Forest Earl Edwards, 84, of Paola, Kansas, passed away peacefully on Friday November 13, 2020 surrounded by his wife and family at Country Club Estates in Paola, Kansas.
Forest was born on December 16, 1935, on their family farm on Upper Prairie Holler in Macks Creek, Missouri. He was the 7th of the 8 children born to Flossie Campbell Edwards & John Earl Edwards. He grew up in a strong Baptist family and attended The First Baptist Church of Macks Creek and was baptized in the local creek. He attended Macks Creek Schools where they would walk or ride horses to school with his siblings. He graduated from Macks Creek High School in 1953. After graduating high school, he and his sister Dorothy moved to Kansas City & shared an apartment while they looked for work. His first job was at Montgomery Ward in Kansas City, Missouri. He would officially start his career with Delco Battery in September of 1956 where he would end up working until he retired in 1993.
He was drafted into the United States Army in June of 1958. He attended basic training at Ft.Riley, Kansas as part of “The Big Red One.” He was then stationed in Germany. He was in The Army Reserve for 4 years but was not involved in wartime conflict and was honorably discharged in 1964. After his discharge, he returned to Kansas City and through a mutual friend, he met the love of his life, wife Kaye Louise Burlingame. On August 19th, 1961 they eloped and were married at Lavern’s Wedding Chapel in Miami, Oklahoma. Their first home was on Eastern Street in Kansas City, Missouri. A few years later they were able to obtain their farm east of Paola, near the Somerset Community, where they lived & raised their 3 children for 51 years. Forest & Kaye had just celebrated 59 years of marriage this year. It was only in the past seven weeks that they both moved from their family farm to an assisted living facility in Paola, Kansas.
Forest was known by his Delco friends as “Smokey.” His favorite pastime was being on the farm and keeping it in pristine condition. In his younger years he had horses on the family farm where he would teach all three of his kids how to ride a horse. In later years he and Kaye enjoyed traveling & sightseeing to the border states, as well as taking trips to Branson, eating out at Cracker Barrel, and occasionally gambling at the boats in Kansas City. He was known by both family & friends for his sense of humor, unique sayings, and funny jokes. When you were around Forest, you would be sure to be entertained. Forest knew no strangers, he could have anyone laughing within 5 minutes of being around him. Even towards the end, with his weak voice and barely able to speak, he would still be cracking jokes and making others feel special. The young and humble man who was so proud of his Macks Creek heritage, grew into a man who left quite the legacy and left an ache in all of our hearts. The scripture of Job 1:21 resonated with the Edwards family on the day of his passing; as Forest was leaving this world, his great-granddaughter Stella would be making her way into it just a little over four hours after his passing. ‘The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.” Amen.
He was proceeded in death by; his parents John & Flossie Edwards, his siblings Perma Lois & her husband Chester Green, John Burton & his wife Betty Jackson, Ona Ann & her husband Raymond Hanson, Laveta Grace, Dorothy Marie & her husband Harold Gott, William Jessee, and his sister-in-law Gloria Edwards. He is survived by his wife Kaye Edwards; one brother, Victor Lee Edwards and William Jessee’s wife Billie Ruth; his children, Louise Edwards & her husband Jack Johnson, of Paola, Kansas; Gail Gilliland & her fiancée Lee Raleigh, of Lacygne, Kansas; & his son Douglas Edwards & his wife Valerie Edwards of Paola, Kansas. Grandchildren & Great-Grandchildren; Caleb Taylor, his wife Cathy & their three children; Carlee, Carsen, and Caysen of Paola, Kansas; Logan Taylor, his wife Patty & their daughter Palmer, of Olathe, Kansas; Mackenzie McNutt, her husband Cody & their two daughters Tatum and Presley of Paola, Kansas; Savannah Taylor & her fiancée Conner Jones, of Kansas City, Missouri; Mitchell Gilliland & his wife Lexi, of Polusbo, Washington; Mallory Rhynerson , her husband Dalton and their daughter Avery of LaCygne, Kansas; Miles Gilliland of LaCygne, Kansas; Rylie Edwards, Camryn McFarland and their daughter Stella of Paola, Kansas, Adyson Edwards of Paola, Kansas; and Mateo Edwards of Paola, Kansas. He was also survived by a few of his other very important people that the family wanted to mention; “adopted child’, neighbor, & close family friend; Wayne Whiting, his wife Shelly & daughters Shelby,Shay, & Shylar, of Paola, Kansas who considered Forest a ‘second dad”; many of his Delco friends and most notably, “Little Buckaroo”, TL Griffin & his wife of LaCygne, Kansas and “Arkie” Darrell Layton & his wife Jackie of Spring Hill, Kansas. The family would like to give special thanks to all of the staff at Country Club Estates , David Achey, and Ascend Hospice for making his transition both peaceful and comfortable.
The family will be having a celebration of his life with family and close friends on November 27th.