William Edwards Jr., also known as “Biggie” was a deacon at Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church.
Edwards died July 20, 2012, at the Philadelphia Protestant Home. He was 85.
He was born March 9, 1927, in Philadelphia. He was one of six children born to the late Vernita and William Edwards Sr.
Edwards was educated in the Philadelphia Public School system and upon graduation from Murrell Dobbins High School, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy. He was honorably discharged in 1946.
After the service, Edwards entered the job market. He worked for a while as a postal transportation clerk, traveling the railroad system. He later worked at the Naval Air Technical Services Facility and retired in 1983 after 35 years of service.
He was raised in church. He loved the Lord and was baptized at an early age. He was known for his fervent prayers and as the family patriarch was often called upon to pray at family functions and gatherings. He was ordained a deacon at Mount Zion Baptist Church of Germantown and would later serve in that capacity at Enon Tabernacle.
Edwards loved being a deacon. He took his responsibilities seriously. The congregants in the House of Timothy knew that he would be there for them to visit in illness, would provide encouragement during trials and comfort in death. He served faithfully until his illness incapacitated him. He was a member of the Male Chorus at Enon and he served as an armor bearer for Pastor Alyn Waller.
He married Isabel Bradley on February 16, 1963.This union nurtured five children, Dwight (Carolyn), Denise Wilson, Dawn Chamberlain (Thomas), Daphne Floyd (Anthony) and William III (Demetre). He loved his family and encouraged his children to always do their very best. He taught them the value of hard work and determination.
One of his favorite sayings was, “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.”
He was active in his community, organizing block cleanups and parties. He stressed the importance of community involvement and the individual vote. He made it a point to connect with legislators that represented his area and encouraged everyone to do the same. He was an avid viewer of the pundits on CNN and MSNBC and he was elated to have been a witness to the election of the first Black president.
Edwards battled his health challenges until the end.
“As a fighter, he believed in God's healing power but he still felt that you had a responsibility to do your part,” his family said.
He researched physicians, medications and treatments in an effort to improve the quality of his life. He often commented that the life you lead determines who and what will follow.
Edwards was preceded in death by his sisters, Sophie Kennerly and Lillamae Ragland.
In addition to his wife and children, Edwards is survived by his brother, Daniel Edwards; sisters, Julia (Dorothy) Walker and Iola Miller; grandchildren, Michelle Wilson-Berry (Andrew), Michael Edwards (Reaona), Stephen Edwards, Dawn Flewellyn (Major), Amber, Tiffany and Thomas Chamberlain, Anthony and Avery Floyd, Ellissa and William Edwards; great-grandchildren, Jordan, Monet, Sydney, Taylor, Cameron, Major and Gavin; nephew/son, Thomas Kennerly, a friend/son, Jeffrey Ellison and other relatives and friends.
Services will be held July 30 at Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church, 230 West Coulter Street. Viewing is at 8 a.m. Services will follow at 10 a.m. Burial will be in George Washington Memorial Park, 80 Stenton Avenue, Plymouth Meeting.
Deborah L. Wilson Funeral Home handled the arrangements.