Obituaries

Rufus T. Edwards, Sr.

April 16, 1929 - May 9, 2019

Burial Date: May 18, 2019

A Celebration of Life service will be held 12 PM Saturday, May 18th, 2019 at Union Bethel AME Church. Viewing  will take place Friday May 17, 2019  from 4-7 PM with a Wake Service from 6-7 PM at the Chapel. Professional services entrusted to Shivers Funeral Chapel.

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On May 9, 2019, Rufus Theordore Edwards, Sr. moved to his new home in heaven prepared for him by his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He was escorted to heaven at approximately 5:30 PM from his earthly home of 33 years in Windsor, VA. He was with family at the time of his transition.

On April 16, 1929, Rufus was the first of 16 children born to Clarence James Edwards and Emily Davis Edwards in lsle of Wight County, VA were he resided for the entire 90 years of his life. He worked for a time at Gwaltney’s in Smithfield, VA but in January 1957, he started work in the Rigging Department X36 for the Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company. After building staging areas for 37 years, he retired in April 1994.  At different points of his life, he enjoyed membership at Union Bethel AME Church in Smithfield, Miracle Temple in Newport News and God’s Family Ministry in Smithfield.

One can imagine being raised in a family of 16 children in rural Isle of Wight County in the early l 930’s. Each family member had an important role within the family unit and hard work was certainly a part of that role. (As an aside, Rufus always raved about his mother’s cooking and how she taught his wife Shirley to cook as well. However, with a crew of 16, there was plenty of opportunity to perfect ones’ cooking skills). Anyone who knew Rufus knew him to be a hard worker. He not only worked full days at the Shipyard but he also managed a lawn service providing lawn care to a number of individuals including top Smithfield officials. While he was able, he donated his efforts to maintaining portions of Ebernezer Cemetery helping preserve the dignity of a place not attended to by others. When he found the time, he worked on another of his passions—­gardening. In the community of Jersey Park, he maintained three large gardens and had a prolific “green thumb”. In his free time, he spent it with his family and he liked boating and fishing. During the latter years of his life as his health started to decline, he embraced Matthew 10:28 “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell”.

He was preceded ln death by his wife, Shirley L. Edwards, mother, father, two sisters and three brothers.

He leaves to cherish his memory ten brothers and sisters, a large family connection – Wayne (Bonita) Edwards, Joyce (Warren) Williams, Steven (Elva) Edwards, Rufus (Karen) Edwards Jr., Kimberly Squires, Christopher Edwards, Theodore Edwards, Deborah (Perry) Price, Linwood Robinson and Nancy Baughans.  He is also survived by a number of grandchildren, great grandchild, a host of nieces, nephews, in-laws, cousins and friends.

A Celebration of Life service will be held 12 PM Saturday, May 18th, 2019 at Union Bethel AME Church. Viewing  will take place Friday May 17, 2019  from 4-7 PM with a Wake Service from 6-7 PM at the Chapel. Professional services entrusted to Shivers Funeral Chapel.