Liberty County is fondly remembering Ed Edwards, a prominent educator who impacted the lives of many. Edwards passed away Aug. 1.
Edwards began his lengthy career upon relocating to Hinesville. He graduated from Georgia Teacher’s College in 1950, after serving two years in the United States Navy. His former high school principal hired him as a teacher and coach at Bradwell Institute. Edwards was the head baseball coach and assistant football coach in the 1950s. In 1959, he went on to serve as assistant principal and principal of Bradwell while earning his Master’s from Vanderbilt and Doctorate from the University of Georgia, according to his obituary. In doing so, Edwards touched the lives of many students and athletes alike.
Candler Boyd, a former Liberty County School System educator, remembers Edwards at the beginning of his career.
“My family moved to Hinesville when I was in the first grade,” Boyd said. “He was the assistant principal at the high school, and he was my brother’s coach.”
Boyd said Edwards had an impact on him as a student and as a professional. Edwards hired Boyd to teach and coach at Bradwell.
“I was only one of few people that Edwards hired on three different occasions to work for LCSS,” he said. “He gave me opportunities to work with young people.”
In 1968, Edwards became LCSS school superintendent. He held the position for 20 years before retiring in 1988. According to Boyd, he never stopped serving his community.
“His whole purpose was to help people and serve people,” he said. “To me, that’s his greatest legacy— he was always there for people when they needed him.”
W.L Hall, a former student and athlete under Edwards, said that he “never met a stranger, and had that friendly, outgoing personality.” As superintendent, Edwards was extremely active in his community, attending Bradwell home games and making appearances at the high school pep rallies.
“Because of his loyalty to Bradwell Institute and his love for the players and student body, he saw more games played by Bradwell than anyone,” Hall said. “He had a stretch of 38 years without missing a football game.”
In the 1970s, when Bradwell Institute and the former Liberty County High School integrated, Edwards played a major role in the change. Clifford Johnson, a coach at Bradwell at the time, says the transition went smoothly.
“It was a new experience for all of us, and he was responsible for the outstanding school system the years he was there,” Johnson said. “Nobody worked harder, the thing that meant the most to him was the students.”
According to his obituary, Edwards was a recipient of the Georgia Superintendent of the Year; the Georgia Association of Education Leaders- Distinguished Service Award; the Georgia High School Association- Distinguished Service Award, in addition to numerous other accolades.
Craig Stafford, attorney at law with Arnold & Stafford, and former president of the Tiger Touchdown Club, knew Edwards through the First United Methodist Church. Edward’s faith was a special part of his life. He was a very spiritual person, Stafford said, and served as the president of the men’s bible class.
“My favorite memory of him is singing in church, ‘Victory in Jesus’,” Stafford continued. “The men’s bible class theme song was that song, because of Mr. Ed.”
“Without Ed Edwards and his contributions, his service and positive Christian influence on our lives, we would not be enjoying the quality of life that we now share,” Hall said.