Andrew Wardlaw (Ward) Edwards Jr. passed away peacefully on June 12, 2022.
A life-long resident of Polk County, Ward was born on March 12, 1935 in Bartow, Florida to Andrew Wardlaw and Pauline Burright Edwards. He was preceded in death by his parents and three brothers, Jerry Edwards, David Edwards and Jim Edwards.
He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Ann Edwards; daughter, Kim Wilbanks (Jim) of Lakeland, son, Andy Edwards (Kristie) of Niceville; five grandchildren, Jay Wilbanks(Gracyn) of Nashville, Katelyn Foote (Tim) of Birmingham, Andrew Edwards of Orlando, Cecelia and Sophia Edwards of Niceville. He is also survived by his three sisters; Mary Jean Swanson of Kansas, Sallie Blasingame of Lakeland and Polly Manship of Darlington, South Carolina and many nieces and nephews.
Ward graduated from Lakeland High School in 1953, the first class to graduate from the new building on Bartow Highway. He attended Spring Hill College in Mobile, Alabama, Florida Southern College and The University of Florida. He served in the U.S. Coast Guard for four years along with his brothers. He started out as a surveyor for his father’s surveying company but spent the bulk of his career working for Publix Super Markets, primarily as a master baker at Southgate Danish Bakery and Food World at Lake Miriam Square. He also worked in the Produce department and Deli as a Deli Coordinator. After retiring from Publix, he worked for All-American Food Services for several years. He was also a philanthropist, supporting St. Joseph’s School, Lakeland Christian School, Florida Southern College, Florida Baptist Childrens Homes/One More Child, The Salvation Army, Lakeland Regional Health and Bonnet Springs Park. He and his wife, Ann, were both awarded Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters Degrees from Florida Southern College in 2021.
He loved spending time at Anna Maria Island from the time he was a young boy until recently. He also enjoyed the mountains of North Carolina, especially when he was playing golf with his wife and friends. Travel was a favorite pastime when he was younger; ski trips, golf trips, family trips or exploring many different countries with his wife. In the past few years, he mainly enjoyed spending time with friends he has known since his school days. Ward was a member of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church where he also attended elementary school. As a young man, he was in the Jaycee’s, serving as president one year.
A funeral mass will be held at St. Anthony’s Church on Saturday, June 18, 2022 at 11 a.m. with a time of visitation before the service starting at 10:00 AM. The family will welcome guests for a reception at Lone Palm Golf Club following the service. Condolences may be sent to the family at Gentry-Morrison Funeral Homes.
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