I attended Chief R.D. Edwards funeral and as I sat at Santa Clara Baptist Church listening to the memorial service a lot of good memories flooded back to me.
I cannot remember a time that R.D. was not a part of my life.
Since I lived on the east side of Quincy, I attended Santa Clara the first 18 years of my life and R.D. was part of those years.
He loved the church, Jesus, the people and especially young folks.
Plain and simply, he was the kind of man that people respected.
For me he was the best example of what a true Christian should be.
I cannot even begin to tell you the number of folks at his funeral, and since then, that has said exactly the same thing about R.D. Edwards.
R.D. had a personality that drew you to him and he was the kind of a fellow who, as I grew older, accepted me as an adult. Some have a hard time making that
transition as kids grow up. That is why I liked him so much.
But a lot of folks don’t really know how important a man he was for this community.
Yes, he was a police officer and chief for 30 years, and was known far and wide for his straightforward handling of law enforcement and lawbreakers.
He and I had many conversations over the years.
R.D. told me he remembered my dad visiting with the dispatcher when the city police station was a little building on the courthouse square.
I was a toddler and while they sat on the bench outside the station he said I would be sitting beside him on the sidewalk playing.
My mother always said she could give me a fried chicken leg and I would entertain myself for an hour (still works today). I’m sure I probably had a chicken leg to keep me company.
He arrested one of my dad’s half brothers for fighting not long after both of them had returned home after World War Two, he told me, laughing about the two of them scuffling on the sidewalk.
My uncle spent a few hours in the “cooler,” and then went home.
He told me, too, about how Gadsden County, especially Quincy, had been marked with a red pin as a place that could easily erupt into a racial hot spot.
We did have a riot of sorts in October of 1970 and then Sheriff Robert Martin’s car was turned over and he had a heart attack.
R.D. was in charge and something that could have been very bad was averted by cool heads and working closely with both black and white leaders at the time.
That is an example of the type of life R.D. Edwards lived.
My life was certainly made better for having known him and what a legacy of family and friends he has.