Wayne Thomas Edwards
January 28, 1945 - December 2, 2022
This Saturday will mark one year since my family lost a cornerstone in our family, one of our most steadfast encouragers, a wise mentor, and a saint in the faith. Wayne Thomas Edwards was my father-in-law, but he called me his daughter-in-grace. From the moment I met him, his focus was to be present with those whom he loved, which he did every time we were together.
So much of what I know of Wayne was told in story once I joined the family 25 years ago. I heard about the farm where he visited his grandfather in Loudoun County, Virginia, that had been handed down through his family for almost a century, and where he and his beloved wife Sharon lived after they were married. I heard about his being a page for Senator A. S. J. Carnahan in 1960, attending page school at the Capitol, and teaching middle school history after attending Baylor in the ’60s. When he and his wife had a family, he became a purchasing manager and faithfully drove 80 miles each way to work at Nucor Steel for years.
After I married Wayne’s only son, he made me feel like one of his own daughters. I not only got to hear stories about him, I got to be in them. I enjoyed air shows around Texas and trains at McGregor with him. His eye for adventure was keen and even enjoyed hearing every detail of our own travels. We shared a love of photography and compared notes about film and darkrooms and capturing life by holding it still. The two of us attended our first Genealogy for Beginners class at the library all those years ago and shared an appreciation for remembering the story of our families, often reminding each other of gems we found in our lines.
As each of my own kids were born, it seemed like it was the best thing he ever did was be a grandfather. They were little, and he was patient. He never passed up an opportunity to share a lesson or notice something small and point it out. He had an amazing sense of wonder, which made him perfect for our family. To this day, my kids remember lessons he either planned or made up on the spot to help them along the
way, both with the regular stuff of life as well as learning to love God more deeply.
There are so many stories about Wayne and his love for us that are stored up in my heart, that I hope to learn from and emulate–the kind of stories that aren’t found on genealogy websites. He was the primary caregiver for his wife for years as her health declined from complications from a brain tumor, being present and offering constant encouragement and help. He was a life-long learner, filled up with books about theology, American and Texas history, parenting and child psychology, genealogy —really, anything he wanted to learn about, he sought out. He would sneak up to his shed in the backyard where his flight simulator was set up and fly all over the world. He was a Bible collector, treasuring family bibles and often using different ones when he went to church.
But the best story to tell about my father-in-love is how he intended to live fully and deeply with a love that could only be learned and given from the Father of Creation, God of Love. Thanks be to God for the love and example of Wayne Edwards.