SMITHFIELD - Catherine Chapman Yeoman Edwards, 95, passed away Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2005, with her family at her side. A native and lifelong Isle of Wight resident, Catherine was the daughter of the late Benjamin and Mary Elizabeth Batten Yeoman. Early in her career, Catherine was the first Bookkeeper of the "original" James River Bridge. Catherine will be remembered for her involvement in community and civic opportunities. A lyric soprano, Catherine was instrumental and actively involved in the Smithfield Music and the Smithfield Women's Clubs. She organized one of the first Girl Scout Troops in Smithfield. "Miss Kitty," as she was affectionately known by her students, organized a kindergarten at The Oaks which she operated in her home from 1954, until 1973. Later, she compiled her experiences in a book, "Miss Kitty's Kindergarten Through the Years", which she published. "Miss Kitty" established the Isle of Wight Academy Kindergarten and later Benn's Church United Methodist Church Preschool. In addition, Catherine was an active member and, until her death, was the oldest living member of Benn's United Methodist Church. From 1977 until 1998, Catherine resided in Blacksburg, Va. There she volunteered regularly at Montgomery County Hospital. During that time, she was also an active member of Blacksburg United Methodist Church, AARP, and the Blacksburg Garden Club. Catherine's love of travel inspired her to organize and promote bus tours to Atlanta, Boston, New York City, and New Orleans, to name a few. The wife of a dairy farmer, the late Ryland B. Edwards Sr., Catherine was a devoted wife and a loving and supportive mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. She leaves to cherish her memory her daughter, Mary Catherine Cole; and her son, Dr. Ryland B. Edwards, and his wife, Mary Ann, all of Smithfield; four grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren. Three sisters and two brothers preceded Catherine in death. A graveside funeral service will be conducted 11 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 5, in St. Luke's Memorial Park. The Rev. Mark A. Burgess and the Rev. Robert Cofield will officiate. The family will receive friends 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, in Colonial Funeral Home, Smithfield. The family suggests memorial contributions to the Isle of Wight Academy Preschool and Kindergarten Programs, c/o Joseph Whitley, PO Box 105, Isle of Wight, VA 23397 or Benn's United Methodist Church, 14571 Benn's Church Blvd., Smithfield, VA 23430. Arrangements are in the care of Colonial Funeral Home, Smithfield.
Published in Daily Press from Nov. 2 to Nov. 3, 2005.