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Leland (Lee) Edwards


1927 - 2018 Obituary Condolences
Leland (Lee) Edwards Obituary
Leland (Lee) Edwards

Bakersfield - Leland (Lee) Edwards died on July 25, 2018 in Bakersfield, California. In accordance with his prior request there was no funeral service and his cremated remains were interred in Bakersfield's Greenlawn South Cemetery.

Leland was born to Morgan and Katherine Edwards in Hanford, California on December 28, 1927, the first of four children: Donald R., Dorothey M. and Leonard. Leland attended Kings County schools in Lemoore and Armona before his family relocated in Visalia in 1936.. Thereafter, he went through Washington, Jefferson and Sierra Vista before ultimately graduating from Visalia Union High School in 1945.

During his school years two events occurred which left him memories. When he was eleven years of age at Jefferson School and in the sixth grade he participated in a city wide track meet. He ran the 100 yard dash in "C" and placed high enough to earn a school athletic letter. The second event was when he was in a Sierra Vista School art class. The teacher assigned the students to draw a crayon colored picture from their own imaginations. She collected the pictures and to his astonishment he later saw his picture in the schools exhibit in the Tulare County Fair.

Immediately after his high school graduation he entered the United Sates Navy for World War II service. However, the war ended just as he completed basic training and he was assigned to Headquarters Squadron, Fleet Airwing on Naval Air Station, North Island, San Diego, California. In 1946 he was transferred to Naval Air Station Alameda for service in Naval Air Transport Squadron 2. He was honorably discharged in 1946. However, he saw military service again when he joined the United States Coast Guard in 1959 as a port securityman. He did his active duty tours with the Coast Guard Port Authority in San Francisco. He was honorably discharged in 1962.

On July 1, 1948, Leland married Eula Mae Thompson whom he had known in high school. The marriage was a successful one, lasting 70 years and producing two children, Barbara Ann and Glen.

Leland worked on several jobs before his employment with Visalia School District in 1947. In 1951 he stepped down from chief stock clerk to a regular night shift janitor at Mt. Whitney High School which enabled him to attend college full time during the day. He earned an AA degree from College of the Sequoias and later a BA from Fresno State College.

In May of 1955, he became employed as a group supervisor for the Tulare County Juvenile Hall which began his career in corrections. In June, 1955 he was promoted a grade as a group supervisor and on December 1, 1955, he was promoted to Deputy Probation Officer, a post he held until August, 1960 when he became a Parole Officer for the California Youth Authority, stationed in Bakersfield.

In 1965 he was promoted to. Assistant District Chief inn Van Nuys, however, he was requested by the department to return to Bakersfield in the assistance's position. In January, 1969, he was promoted to Administrative Assistant to the Chief of Parole for Southern California, headquarters in Los Angeles. A year later he was transferred back to Bakersfield as District Chief, a three county operation; Kern, Inyo and Mono. He held this position for ten years before completing his career as a staff officer for the chief of the parole division in headquarters office, Sacramento. In 1982 he retired to his home in Bakersfield.

Leland had always been fascinated by the outlaws and lawmen of old California and the southwestern United States. As a result of this interest he researched and wrote over 200 non-fiction articles for national and local historical publications: magazines True West, Old West, Real West and Wild West as well as the monthly Tombstone Epitaph. In addition, he wrote over 60 articles for the Tulare County Historical Society's Los Tulares with further publications in the Kern County Historical Society's Historic Kern and the National Association for Outlaw/Lawman History's Quarterly Journal. He also authored three books, The Killing of Jim McKinney, Goodbye Billy the Kid and Train Robbers and Tragedies a biography of the old Tulare County outlaw, Chris Evans.

Also, because of his interest in history he was an avid member of the Tulare County Historical Society. At times he also held memberships in the KERN County Historical Society, The Western Writers of America, the National Association for Outlaw/Lawman History and The Wild West History Association. As a member of the National Association for Lawman/Outlaw History he served several terms of the club's board of directors and two terms as the Association's president. In 2007 he was admitted into the Association's Hall of Fame. In February 2013, he was inducted into the College off the Sequoias Alumni Foundation's Hall of Fame for his contribution to the published history of Tulare County and the old southwestern United States as well as for his years of public service, a special honor he cherished to the last of his days. Recently, he and his son, Glen, joined Sons of Confederate Veterans.

In 1953, Leland became a Master Mason in Visalia Lodge 128 F&AM. Later, he became a 32nd degree Mason in the Bakersfield Scottish Rite Bodies. In connection to his occupation he belonged to the California Probation and Parole Officers Association and attended their conventions whenever possible.

He was devoted and dedicated to his family and he also loved his extended family and was in charge of the Edwards family reunion for many years. He is survived by his loving wife, Eula Mae, his daughter, Barbara Ann and her husband Richard Hughes. He is also survived by his granddaughter, Elaine and her husband Francis Moore, as well as his great grand children, Olivia Landis, Ryker Moore and Gianna Moore. He is also survived by his son, Glen Edwards. All reside in Bakersfield. He also leaves behind a brother, Leonard Edwards of Conover, North Carolina as well as numerous nieces and nephews.
Published in Tulare Advance-Register & Visalia Times-Delta on Aug. 16, 2018
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