Edwin "Ed" Lee Chesnutt

March 4, 1940January 10, 2021

Edwin "Ed" Lee Chesnutt, Jr., 80, loving husband, father and grandfather, passed away peacefully on Sunday, January 10, 2021 at Well Spring Retirement Community. The family wishes to express their deepest appreciation to everyone at Well Spring, especially his private caregiver, Kim Smith, for her unwavering faithfulness in tending to his needs.

Ed was born in Atlanta, Georgia to Mary Ellen Bell and Edwin L. Chesnutt, Sr. His father passed away from injuries in World War II when Ed was only five years old. When he was eleven, his mother remarried Thomas Davis, and the family moved to Charlotte, North Carolina. While in Jr. High in Charlotte, Ed began to exhibit remarkable versatility, excelling both in scholarship and athletics. With a record of straight A's in his classes, Ed became a three letter athlete. He was voted MVP in baseball as well as MVP and captain of both the football and basketball teams at East Mecklenburg High School. The 6'4" young man kept in shape in the summers working for a building contractor and attending football practice in the afternoons. Football was Ed's love, and he turned down a Morehead Scholarship to UNC for a full football scholarship to Duke. Ed enjoyed recalling the excitement of his days when the Duke Blue Devils won ACC victories, a Cotton Bowl Game in1961, and then the College World Series in baseball.

Ed graduated from Duke with a B.S. degree in Engineering, and then earned his M.B.A. at UNC-CH with a top of the class ranking. He later excelled in Advanced Management courses at Harvard Business School. His entire business career was spent with W.R. Grace & Co., primarily in Greenville, South Carolina, New York and Boston. He had various management assignments in research, manufacturing, sales and business development. He became President and held CEO positions worldwide, supervising a large staff, which required extensive travel around the world. Ed was revered for his leadership skills, his kindness to others and his generous spirit and sense of humor, warm smiles, and hugs.

During his years in Greenville, Ed served as co-chair of the Greenville SC Development Board, was responsible for, and remembered for recruiting national and foreign investments that resulted in a broader base of job opportunities in the Greenville-Spartanburg area. He was the founding president of the Greenville SC Junior Achievement, trustee of the United Way, a Rotarian, member of the Board of the American Cancer Society, Chairman of the Greensville County Planning Board, advisory board member of the Duke/Fuqua School of Business, and he was selected as Boss of the Year by the National Secretaries Association in 1972.

After a distinguished career, Ed retired in 1998 and settled in Greensboro with his son, Chip (Edwin Lee Chesnutt, III). To symbolize his transition from corporate life, Ed recalled with humor that he removed his watch and never wore one again. He quickly became a beloved member of the Greensboro community. He was an active member at Greensboro's First Presbyterian Church and the Young Men's Bible Class. He was also a devoted supporter of the Salvation Army and served as a bell ringer each Christmas season.

Ed became a regular at Brown Gardiner Drug Store for breakfast, and it was at the breakfast counter where he met the love of his life, Kay (Gracie) Holland Chesnutt. With a broad grin, Ed would say that Kay eventually introduced him to the entire city of Greensboro. "Going out with Kay and meeting people was like taking a drink of water from a fire hydrant," he would joke. Kay and Ed were married in 2000, and through their years together, they most enjoyed the company of their many friends and family and travels to their home in Naples, Florida. Their blended family was a close and happy one, sharing many fun times, travel and often spontaneous adventures. Ed said that Kay could make a trip to the grocery store an adventure, and he was always up for it.

A member of the Greensboro Country Club, Ed played golf regularly with the Jester group, and became a regular loyal supporter of Duke Sports often with grandkids in tow.

Surviving Ed are his wife, Kay Holland Chesnutt; sons, Edwin L. Chesnutt Ill, Trescott Wright Tisdale (Tracy), Alexander Holland Tisdale (Beth), grandchildren, Boyd, Wright, Ansley, Reece and FinleyTisdale; sister, Judith C. Ross (Richard!; sister-in-law, Millie Dawn and niece Amanda Dawn; nephew Mark Ross (Kelly); beloved uncle Watson Bell (Jeanne) and cousin Beverly (Paul) Goree, along with many cousins, nephews, and nieces.

A private graveside service will be held for the immediate family only.

In Lieu of flowers, donations to one’s own choice.

Online remembrances may be made through


No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.


Edwin "Ed" Lee Chesnutt

have a memory or condolence to add?

Wayne Hodges

January 21, 2021


Please accept our sincere condolences.
It is a privilege to read about a life well lived. I am glad two special people found each other and that you had that precious time together.

Prayers for all.

Jane Martin

January 18, 2021


it was unbelievable what an impact Ed made on everyone in his life by the comments made in his memory. He obviously was an unbelievably high achieving person during his entire life and it was great to read that he retired early enough for you to really enjoy each other during these 20 years together. I am thinking of you because I know you are grieving such a special man and husband. You were the perfect person for Ed. Miss not seeing you. With love to all. God Bless you all.

Pete Little

January 17, 2021

I went to high school with Ed, and then wound up at Duke with him. He was a civil engineer, I was mechanical. He was a year ahead of me, and a Phi Delt, I was a KA, so we only saw each other occasionally. But he was a great guy, and I admired him. We really got together in later years at the "Rhino Gatherings", where I met his much better half, Kay. :)
Ed knew the Lord as his Savior, so we know where he is. I look forward to following him once again.
Cyndy and I love you, Kay, and will be praying for you.
Stay healthy,
Pete and Cyndy

Jane Phillips Scanlan

January 17, 2021

I have many wonderful memories of Ed as we attended Jr. High and high school together. He was loved, appreciated, and admired by all our classmates. I know he will be greatly missed by Kay, his family, and all those who knew him.

Carl and Leigh Seager

January 17, 2021

Dearest Kay,
Carl and I share your sorrow in Ed’s passing. Carl thoroughly enjoyed you all each morning at Brown Gardner. Many people have terrific memories of you and Ed.
We send our warmest thoughts to each one of you.
Carl and Leigh

Gay DuPree

January 17, 2021

Chip I just read your dad’s wonderful obituary. I wanted you to know that you are in my thoughts and prayers. I will always remember the fun times that you and our Frank had together. Lots of good memories of you and your family. You had a great father. Take care.
Gay DuPree

Irveta Shouse

January 17, 2021

I am so sorry to read about Ed’s passing. He was a dear friend and we really missed him in our lives when he left Greenville. Such a kind soul. I’m going to write you a long letter in care of the mortuary as I don’t have your mailing address We actually met you one December evening at Chophouse. Y’all were on your way home from visiting family in Atlanta, I believe.I’ll save the rest for a letter.

Irveta and Coleman Shouse
Greenville, SC

Allyson Phillips

January 17, 2021

Kay and family, you have been in my thoughts and prayers this week. I remember meeting Ed on your dog walks at Ascot Point and thinking how happy I was for the the two of you.
I miss seeing you and your precious grandchildren but I know our paths will cross again as they have over the last 20 years. I will continue to pray for your peace and comfort.

Sherron Doss

January 16, 2021

To Judy and Kay and all who loved Ed, my heartfelt condolences. I loved Ed, also, as he, his mom, Mary Ellen and his sister, Judy were part of my family since I was a newborn. Ed and my brother, Chuck, were best friends in their youth and remained connected still. Ed was a special person. Rest high.

Ed Turlington

January 16, 2021

It was great to get to know Ed. He always had a warm and welcoming smile, very genuine. I will miss him...