J. William ”Bill” Edwards
J. William “Bill” Edwards II passed away peacefully on Nov. 8 th surrounded by loved ones after 95 wonderful years.
Born July 21, 1927 In Rochester, Pa. he was the son of the late John and Thelma Edwards. He moved to New Brighton as an infant and remained there the rest of his life. Attending all New Brighton schools he graduated from NBHS in 1945. Bill left NBHS before his official graduation to serve in the Merchant Marines for 1 year. Upon his return he attended Geneva College where he earned 11 athletic letters in football, basketball and baseball and graduated from Geneva College in 1950 with a degree in Social Studies. After graduation he served in the Army for two years. He later received his Master’s degree in Administration from the University of Pittsburgh.
Bill married his college sweetheart, Shirley Bowie of Beaver Falls. Together for almost 69 years they raised four children who survive him, Debbie Prazenica (Sarver), John Edwards III (Metarie, LA), David Edwards (New Brighton), and Nancy Vendemia (Beaver). He was a wonderful, caring, and loving father.
He has 6 grandchildren, Megan Prazenica (Kelsey) (L.A. Calif.), Kristen Prazenica (Brent DeMarco),(Flemington, N.J.), Courtney Edwards(KansasCity, MO.), Blake Edwards, ( Washington D. C.), Gregory Vendemia, (Beaver), and Carly Vendemia (Buford, Georgia). He loved spending time with them and enjoyed attended many of their sporting events over the years and watching them grow into fine adults.
Bill started his New Brighton teaching/coaching career in 1952 as a junior high social studies teacher. He moved to NBHS in 1958. He coached football, basketball, and golf and was the Athletic Director before becoming Principal in 1969 until his retirement in 1985. While Principal Bill served as President of the Beaver County Principals Assoc, V.P. & President of the Midwestern Athletic Assoc., and was a member of the WPIAL Board of Control. He was inducted into the N.B. Sports Hall of Fame, The Beaver County Sports Hall of Fame, and Geneva College Sports Hall of Fame for his athletic talents, coaching, and contribution to the MAC and WPIAL. He really enjoyed his time with his students and student athletes, especially his basketball teams from 1953 to 1969. He was very proud of their successes in life. He had maintained life-long relationships with many of them as well as his faculty and office personnel with whom he was very close.
Almost immediately after retirement Bill started his second career volunteering in community service. He had a small office in the NB Borough building where he could be found daily, always willing to chat, while he was Chairman of the N.B. Business District Authority, Chairman of the N.B. Civil Service Commission, and Chairman of the N.B. Halloween Parade (45years). He also chaired many scholarship committees in town.
Bill made many friends at and was a proud member of the N.B. American Legion Post 19, the Oak Hill Veterans Assoc., and the Masons Union Lodge259. He ran the NB Community Golf League for years where he was fortunate enough to play countless rounds of golf at Blackhawk with his high school buddies, followed by a couple of beers of course. A special thanks to the Oak Hill Vet members for embracing him, respecting him and keeping him young at heart more recently.
He was preceded in death by his parents, John and Thelma Edwards, his sister Martha, and his beloved wife Shirley.
He truly led a wonderful life and will be missed by many.
Viewing will be held Sat. Nov. 12 th from 1-5 at J & J Spratt Funeral Home,1612 Third Ave., New Brighton with a brief service to follow.
Burial will be private Monday Nov. 14 th at Grove Cemetery. Members of the Beaver County Special Unit will meet at the cemetery at 9:45an to provide full military honors
In lieu of flowers, family has requested donations be made in his memory to the New Brighton Historical Society, 1229 7 th Avenue, New Brighton,