Mr. Richard “Dick” Douglas Edwards, R.Ph, the son of Homer Lee Edwards and Daisy Weatherspoon Edwards, was born in Attalla, Alabama on October 24, 1938.
Richard graduated as valedictorian from Norris High School in 1956. He then, with the help of a special coach, Mr. James Steward, and the support of his family, completed his Bachelor of Pharmacy degree at the great Florida A&M University in 1961. He obtained a Masters Degree in Business Administration in 1973 from Jacksonville State University.
Richard was a member of Mt. Zion Baptist Church, East Gadsden, where he served on the trustee board for many years. He also established programs within the “I Dare You” ministry at MZBC to award youth for high academic achievement.
A veteran of the U.S. Army, Richard served as a Hospital Staff Pharmacist at Fort Ord, CA and Ft. McClellan, AL. In 1968, he was hired as the first black pharmacist at Baptist Memorial Hospital, now Gadsden Regional Medical Center, working there for over 30 years, exiting as the Director of Pharmacy Services in 1995. He continued to practice pharmacy in Northeast Alabama for over 50 years.
Richard was the proud co-owner of the Skyliner Pharmacy, which was also a meeting place for civil rights organizing and a refuge during tumultuous times in Gadsden. He loved his community and worked tirelessly to make it better, holding leadership positions in the Etowah County Voters League (President); Leadership Alabama (inaugural class); the local NAACP (President); Gadsden Etowah Industrial Development Authority; Alabama Democratic Conference (Chairman) and the SCLC. He was also active with the Gadsden City School PTO and a great supporter of school band programs and music education.
Richard advocated for many causes to include establishing a black history course at GSCC, supporting the Job Corps program and keeping the legacy of Dr. J.W. Stewart alive. He was an early passionate advocate for an elected school board in Gadsden.
Richard authored a book “Zadie’s Boy,” based on the true events in his family of his first cousin, Troy, being reunited with his mother after 50 years. He also invented a board game called “That’s Not a Word.” He was an avid golfer, a lover of many genres of music, and appreciated the arts, especially of poetry and oration. Richard was a life-long member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity.
On July 22, 2018, Richard walked into the light, and penned the final chapter of his rich legacy here on earth. He was preceded in death by his parents, Homer and Daisy; his dear brother, William “Bill” Edwards; his kindred sister, Florence Rushon; mother-in-law, Maudesta Adams Jones and brother-in-law, Ruben Larry Woody.
Richard leaves to cherish his memory, his loving wife, Faye Edwards; three children, Keli Ri-Charde Edwards, Kimberly Smith Heard (Dale), Kevin Smith (Linda-deceased); grandchildren, Brandon, Kendall, Kelcey, Kayla, Daija, Delaney, Danielle, Alesha; great grandchildren, Grant, Megan, Kairi; two sisters, Annie Nell Sears (William), Dora Way (Connie-deceased); one sister-in-law, Flora Edwards; two brothers-in-law, Clyde Jones (Jessie), Randy Jones (Elaine-deceased); three nieces, Elinda, Betty Jean, Vanessa; two nephews, Ronald “Ronnie” and William “Billy”, three generations of nieces, nephews and a host of family and many dear friends.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
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