May 9, 2006
Joan C. Edwards Funeral Services Slated for Thursday, May 11
By HNN Staff
Huntington, WV (HNN) –The funeral for philanthropist Joan C. Edwards, 87, who died Sunday, May 7, 2006, at Cabell Huntington Hospital, will be 2:30 p.m. Thursday, May 11, 2006, at Trinity Episcopal Church.
Visitation is from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, May 10 at Klingel-Carpenter Mortuary, l 328 6th Ave. in Huntington. Trinity Episcopal Church is at 520 11th St., also in Huntington. Both the visitation and funeral are open to the public.
Per Mrs. Edwards’ request, the six pallbearers at the funeral will include three former Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine students wearing their white coats and three current Marshall University football players wearing their jerseys. Also at her request, music will be performed by a Marshall jazz combo during the funeral service.
“Joan Edwards was a glamorous and genteel person – charitable, visionary, gracious, sophisticated, insightful and very, very intelligent,” said Dr. Charles H. McKown Jr., dean of the School of Medicine. “One of her passions was good health, and with virtually all of her passions she had one significant perspective: to focus her resources to provide long-lasting, far-reaching benefits.
“In health, she made her impact known through Marshall’s medical school and the cancer center, which has brought to our region a new level of care for malignant illness. The people who will benefit most from her efforts are not necessarily those of us here today but our children, our grandchildren and many generations to come.”
Bob Marcum, Marshall’s director of athletics, described Edwards as “an amazing woman who touched countless people through her generosity.” “She and her husband loved the Thundering Herd and their contributions to athletics are immeasurable,” Marcum said. “The fact that our football team plays in Joan C. Edwards Stadium and on James F. Edwards Field is a testament to their incredible legacy.”
Dr. Marshall Onofrio, chair of Marshall’s department of music, noted Edwards’ many contributions to the arts at MU.
“Mrs. Edwards’ contributions to the arts range from the performing arts center that bears her name, to the jazz center which reflects the first names of her and her late husband, and the jazz studies program which was her inspiration,” Onofrio said. “With her support we initiated Jazz-MU-Tazz, which this year will celebrate its eighth festival. Her love of jazz will be celebrated at the service.”
Onofrio said many Marshall students have been impacted by Edwards’ generosity and encouragement.
“I am sure that several music students will remember fondly their meeting Mrs. Edwards at luncheons and receptions where she never failed to encourage them to pursue their dreams,” Onofrio said.
Marshall President Stephen J. Kopp said Edwards was a role model for people who wish to make a positive difference in the world. “She was a boundary-breaker, someone who refused to let others limit her in any way,” Kopp said. “In many ways her love of jazz music and the performing arts were metaphors for Joan’s persona and life.
“She was a strong-willed individual who livened up the room wherever she was. She encouraged women to make an impact in areas that in her view had been male dominions for too many years, like medicine. That impact is evident in Marshall University’s medical school, which is named for Joan. It is the first in the country to be named after a woman.”