Dr. Zeno L. Edwards, Jr.

Published 1:29 am Sunday, August 21, 2011

Dr. Zeno L. Edwards, Jr., passed away peacefully with his family by his side on Saturday morning, August 20th at Pitt County Memorial Hospital in Greenville, NC.
A celebration of his life will be 11:00 am Tuesday, August 23, 2011 at the First United Methodist Church with Rev. Danny Allen and Rev. Chris Leak presiding. Burial will follow in Oakdale Cemetery.
Pall Bearers will be Mark, “Bo” Ernsberger, Jr. of Charlotte, NC, Hardy Andrews of Birmingham, AL, James Andrews, Thomas Edwards and Dan Winfield, all of Washington, NC, Ryan Morgan of Greensboro, Wes Minton of Raleigh, English DesChamps IV of Bradenton, FL, Chris Wilson of Chapel Hill, NC, Ashton James and Austin James of Greenville, NC.
Honorary pallbearers are Harvey Dixon, Edmund Buckman, Coach Mike Krzyzewski , Sen. Mark Basnight, Rep. Leo Daughtry, Brownie Futrell, Harold Robinson, Billy Mayo, Wayne (Cutie) Woolard, Al Phelps, Dr. Henry Lineberger, Fred Folger, Dr. Tom Fitzgerald, Dr. J. Hicks Corey, Rep. Walter Jones, and the doctors and nurses at the Marion Shepard Cancer Center.
Dr. Edwards was born in the “Original” Washington on September 30, 1926.  He was preceded in death by his parents, Dr. Z.L. Edwards of Black Jack in Pitt County and Lucinda Sizemore Edwards of Clarksville, VA.  His wife Rosemarie Wilson Edwards of Bradenton, FL, and of the home survives.
In Washington, Dr. Edwards received his education in the public schools having lettered in football, basketball and baseball, as well being president of the student body and valedictorian of his class of 1944. He was an Eagle Scout and received the J. West Boy Scout award.  Dr. Edwards attended Duke University on a football scholarship. After an 18 month tour in the US Navy, he returned to Duke to finish his requirements for dental school, in which he enrolled in 1948. In 1949, he married Rosemarie Wilson, who has been his wife for 61 years.  After he finished dental school at the University of Maryland, they returned to Washington, where he practiced dentistry for many years.
During his dental practice years, he became a Fellow in the American College of Dentists, was in the Fellowship Academy of General Dentistry, member and past president and charter member of the NC Society of Dentistry for children, past vice president of the NC State Dental Society, past president of both the Yaupon Study Club and the Demeritt Study Club. He was also a past president of the local Rotary Club and a Paul Harris Fellow of that club, a member and past president for two terms of the Washington Yacht and Country Club.  He was a member of the First United Methodist Church and he served 10 years on the Washington School Board, acting as chairman for 6 years.  Dr. Edwards also coached Little Tar Heel baseball teams for 12 years.
After his retirement from his dental practice, Dr. Edwards served four terms in the NC General Assembly, two terms as a Republican (1993-96) and two terms as a Democrat (1999-2002).  While in the General Assembly’s House of Representatives, his main service was in the health care field as a co-chair and vice chair of several health committees.  Education was another major interest, particularly in low wealth counties. Twice he was elected Republican of the Year in Beaufort County.  He was especially proud of the passage of his bill to have the General Assembly contribute to the World War II Memorial. North Carolina was asked to contribute one dollar for every North Carolinian that served in World War II – 396,000. Thanks to his House seatmate, Maggie Jeffries, the state contributed the whole amount.  The VFW presented him with a special reward for his efforts to obtain the money. Upon his retirement, he was presented the Order of the Long Leaf Pine by Gov. Mike Easley. He also was appointed to the Northeast Economic Commission by then speaker Jim Black.  When he retired from the political field, he returned to Washington where he participated in Meals on Wheels, played enjoyable golf with friends and loved being with his family.  He was recently honored at a Duke University football game for being a member of the winning Duke team in the 1944 Sugar Bowl against Alabama.  He was also recently honored by Washington High School on his Walk of Fame.
“Dr. Zeno” or “Big Z” as he was often called, is also survived by his children; Dr. Zeno Edwards, III, his wife, Terry, of Greenville, NC and their children Casey and husband Ryan Morgan, Molly Edwards, Jennifer and Ashton James and their son, Logan, and Austin James; his daughter, Teresa Edwards of Charlotte, NC, and her children “Bo” Ernsberger of Boone, NC, and Parry Ernsberger of New York, NY; son Wilson Edwards, his wife Cindy and their children Hardy Andrews, James Andrews and Thomas Edwards; and son Seth Edwards, his wife Kim and their daughters Tatum, Tori, Sydney and great-granddaughter Livia; and special dog friend, Romeo, all of Washington. Also surviving is his sister, Lucinda Edwards Minton of Raleigh, her son Wes Minton, his wife Gina and their children Ward, Barkley and Will; sister-in-law Bette DesChamps and her husband, English, of Bradenton, FL, and children English IV and Seale DesChamps; sister-in-law Mrs. Leo H. Wilson, Jr., and sons Chris, Ed, Jeff and Tommy.
The family will receive friends from 5:00 pm until 8:00 pm Monday, August 22, 2011 at the home, 212 Riverside Dr. Washington.
Memorials may be made to the Marion L. Shepard Cancer Center, General Fund, 1209 Brown St., Washington, NC 27889, First United Methodist Church Building Fund, P. O. Box 715, Washington, NC 27889 or to the charity of one’s choice.
You may address condolences to the Edwards family by visiting www.paulfuneralhome.com.
Paul Funeral Home and Crematory is honored to serve the Edwards family.