OBITUARY

Thomas Whit Whitfield Edwards

May 5, 1955September 24, 2013

Thomas Whitfield Edwards died in hospice care in Oklahoma City, OK, on Tuesday, September 24, 2013; he was 58. Growing up in an Air Force Family, the son of Jay and Patricia Edwards, Whit was born May 5, 1955 at Lackland Air Force Base, TX. Whit’s love for physical education began at Camp Yocomico, where he taught many the love of sport. Whit graduated from Crossland High School in Temple Hills, MD in 1973, completed a Bachelor’s Degree in Physical Education from the University of Tennessee – Knoxville in 1977, and earned a Master’s Degree in Education from The College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, VA in 1979. Whit played on the Tennessee Rugby Team in college, and he later earned the prestigious honor of playing on the USA Rugby Team – “The Eagles” – during graduate school. In Williamsburg he also met his wife, Rosemary Driver, and they married on September 14, 1979. Whit and Rosie moved to Hahira, GA, where Whit taught and coached basketball at Hahira Middle School, began restoring historic homes, and fathered his three children. After moving to Oklahoma in 1983, Whit continued to coach basketball teams in Oklahoma City, fostering many scholarship recipients over the next 25 years.

Whit continued his childhood passion for history taking a job in 1983 with the Oklahoma Dept. of Tourism as Projects Coordinator, and later became Director of Special Projects with the Oklahoma Historical Society in Oklahoma City, OK, where he worked for 25 years. He built an educational program that brought history to life for thousands of students and adults, and opened the door of history to many others. Whit became an avid re-enactor, involving his whole family in weekend re-enactments across OK and TX, and he quickly established a reputation as an expert horseman and battlefield tactical historian. In fact, Hollywood came calling several times, hiring Whit as an extra for seventeen movies. Whit also made a lasting contribution to the canon of Oklahoma literature with his historical book The Prairie Was On Fire: Eyewitness Accounts of the Civil War in the Indian Territory, a labor of love for his adopted home state. Following his retirement from the Oklahoma Historical Society, Whit took a job in Marshall, TX as the Site Manager of the Starr Family Home, part of the Texas Historical Commission.

Whit was diagnosed with Stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer on August 21, 2013, and he bravely fought the painful disease with the love and support of his family by his side. His family and friends will miss him greatly and will continue to treasure memories of his vibrant life and the multitude of people he inspired. In addition to his wife, Rosie, who lives in Oklahoma City, Whit is survived by his daughter Blair Kersenbrock who lives in Winter Park, FL with her husband Ben and their daughter Cameron, his daughter Haley Uthlaut , who lives in Fort Benning, GA with her husband Dave and their sons Jackson and Caleb, his son Jay who lives in Oklahoma City, his parents Major General (Ret.) Jay and Patricia Edwards from Oklahoma City, his sister Linda McNabb and family from Round Rock, TX, his sister Lisa Reynolds and family from Columbus, OH, his aunt Harriette McClendon from Memphis, TN, and a loving extended family and friends.

Services will be held Saturday, September 28, 2013 at 6:30pm at Westminster Presbyterian Church; 4400 North Shartel Avenue; Oklahoma City, OK 73118.

In lieu of flowers, please make donations to: Pancreatic Cancer Action Network 1500 Rosecrans Avenue, Suite 200, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266 Or use this URL to make a donation online: http://pancan.org/

Services

  • Memorial Service Saturday, September 28, 2013
REMEMBERING

Thomas Whit Whitfield Edwards

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Bob Lambert

January 7, 2014

So sorry to hear of Whit's passing - I'm a former teammate on the William and Mary Rugby Club. I'm so impressed to hear of his accomplishments, my deepest sympathy to his family and close friends.

David Thompson

October 4, 2013

Edwards Family,

I just learned today of Whit's passing. I didn't have contact with Whit in the last five years and that is surely my misfortune. Whit reveled in every waking minute of every day, sharing generously his knowledge and love of his many diverse interests. He appeared to care for those he was mentoring as if they were family.

His basketball instruction skills rivaled those of those of many high school and college level coaches.He taught his players how to think and react rather than just how to run plays. One of his finely honed skills was the art of the sideline tantrum. Those fits of anger were designed not to harm or belittle anyone, but only to get his point across to players or officials. In the few short years I assisted him in coaching we had to replace several coaching clipboards that were broken into pieces in fits of feigned anger. These were events that were worth the price of admission. There are probably still folks in Amarillo today that will recall some of Whit's finer coaching/acting moments.

This is a loss that will leave a void in many lives that Whit touched every day and those that he would have touched in the future.

My condolences to Rosie, Blair, Haley & Jay. You were very fortunate to have such a fine man as a spouse and father. Thank you for sharing him with me and our little basketball group for a brief period.

Carol and Dale Engebretsen

September 30, 2013

May God bless you and your family in this time of sorrow.

Amy Donahue

September 29, 2013

How blessed I am to have known Whit. He will be missed

Aunt Patsy Edwards

September 28, 2013

Dear Blair ~ I was heartbroken to learn of your dad's Homegoing...he was so young. Your mom must be devastated (I can't even imagine) ~ please give her my love. Even though we know we'll see our parents again and that they're not lost to us, the 'missing them here on earth' is the hard part ~ it's like they moved to a remote country and have no cell phone reception...you just can't ask them a question when you need to, or share something sweet or funny that just happened. Uncle Don and I are praying for you and your family, Honey. We love you and trust that the Holy Spirit is being your Comforter as you process through this. Hugs and love ~ Aunt Patsy I Thess 4:13-18

Shel (Hunter) Hunt

September 28, 2013

Rosie, I did not know Whit until I read his obituary. What a beautiful tribute to one as accomplished as your husband. I and my family know Gen & Mrs Jay Edwards. My father, Jay Hunter, felt forever in their debt, as Gen Edwards was responsible for bringing my father back to OKC at the end of his career. My heartfelt condolences go out to you and the Edwards family in your time of loss. I certainly feel a kinship with Whit, Lisa, and Linda as a member of the military kids club. May you and your children rejoice in the joy that Whit brought to all who knew him.

Susan Stepp

September 28, 2013

I was so sorry to hear of Mr. Edward's passing. He and Mrs. Edwards were the kind of parents that teachers love to deal with. Blair, Haley and Jay were the kind of students every teacher/coach wanted. All of the people at Putnam North who knew this family sends their condolences. May God give you the strength you need in this difficult time.

Sheri and Mike McCullah

September 28, 2013

Rosie, no words can ease the pain you feel at this time. Just know that whit was very loved by his friends and will be missed. He made an impression on all he met!

Lawrence Wesson

September 28, 2013

Shakespeare said that life is like that of being on a stage. Whit, you gave a grand performance! You will not be forgotten.

In movies, you were far from being any Extra. In my second movie (Rough Riders) where we met, you left a great lasting impression. What a blessing. A standing ovation to you.

Bill Moore

September 28, 2013

I worked with Whit at the Oklahoma Historical Society while serving as the video producer. I have so many great memories of working with him. His ideas and his passion were evident to anyone who knew him. He made my job easier because of his knowledge of video and the great catalog of work he had accomplished in front of a camera. Whit, my friend, we will miss your smile and your great zest for history.