In Memory of Charles Garland Edwards

by Jim Edwards, September 11, 2018

Charles G. Edwards passed away September 7, 2018. He was a pastor in UCC, and son of Josephine Cunnington Edwards. A Committed minister who loved to learn throughout his life.

Charles Garland Edwards was born in Muncie, Indiana September 25, 1926 and passed away on September 7, 2018 at Providence St. Mary Medical Center in Walla Walla, Wash. His parents were Lowell and Josephine (Cunnington) Edwards. 

When he was a young boy his parents moved to Berrien Springs, Michigan, so his father could attend Emmanuel Missionary College (EMC, now Andrews University). Josephine got a job teaching school to help with finances, so both Charles and his older brother, Bob, were students of hers. After Lowell finished college the family moved to Minneapolis, Minn. and later to Maplewood Academy in Hutchinson, Minn. where they worked and the boys attended school. Through these years Josephine taught, and Charles took half his grade school years with her as his teacher. While in Minneapolis Charles came to greatly admire a couple of pastors and decided that he wanted to become a minister, a decision which he never doubted. During his teens he helped with evangelistic meetings and worked on leadership abilities, serving as editor of the school paper. In 1943 Charles discovered as a junior in high school that he only lacked two credits to graduate. So he took these in the summer and went that fall to EMC, majoring in theology. His brother, Bob, had been there already one year, also taking a theology major, and they roomed together the next year. During the next few years Charles continued to develop leadership skills and served as Men’s Club President, participated in debates, and was asked to direct a choir at a nearby church. It was there that he noticed a lovely young woman named June Elizabeth Day and began to date her. He worked and attended school year-round and graduated in 1946 with a B.A. degree in Theology, after only three years and at the age of 19. Soon after this he and June were married August 4, 1946 in Berrien Springs, Mich.  

He had received an invitation to start work as a minister in Indiana along with a few of his ministerial classmates. He said, “I was young and green as grass.” But they worked and learned. Soon he was given an assignment to hold meetings in the small town of Marion, Indiana. He was not yet 21 years old. But his meetings were very successful with many baptisms and he was therefore given the assignment to stay on there as the pastor of that church. They soon gave him three additional churches to pastor in that district. During those years their first child, James, was born. Two years later a second son, Charles, was born but died at birth. A few years later while living in Tennessee the family grew with the addition of another baby boy they named Robert.  

Over the years following his assignment in Marion, Charles worked in Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Massachusetts, Washington, and California. His final pastorate was in Wenatchee, Wash., where he retired in 1988.  

During these years he did pastoring, evangelism and departmental work with youth. His daughter Vicky Edwards says, "Charlie was also the Conference Youth / Mivoden Director in the 1960’s, and people may remember him from that role."   He was fondly known as “Uncle Charlie” by thousands of youth and known as an excellent story-teller.  After that he worked in health services in California. During the 1970s while still working, he intermittently studied at Loma Linda School of Public Health to get his Master of Science in Public Health degree. And later he did further studies to get a Ph.D. in Human Behavior and developed a Stress Management Seminar which was later recognized for CME programs for nurses and dentists in northern California.

He wrote many articles for church publications and had two books published by Pacific Press. One was entitled “Stress” and was based on his graduate work. The other book was about the Protestant Reformer, John Knox, and entitled “A Bold One for God.” In addition he wrote and self-published a book about his parents entitled “Wacifundo and the Whirlwind.” They were missionaries to Africa, and his mother wrote over 30 books. He also wrote his autobiography, “One Pilgrim’s Progress Through the Twentieth Century.”  

After retiring Charles and June moved to College Place, Wash., to be near their son Jim and numerous other family members. Always wanting to be active, he worked a few years as a hospital chaplain (some patients called him “Charley Chaplain”) and spoke in churches often on weekends. He also went on several mission trips overseas. His love of young people and learning led him to attend some classes at Walla Walla University as a guest where he was accepted by faculty, staff and students. Finally due to advancing age he and June moved into assisted living in 2013. For the next few years Charles still would often attend church with the use of his power chair. But the last few years were challenging with health limitations, and after a fall early on Sept. 4 he was admitted to the hospital and passed away in the early hours of the Sept 7, just a little over 2 weeks before his 92nd birthday. He sleeps now awaiting the resurrection. 


He is survived by his spouse of 72 years, June Day Edwards 
sons, James (Vicky Waters) Edwards and Robert Edwards, sister, Alice Princess Msumba Siwundhla, Ph.D., grandchildren, Herbert (Eunduk Choi), James II, Marissa Williams (Kris), and Andrew, great-grandchildren, Dylan and Macie Davidson, Sofie and Magnus Edwards, along with numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his brother, Robert, in 2004.

There will be two days for viewing of Charles on Sept 22 (noon-5) and Sept. 23 (10-3) at Colonial-Dewitt Funeral Home at 1551 Dalles Military Road, Walla Walla, WA. 
There will be a Celebration of Life service on November 3, 2018 at the Walla Walla University Church, 212 S.W. 4th Street, College Place, WA at 3:15 p.m. 

Since Charles has friends all over the USA we add that anyone wanting to share memories or sign an online guestbook may do so at www.mountainview-colonialdewitt.com.  
In lieu of flowers Charles requested people consider donating Memorial gifts to the Josephine Cunnington Edwards Endowed Scholarship at Walla Walla University to the Advancement Office, 204 S. College Ave., College Place, WA 99324; or you may donate online at wallawalla.edu/give. This will help worthy Communications students who show interest and promise in writing and journalism. 

Also anyone who might want his autobiography, “One Pilgrim’s Progress Through the Twentieth Century,” can get it at kdp.amazon.com. 

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