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Edwin Rea succumbs

PLYMOUTH – A true gentleman in the world of sports lost his battle with cancer Sunday morning.

Edwin Rea, an assistant coach for the state champion Lawrence Academy softball team, died at his home Sunday after a long battle with the disease.

&uot;What a gentleman he was,&uot; Lawrence Athletic Director John Quinn said. &uot;He was a class individual and we will miss him.

&uot;He was an inspiration,&uot; he continued. &uot;I think those great qualities he possessed are absolutely reflected in his daughter, Lauren.&uot;

In May, Rea left the hospital to be a part of Lawrence’s second consecutive North Carolina Independent School Athletic Association 1-A softball championship. He kept the scorebook for the entire three-game stint it took for Lawrence to secure the title on May 14.

&uot;Him being there made a lot of difference,&uot; Lawrence skipper Truitt Johnston said. &uot;It’s one of those situations where I just don’t think it would have all happened if he hadn’t been there.

&uot;The girls respected him and they thought so much of them,&uot; Johnston said.

The loss on the softball field isn’t the only one Johnston felt. He called Rea &uot;a very close friend&uot; and said he would miss him dearly.

Former Lawrence softball coach and Athletic Director Gennia Winslow was equally moved by Rea’s loss.

&uot;It’s hard to put into words,&uot; Winslow said. &uot;He was such a great person. I consider it an honor to have worked with him on the softball field. He knew so much, even more than people realized.

&uot;Edwin was a great help for me and a great friend,&uot; Winslow added.

A senior who graduated last year, Catherine Outten played for Rea and was there for both state championships.

&uot;Edwin meant a lot to me,&uot; Outten said. &uot;He was Truitt’s alter-ego in a lot of ways.

&uot;He knew when to be serious and when to have fun. He was hard on me sometimes and expected a lot out of us which made us better.&uot;

Stewart White, whose daughter Jodi was a member of the state champion Lady Warriors, said he was saddened by Rea’s loss.

&uot;I don’t remember a finer man,&uot; White said. &uot;He’ll be missed.&uot;

Rea was a retired Millwright and Roll Grinder with Weyerhaeuser Corporation.

Rea is survived by his wife, Susan, and his daughter, Lauren. Also surviving are his parents, John Edwin Rea Sr. and Garland Spruill Rea as well as a sister, Linda R. Blume, and two brothers Robin Rea and Derrick Rea. He is also survived by a team of Lady Warriors and their coaches who will treasure his memory.

Visitation will be held at First Baptist Church in Plymouth from 7-9 p.m. tonight. Funeral services are scheduled for 2 p.m. Wednesday.