William “Bill” L. Edwards Jr.
1/4/1927 – 5/13/2014
William L. Edwards Jr., 87, of Angola passed away peacefully with family on Tuesday, May 13, 2014 at the Gowanda Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Gowanda, NY.
Bill was an only child, born on January 4, 1927 in Lawtons, NY, to Doris (Yeager) and William L. Edwards.
Bill attended Eden High School and Gowanda High School, where he excelled at sports, particularly baseball. He was the greatest “south paw” Western New York had ever seen.
He was scouted by the Brooklyn Dodgers and was drafted before graduation. A brief stint with the Professional Baseball League ended due to an arm injury, at which point he returned to graduate from Gowanda High School in 1945.
Bill served in the Army during World War II from 1945-1946 as an Entertainment Specialist, playing his beloved baseball for the troops.
He married his high school sweetheart Alice Mae Congdon (“Icy”), daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Charles E. Congdon, in 1945. After returning from his time spent in the Army, he and Alice moved to Alexandria, Va., where Bill worked for Allegheny Airlines. They had two children in Virginia, Michael and Laurie.
Bill then returned to his hometown of Gowanda. He was employed at the Gowanda Psychiatric Center for 33 years as Director for Inventory and Material Goods. During this time, Bill and Alice welcomed three more children into their growing family: William (“Billy”), Anne and Elizabeth (“Beth”).
Bill was a devoted husband and father. As well as playing baseball himself for local teams, he coached his children’s baseball teams. He went so far as to keep scrapbooks on their achievements.
Bill loved the water and he and his family enjoyed time at their cottage on Chautauqua Lake, as well as family time at Sunset Beach in Angola. The family vacationed in Florida and in the Adirondack Mountains. The family also belonged to the Tri-County Country Club in Forestville, NY, where Bill could be seen playing golf with his sons and swimming with his adoring family.
Bill had an incredible thirst for knowledge. He was an avid collector of coins, stamps, and later in life, autographs. He developed a callous on this left thumb from penning hundreds of letters to politians, sports figures, astronauts, celebrities, authors and many more.
Bill and Alice shared a love of travel, books and movies. He was also a talented artist and painted landscapes and the occasional portrait of his children.
Bill was a wonderfully warm and loving man who made friends at every turn in life. He will be greatly missed by his children, grandchildren and friends everywhere.
Bill was preceded in death by both his parents, his beloved son William R. C. Edwards (1960-1982) and his beloved wife Alice Mae (Congdon) (1926-1988).
He is survived by his son Michael Scott (Deborah) Edwards of Cleveland, Ohio, daughter Laurie Lee Williams of Gowanda, NY, daughter Anne Alice (William) Alexandra of Chagrin Falls, Ohio, and daughter Elizabeth Sarah Dicembre of Collins, NY, as well as eight grandchildren, Lindsey, Brandon, Bryan, Michael, Garrett, Jennifer, Alexandra and William.
Services with full Military Honors will be held on Friday, May 23, 2014 at 11 a.m. at the First Presbyterian Church at 64 E. Main St. in Gowanda, NY. A celebration of Bill’s life will follow at 12:30 p.m. at the Gowanda VFW at 20 Sandhill Road in Gowanda, NY.
In lieu of flowers, friends are asked to make donations to the Ted Williams Foundation, c/o Tropicana Field, 1 Tropicana Drive, St. Petersburg, FL 33705.
Arrangements are being handled by the SCHINDLER FUNERAL HOME, 44 Center St., Gowanda, (716) 532-4200.