Howard Donald Edwards, 79, woodworker, runner, history buff, faithful servant and ladies' man, died on Saturday, Oct. 5, 2013. Also affectionately known as G.Daddy, Don Don, Don Burger and Dandy Don, he passed away in Comer, Ga., surrounded by his two children, Elaine and Scott, and their spouses, Don VanCleave and Ginni Beeland Edwards, and granddaughter, Isabel Edwards.
Born in Rockwood to Leck and Lucy Edwards, he grew up as a "lint head," living in mill towns throughout the South. It was often told that his grandmother said, "That Donnie Boy, he's a caution!" In his early teens, he held the honor of being the yo-yo champion of Boaz, Ala. In high school in Uniontown, Ala., he played basketball and baseball, and quarterbacked for the Uniontown Yellowjackets.
After high school, he worked in Oak Ridge before moving to Macon and enrolling in Mercer University, where he received a degree in history and won Mercer's "Ugliest Man 1958" contest. It was at Mercer that he met the love of his life, Algy Carbonell Edwards, who preceded him in death during their 49th year of marriage. After graduation from Mercer, he served as platoon leader in the U.S. Army Military Police Corps. He also went on to earn graduate degrees in education from both Georgia Southern and the University of Georgia
He served the students of Bibb County for decades as teacher, guidance counselor and principal. During those years, he also served as president of the Rutland Lions Club and the Macon Tracks Club. Running around the block in Converse basketball shoes long before anyone had heard of "jogging" as a sport, he ran the Boston Marathon in 1980. He was able to retire in the prime of life and went on to pursue his many passions, most especially woodworking. He loved his shop and loved to help others with projects. He volunteered for years with Habitat for Humanity and Rebuilding Macon. Never one to go on "traditional summer vacations," he volunteered with the American Hiking Society and built and repaired trails in Vermont, Colorado and Washington.
A Presbyterian since birth, he was a founding member of St. Andrews Presbyterian Church, where he wore many hats. He loved his church family.
He spent his life surrounded by women and one son. In addition to his two children, he is survived by his devoted sister, Patty Sitten; and four granddaughters, Rachel VanCleave Cory (Bobby), Allison VanCleave, Hannah Grace VanCleave, and Isabel Edwards. "It is an understatement to say that Don was a charming man," his family said. "If you were ever kissed on the hand by Don and he told you that you were a â€˜jewel,' you were truly blessed by his sincere affection. He was humble to a fault, quick with a compliment, and never failed to say thank you."
Later in life, he spent more time watching TV. He loved "60 Minutes," "Antiques Roadshow," "American Pickers," "CBS Sunday Morning" and anything on the History Channel. He also loved a good college football game; he declared allegiance to both Georgia and Alabama, but professed hatred for Auburn. Before moving in with his son, Scott, in Comer, he always enjoyed drinking a cup of senior's coffee and talking politics on Friday mornings at the Riverside Drive McDonald's with other retired principals. And he truly loved his Mercer Bears! He loved going to Mercer basketball and baseball games and was looking forward to attending his first ever Mercer football game this fall. Most of all, he loved a cold beer and a bowl of ice cream, sometimes even together.
He loved his wife, children and grandchildren, his big sister, his in-laws, his many nieces and nephews, his neighbors in the 'Stone, his church family, his caregivers at Peachtree Village and all of his many friends! He said he was looking forward to seeing his mother again, saying, "I loved the ol' heifer." He was a well-loved man and you surely knew it when he loved you.
A memorial service will be in St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church, 501 Bass Road, Macon, at 2 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 10. Visitation will immediately follow the service in the church's fellowship hall.
For those who wish to remember him with memorial gifts, consider making donations to either Rebuilding Macon, www.rebuildingmacon.org
; Jubilee Partners, www.jubilee-partners.org
; or St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church, www.standrewsmacon.org
Lord & Stephens Funeral Home, Danielsville, Ga., is in charge of arrangements. www.lordandstephens.com