Mr. John William ‘Bill’ Edwards Sr., age 87, of Griffin, passed away May 30, 2018. He was born on April 9, 1931 in Zebulon, son of the late John Joel Edwards and Allie Sue Bankston Edwards. Bill spent his early years in both Zebulon and Orlando, Fla., where his family was in the canning business. Bankston and Edwards Canning Company and its successor, Besco Products, processed peaches and pimentos in Zebulon during the summer months and citrus and vegetables in Florida during the remainder of the year. Bill graduated from Orlando High School in 1949 and from Stetson University in Deland, Fla., in 1953.At Stetson, he was an active member and leader of Delta Sigma Phi Fraternity. It was there that he met his wife, Anne Clements. After marrying in 1954, the Edwards spent their early years in Georgia, Texas and Washington D.C., while Bill was serving in the United States Army. After his military service, they established their home in Griffin.Bill started his career in 1956 with the Bank of Zebulon, a company his father joined as Cashier in 1928. He also served as vice president in the family canning business. After Besco Products sold in 1969, the Edwards family increased their involvement in banking, and Bill became president of the Crawford County Bank in Roberta. In 1972, he and his brother, Joe Edwards, helped local citizens organize and open Lamar State Bank in Barnesville. Two years later Bill became President of The Bank of Zebulon. He was instrumental in the bank’s decision in 1981 to unite the Bank of Zebulon, Lamar State Bank and Crawford County Bank as a single holding company, United Bank Corporation, with him as chairman. In 1990, United Bank acquired First Federal Savings in Griffin and named Bill its President. Coming home to Griffin to work was a dream come true for Bill as he had raised his family and been an active part of the community for decades.Bill loved people, and people loved Bill. He found great joy in serving his customers and supporting his community. He was past president of the Griffin Jaycees and the Georgia Canners Association, on the board of directors of the Griffin-Spalding Chamber of Commerce, the Griffin Historical Society, the Griffin Rotary Club, and the Salvation Army Griffin. He was chairman of the board of directors for Spalding Regional Hospital, and he served on the finance committee of the Flint River Council of Boy Scouts of America. He was a member of the Griffin-Spalding County Development Authority, the Elks Club and the Deck Club. For 55 years he was an active member of the First United Methodist Church of Griffin where he served on the Board of Trustees, Finance Committee, Church Council, United Methodist Men, Alpha Leader, Board of Stewards, Staff Parrish Relations Committee, President of Youth Fellowship, member of the Wesley Group Bible Study and was an active member of the Men’s Bible Class.His service to others and to his community was recognized in 1999 when the Griffin Spalding Chapter of the American Heart Association named him the first recipient of the Richard M. Hunter Award for outstanding civic service. He was honored again in 2010, when the pavilion at ‘The Park at Sixth,’ a community gathering place in downtown Griffin, was named in his honor. In 2012, he was awarded the Golden Eagle award by the Flint River Boy Scouts.Bill enjoyed traveling the world with family and friends. He went to places as far away as Nepal and China, but his favorite spots were Highlands, N.C., and St. Simons Island, Ga.He considered his greatest achievements to be his children and grandchildren. He cherished the time he spent with all of his family. One of his greatest relationships was the one he held with his brother, Joe. Bill and Joe were life-long business partners ‘“ beginning with a paper route and evolving to the canning plants and community banking. They challenged one another, supported one another and encouraged one another. Bill is survived by his beloved wife of 63 years, Anne Clements Edwards; three children, Allie Edwards Armistead (Butch) of Zebulon, Laurie Edwards Fisher (Jay) of Sewanee, Tenn., and John Edwards, Jr. of Zebulon; 11 grandchildren, Walker Armistead (Sydney), Courtney Armistead Rasmussen (Jordan), Dana Armistead, Mia Armistead Goodman (Mitch), Jett Fisher (Caroline), Elliott Fisher, John Fisher, Henry Fisher, Ashley Edwards, John William Edwards III (Sarah), and Mary Grace Edwards; two great-grandchildren, Blythe and Walker Armistead; a brother, Joe Edwards (Pat) of Barnesville; and several nieces and nephews. He will be deeply missed by all. The family wishes to thank Kathy Rawls, our special friend and caregiver, and the Brightmoor nurses and staff for their loving care. The funeral service will be held on Monday, June 4 at 3 p.m. in the First United Methodist Church. Dr. Med Roach will officiate. Friends may visit with the family on Sunday, June 3 at Moody-Daniel Funeral Home, 10170 Hwy. 19, Zebulon, from 5-7 p.m. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that contributions be made to FUMC-Capital Campaign, 1401 Maple Dr., Griffin, GA 30224 or to Save the Old Zebulon School, Pike Historic Preservation, P. O. Box 489, Zebulon, GA 30295.Moody-Daniel Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements.
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