Michael W. Edwards, 61, of Tallahassee, died November 7, 2012 at the Margaret Dozier Hospice House after a lengthy illness.
Mike was born September 18, 1951, in Quincy, Florida, to Hershel and Lela Mae Edwards and was the oldest of their six children. He attended elementary and junior high school in Quincy and was a 1970 graduate of James A. Shanks High School, where he played football and was a member of several school service organizations. Because of his large stature, calm demeanor, and pleasant disposition, his classmates affectionately called him "Gentle Ben" after the popular television show from that time.
Upon his high school graduation, he worked for the Florida Department of Transportation for several years. During this time, he obtained certification as an emergency medical technician and paramedic and then worked for Gadsden Emergency Medical Services in those capacities. After completing the necessary law enforcement coursework and training, he became a deputy sheriff and worked for many years with the Gadsden County Sheriff's Department under the leadership of Sheriff W. A. Woodham, whom Mike deeply revered.
After his service to Gadsden County, Mike moved his family to Tallahassee in 1990 and began a long career with Capitol Police. He retired from this position in 2002, worked briefly with Champion Chevrolet, and then went back to work with Capitol Police. In his last job, Mike served as Sergeant-at-Arms for the Florida House of Representatives. He was extremely devoted to his job and established wonderful friendships with his co-workers. He was highly respected and well liked by his law enforcement family.
Mike was an avid sportsman, and his favorite outdoor pastimes were fishing and hunting as well as working in his yard. He was a true Florida State Seminole and attended many football and baseball games during his grade school years and throughout his adult life. He loved his family and treasured his granddaughter, Ellie, more than anything else. Mike was a true Southern gentleman in all ways and will be dearly missed.
Mike is survived by his wife of 32 years, Jacqueline Deborah Edwards; a daughter, Amy (Paul) Sperandeo of Marrero, Louisiana; his granddaughter, Ellie Sperandeo of Marrero, Louisiana; brothers Fuzzy (Dawn) Edwards of Bristol and Rusty Edwards of Quincy; his sisters Patricia Clark of Tallahassee; Teresa Edwards of Jacksonville; and Ann (Scotty) Lewis of Bainbridge, GA; his father and mother-in-law, Jack and Madeline Slappey of Quincy; and many loving nieces, nephews, great nieces, great nephews, aunts, and cousins. He was preceded in death by his parents.
Bevis Funeral Home of Tallahassee (N. Monroe Street) is in charge of arrangements. Visitation was at the funeral home Saturday, November 10, from 10:00 a.m. until 12:00 p.m. The graveside service was at Hillcrest Cemetery in Quincy at 1:00 p.m.