyard, Portsmouth, Virginia. He was awarded the Legion of Merit for "...his outstanding leadership, sound judgment and inspiring devotion to duty (which)...contributed immeasurably to the successful mission accomplishment of the Norfolk Naval Shipyard..." On 1 July 1972 he was transferred to the Retired List of the US Navy.
In addition to the Legion of Merit, Rear Admiral Adair had the American Defense Service Medal with star; American Campaign Medal; European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal; World War II Victory Medal; Navy Occupation Service Medal, Europe Clasp; and the National Defense Service Medal with bronze star.
He was the co-author of the text "Fundamentals of Naval Construction and Ship Stability" published by the US Naval Institute, 1953.