On the morning of January 19, 2021, Andrew C. Edwards quietly slipped away at his home in Williamsburg, held in the loving arms of his adoring husband, Robert Lyon. Andy was born on August 18, 1949, in Greenwood, SC, to the late Frank H. and Eulalia Edwards. He was predeceased by his partner Kevin Bossolono. In addition to his husband, Bob, Andy is survived by his brother, Frank Edwards (CJ) of Raleigh, NC; nephew, Haden Edwards (Kim) of New Albany, MS; nieces, Lee Domville (Paul), Meghan Chalk (Lee) and Jessica Currin (Matt) and their children, all of Raleigh, NC. He is also survived by Bob's sister-in-law, Lisa LeVally of Chicago, and a host of loving friends far too numerous to mention. Andy came to Virginia in 1967 to attend the College of William & Mary, receiving his Bachelor's degree in anthropology in 1971. There, he found his calling in archaeology, and in 1973 he began volunteering for one of his former professors who was excavating on the Yorktown Battlefield. Andy's exemplary field skills were immediately obvious, and he soon was hired as an archaeologist for Southside Historical Sites, a contract archaeology firm associated with the College. In 1982, he took up a position as staff archaeologist for the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, where he remained until retirement in 2016. In 1994, he completed his Master's degree in Anthropology at William & Mary. Andy's knowledge of Virginia colonial sites was unsurpassed, having conducted excavations at iconic sites including Jamestown, Yorktown, Carter's Grove, Flowerdew Hundred, George Washington's Birthplace, Gunston Hall, Williamsburg's Historic Area, and most recently, in 2019, in the yard of William & Mary's historic Wren Building. He was proudest of his projects that brought previously hidden stories of African Americans to light; including investigating the lives of free Black families at the eighteenth-century Williamsburg Armoury, and working with First Baptist Church in 2004 to respectfully reinter the remains of two nineteenth-century residents whose burials had been disturbed by development. Andy was meticulous in reporting on and publishing his excavations, an achievement widely recognized and respected by his peers. Over his long career, Andy served as a generous mentor, infusing others with empathy for the people of the past whose lives he found so fascinating. In the field, Andy's dry wit enlivened long days, while he also gently ensured that co-workers followed his exacting standards. But none of his colleagues or students could ever replicate one of his trademark field skills: the uncanny ability to work hard all day wearing a crisp white shirt that somehow remained pristine, repelling the thick layers of Virginia clay that invariably clung to everyone else. In 2005, Andy began serving on the City of Williamsburg Architectural Review Board and in 2015 he was appointed to the Planning Commission, continuing in these roles until he resigned barely a week before his death due to his worsening health. Throughout, he patiently yet firmly advocated for an appreciation of the historic character of Williamsburg, and the preservation of buildings associated with all of the City's past residents, no matter how humble. All who knew Andy benefited from his generosity of spirit. No request was ever too much, and in his quiet, caring way he served as a lifeline and anchor for his closest friends. Having first met in 1984 and inseparable since 1991, Andy and Bob were legally married on October 9, 2014, having obtained their marriage license 2 hours after the October 6th Supreme Court decision that made the union possible. The brief ceremony was held in the ancient space that is the Great Hall of the Wren Building at their alma mater. Andy was passionate about his career and his work for the City of Williamsburg. He was a faithful and selfless friend to all, best friend to squirrels, crows, the deer who eat our plants, and to every other wild thing that came to visit. He kept the yard as neat as a pin, and simply loved cars. You couldn't go wrong buying an impeccably-maintained car from Andy, and many people benefited…I lost count after the total passed 35 since the first one he bought at age 16. Andy and Bob were fortunate to have made many trips with fantastic traveling companions. The British Isles, Amsterdam, Belgium and France; driving from Prague to Vienna, and from Florence to Rome; stays in Istanbul and in Iceland; an eye-opening road trip to the region around the Grand Canyon; and in 2016 a final wonderful drive from Geneva across the stunningly-beautiful center of France to see prehistoric painted caves and medieval villages and to again enjoy real French food and wine. As he wished, Andy has been entrusted to the caring hands at Whiting's Funeral Home. His ashes will eventually be laid to rest, together with Bob's, in Cedar Grove Cemetery, just a stone's throw from the house where they have spent nearly 30 laughter-filled years together. For now, remember Andy in your own way. Plant a tree or a flower, feed a squirrel, make something beautiful, be kind to those you meet. Goodness begets goodness and will not disappoint. Sleep good, BK. I love you soooo much. WB
Published in Virginia Gazette on Jan. 27, 2021.