On Tuesday, October 6, 2020, Randall Stokes Edwards, 103 passed away peacefully in his home, in Lakeland, Florida, surrounded by his loving family.
Randall Stokes Edwards was born on a ranch near Pine Bluffs, Wyoming on July 23, 1917. He received his primary education in country schools in Wyoming, Nebraska, Colorado and Kansas. He graduated Ruskin High School in Ruskin, NE in 1935, and promptly joined the Navy.
After 20 years in the Navy – including 2 ½ years in a Japanese slave labor camp in China, and one additional year as a Japanese POW in Mukden Manchuria, China — he retired from the Navy in 1955.
Following his Navy career, Randall enrolled at the University of Florida in 1955, and earned his Bachelor of Science and Engineering in 1958. Randall then began his second career as an engineer at the Atomic Energy Commission Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, working for Union Carbide, the Laboratory’s major contractor. Together with his team, Mr. Edwards had the distinguished honor to participate in one of the first attempts to create a fusion power reactor. The work is ongoing to this day.
After 24 years working as an engineer, Randall retired from Oak Ridge National Laboratory and moved to Lakeland in 1988, to be near his son, and to enjoy his retirement, and here he remained for the rest of his life. But he wasn’t done with work yet. Mr. Edwards launched his third career in a voluntary roll working with the American Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor and the American Ex-POWs, and helped. thousands of veterans to obtain their well-deserved benefits from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.
In 1946, Randall married Mary (deceased 2006), and together they had one son: James Randall Edwards.
In 2008 he married Rose Mary Meredith, with whom he lived until his death. Randall is survived by his son, J. Randall Edwards and his wife Norma, his grandson William, his granddaughter Diana, and his great granddaughter Abigail. He is survived also by his wife Rose Mary and her three daughters: Rosemary Meredith, Eilene Leibensperger and Kathleen Meredith, a step-grandson, step-granddaughter, two step-great granddaughters, one step-great great granddaughter, two nephews, and four nieces. He was preceded in death by his two brothers and two sisters.
Randall was an avid golfer until the age of 98. From 1988 – 2015 he played golf seven days a week. He loved tending his garden, including an elaborate hydroponic he designed and built. His other passion was travel, leading him to journey to all seven continents, including, at age 96, a trip through the perilous Drake Passage to the Antarctic. Randall celebrated his 100th birthday in July 2017 in the company of all of his family, some former work colleagues, a Navy Honor Guard, and many other admirers and friends.
Randall had an incredible, indomitable spirit, and he will be missed greatly.
Mr. Edwards will be buried Tuesday, October 13, 2020, at 11 A.M. with military honors to be performed graveside at Florida National Cemetery, Bushnell, Florida.
Masks are required by the cemetery for those attending Mr. Edwards burial.
Condolences may be sent to the family at Heath Funeral Chapel.