Bill Edwards, a banking pioneer in the area, died May 30 after a long illness. He was 87.A native of Zebulon, he worked in the family canning business Bankston & Edwards Canning Co. which later became Besco. The company processed peaches, pimentos, citrus fruit and vegetables.Bill joined the Bank of Zebulon, where his father John Joel Edwards was cashier. After Besco was sold in 1969, the family got more involved in banking. Bill became president of the Crawford County Bank in Zebulon. In 1972, Bill and his brother Joe helped organize and open Lamar State Bank. Two years later Bill became president of the Bank of Zebulon.In 1981, a holding company for the three banks was established and United Bank was born. United Bank has judiciously made acquisitions in the years since and now has operations in 12 counties and more than 400 employees.In addition to his wife Anne, Bill is survived by three children, Allie Edwards Armistead, Laurie Edwards Fisher and John Edwards Jr.; brother, Joe Edwards; 11 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.Funeral services will be held Monday, June 4 at 3 p.m. at First United Methodist Church in Griffin. Visitation with the family will be held Sunday, June 3 from 5-7 p.m. at Moody Funeral Home in Zebulon.