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Bertie County leader succumbs

LEWISTON-WOODVILLE – Bertie County lost one of its most prized treasures here Sunday.

Charles Henry &uot;C.H.&uot; Edwards, a former Bertie Commissioner who served 10 terms in office, died at his home in Lewiston-Woodville. He was 81.

&uot;C.H. served this county mighty well,&uot; said lifelong friend and retired State Senator J.J. &uot;Monk&uot; Harrington. &uot;Not only did he serve this county, but he was a faithful servant to his church (First Baptist of Lewiston). He was just an outstanding person that will be greatly missed.&uot;

Edwards’ career as a County Commissioner is legendary. He was appointed to the job in 1961 and never missed a beat over the next 40 years, serving faithfully until his retirement from public office in 2000.

&uot;The only reason I’m a County Commissioner today is because C.H. Edwards decided to retire,&uot; said current county leader Norman Cherry Sr. &uot;It was Mr. Edwards who got me interested in politics in the first place. We talked a lot and when he told me that he wasn’t going to run for office again, he encouraged me to give it a try.&uot;

Cherry and his fellow Commissioners honored Edwards prior to the start of yesterday’s (Monday) meeting by observing a moment of silence.

&uot;C.H. Edwards served this county and its citizens diligently for 40 years,&uot; current Board Chairman Rick Harrell said. &uot;He will be greatly missed.&uot;

Former Bertie County Manager John Ed Whitehurst said Edwards was addicted to serving the people of Bertie County.

&uot;I think the citizens of Bertie County have lost probably one of their most formidable leaders because he devoted his life to them,&uot; Whitehurst noted.

&uot;He, of course, worked in Hertford County as well, serving on the Data Board. The people of Hertford County will attest to his hard work as well.&uot;

One of Edwards’ very close friends, former Lewiston Mayor Charles Vaughan, said Edwards was the type of man that people only had kind words to say.

&uot;C.H. meant a lot to me,&uot; Vaughan said. &uot;We were neighbors, we were friends and we went to church together. He first served his country, then his community and then his county.&uot;

Edwards graduated from Lewiston-Woodville High School in May of 1940 and entered the Norfolk Naval Apprentice School, graduating with honors in 1944. Upon graduation he entered the Naval Reserve and served during World War II until June, 1946.

Following the war, Edwards returned home and served 30 years as Secretary and Treasurer of Harrington Mfg. Co. Inc. along with his duties as a County Commissioner.

In 2003, the North Carolina Department of Transportation paid Edwards the highest tribute, naming a portion of NC 11 in his honor.

Funeral services will be held at Lewiston Baptist Church at 11 a.m. on Thursday. Burial, with military honors, will follow at Hoggard Memorial Cemetery, Lewiston-Woodville.