On behalf of the Wentworth Military Academy Museum and its Museum Members, we join the many former staff, faculty and alumni of Wentworth Military Academy in mourning the passing of former WMA Superintendent, coach, alumnus, and staff member, Lieutenant Colonel John Edwards.

While our hearts are heavy today, they are also filled with gratitude. John devoted a substantial portion of his life to serving Wentworth, spending 2 years as a cadet, and twenty-two years as a member of the staff.

John Edwards attended Wentworth for junior college from 1950-1952 and went on to graduate from the University of Missouri with a Bachelor of Science in 1954. In 1955, he became a teacher and coach at Henrietta High School. He joined the United States Army one year later. From 1956 to 1976, John served in the Army while stationed in Texas, Alaska, Colorado, Indiana, Washington, D.C., Vietnam and Okinawa. During his tenure in the Army, he worked as an Adjutant General Corps Sports Director, an Assistant Army Service Officer, a Special Service Officer, an Administrative Officer, a Recreational Services Officer, an Adjutant General, the Director of Armed Forces Professional Entertainment Office, Army Project Officer for the Presidential Reception honoring Vietnam Veterans, Director of United States Army Sports Program, Officer in Charge of US Armed Forces basketball team, and the Army representative to the 1976 Olympics. He retired from active duty in 1976 with the Legion of Merit award, a Bronze Star, the Meritorious Service Medal (with Oak Leaf Cluster), the Army Air Medal, the Army Commendation Medal (with two Oak Leaf Clusters), the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal, and the Vietnam Campaign Medal.

Following his retirement from active duty, John returned to his hometown of Lexington to serve at Wentworth. During his twenty-two-year Wentworth career, John served as Operations Officer, Special Events Coordinator, Project Officer, Athletic Director, basketball coach, Alumni Director, Adult Education Director, Booster Club Director and Interim Superintendent from September 1990 to May 1991. He was a member of the Lexington Lions Club, Lafayette Regional Health Center Board of Trustees, Lexington Area Chamber of Commerce Board (past president), Lafayette County Health Department Board, and Member of Turners. He received the Melvin Jones Fellow Award, the Lion of the Year Award, and the Lexington Outstanding Leadership Award. He retired from Wentworth in 1998 and was subsequently inducted into the Wentworth Athletic Hall of Fame, received the Bobby Gadt Outstanding Alumnus Award, and served as Vice President of the Wentworth Alumni Council.

To know John was to know his devotion to his wife Marilou, his family, and Wentworth. Accordingly, the Executive Committee of the Wentworth Military Academy Museum does hereby, and by unanimous decree, announce the following:

  1. LTC John Edwards’s Superintendent’s portrait located in the Museum’s Hall of Honor shall be lowered, draped in black cloth, and placed in the WMA Museum’s front window facing Main Street for a period of seven (7) days. Thereafter, LTC John Edwards’s portrait shall be returned to its place of prominence in the Hall of Honor, where it shall continue to be draped in black cloth until November 19, 2019.
  2. The Wentworth Military Academy 2020 Homecoming shall be dedicated, in-part, to the life and service to Wentworth of LTC John Edwards.
  3. The Executive Committee authorizes a stand-alone “Tolling of the Bell Ceremony” in honor of LTC John Edwards to take place at 5:00pm, on Saturday, October 3, 2020, during the annual Homecoming Reunion. It is further ORDERED that The Wentworth Bell shall toll 24 times, once for every year of John’s attendance at, and service to, the Academy. Former staff and faculty members of Wentworth are invited to gather at the Museum on that date and at that hour to participate in this tribute and assist in ringing the bell in John’s memory.

John Edwards’s funeral service will take place on Sunday, October 27, 2019, at 2:00pm at the Highlands United Methodist Church in Bella Vista, Arkansas.

Lieutenant Colonel John Edwards, your time has now come to “fall-in!” - - - and join the formation on that glorious quadrangle in the sky - - - where one day all Old Boys of Wentworth Military Academy will reunite in a Kingdom high above Lexington. May your service to and love of Wentworth continue to serve as an everlasting example to all of us who continue to strive to...


George J. Hittner, Chairman
James L. Lowman, Vice Chairman
Jennifer Teichman Kerr, Secretary
Scott Hefner, Treasurer
Ted Butherus, Member At-Large
William S. Ratcliffe, Member At-Large
Monte Lauderdale, Member At-Large
Tags: Featured Museum Alumni

WMA Museum

published 10/23/2019