We give thanks for the life of my devoted and loving husband, our wonderful daddy, and our amazing granddaddy and great-granddaddy who passed away Monday, Feb. 10, 2020. We are honored to share his story with those who knew him and those who proudly called him a friend. With the greatest of immeasurable love in each of our hearts.
— Barbara, Brenda, Boyd, Beth, Brad and also our beloved Bruce who was waiting for daddy at Heaven’s East Gate
CANTON — Billy “Bill” Dale Edwards was blessed with 91 years of a wonderful and full life. His story begins on May 9, 1928. He was born in Albemarle, North Carolina, to the late W.S. Edwards and the late Bessie Landreth Edwards. When Bill was just a “little boy,” the Edwards family made the decision to make their home in Canton.
Bill proudly called this paper mill town his hometown for the rest of his life. He was a most adventurous boy growing up and was curious about everything.
Bill often reflected on these youthful years, and later kept his children spellbound with his endless childhood stories and happy memories. He was a graduate of Canton High School, where he played on the Canton High football team and often recalled the memory of running with his team from Canton to the Asheville courthouse by way of Newfound Gap while training under Coach C.C. Poindexter.
Bill made friends easily and his genuine and friendly personality remained all throughout his lifetime. He held a strong interest in engineering and continued his education at Mars Hill College and at Clemson University and later became employed with Champion International where he worked as a mechanical engineer for many dedicated years.
As a truly handsome man in his 20s, Bill’s greatest journey in life began when he saw his beautiful Barbara McKinney for the very first time. She was a contestant in the Canton Miss Labor Day Pageant and Bill knew at that very moment that he had found the love of his life.
Bill and Barbara have shared a happy life, a true love story, and a wonderful marriage of 70 years and became parents to five amazing children.
Bill’s children whom he loved with all his heart and soul each possess a special part of him — his love for the outdoors and the mountains and the beach, going fishing every chance possible, floating endless hours down the Pigeon River, building and working with wood and designing amazing pieces to pass down to future generations.
As their Daddy, he showed them how to be creative and use their talents as they saw his designs of several private homes in the county and even a well-known motel in the Cherokee community.
Being a licensed real estate agent and land surveyor, he also taught his children the importance of taking care of one’s properties, respecting the land around us and the need to protect our environment.
As a Canton Little League baseball coach, he instilled in his children the meaning of good sportsmanship and gave encouragement for them to always do their best. Bill was indeed an example to his daughters and sons as he gave back to his community by volunteering for 22 years with the Canton Fire Department.
His great passion and pride for his hometown brought forth his commitment to dedicate endless hours to his vision of the revitalization of Canton where he faithfully served the citizens of his town for 14 years as an elected alderman for the town of Canton.
One of Bill’s outstanding achievements was creating and designing the Town of Canton’s River Walking Trail that is enjoyed every day by seniors, families, young adults, students, children, and even some happy pets!
Bill stood strong as a role model as he weighed his decisions carefully and calmly, always looking to make the best choice for his town.
Billy Dale Edwards was a man of great faith. He was a devoted member of Canton First United Methodist Church where he was willing to be a part of any committee or project that needed his assistance. He was a member of the Methodists Men and played a vital role in helping with their morning breakfasts. Bill was always there at his church to greet members and visitors with his strong handshake and a kind smile. Bill had a special way of making everyone feel welcome.
Barbara and Bill’s beautiful home was open to everyone and once you saw Bill’s immaculately mowed lawn, their cozy back porch, breathtaking native flowers and shade trees that reached to the skies, squirrels that scampered around Bill’s feet as he walked softly throughout the lawn — no one ever wanted to leave.
Bill was a man who brought a peaceful calmness into the lives of those around him. In the words of his family, “He was a caring, giving, and modest man and was loved by everyone.”
We pray for peace in the hearts of his loved ones and those who will miss him each and every day. In the sweet words of his beloved Barbara, “When I gently touched Bill’s face on that quiet and peaceful evening and lovingly told him goodbye, I knew peace would come.”
Quietly like the first star of the evening sky or as softly as the birds fly in the early morning, peace came and whispered, “Be still. I am here.” With that, we know Bill is well.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his son, Bruce Edwards, a grandson, Clint Burress; a brother, Ed Metcalf and sister-in-law, Lois Metcalf.
Surviving are his loving wife and his best friend, Barbara Ann McKinney Edwards of Canton; his children, Brenda Edwards Gaddis and her husband, Joe of Canton, Boyd Edwards and his wife, Susan of Canton, Beth Edwards Cragg and her husband, Jerry of Canton and Brad Edwards and his wife, Sherry of Leicester. Bill was also blessed with numerous grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and, great-great-grandchildren who he loved dearly.
A memorial service to celebrate the life of Bill Edwards will be held at 2 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 18, in the chapel of Crawford/Ray Funeral Home in Canton. The family will receive friends at the funeral home from 12:30 until 2 p.m. Pastor Clay Morgan and Pastor Gordon Pike will be officiating.
Memorials may be made to Sarge’s Animal Rescue Foundation at 256 Industrial Park Dr. Ste. B, Waynesville, NC 28786, or to the Community Kitchen at 98 Pisgah Dr., Canton, NC 28716
Crawford/Ray Funeral Home and Cremation Service is honored to be caring for the Edwards family, and words of comfort may be shared at www.CrawfordRay.com.