Ralph Donald Edwards, 88, of Franklinton, passed away Thursday, June 19, 2014. Ralph was born Sept. 2, 1925, in Marshville, N.C., to Katie and Roland Edwards. After serving in the Army Air Corps in WWII, he received a degree in agronomy from N.C. State University and worked in various management capacities for the N.C. Department of Correction, retiring as Director of Prisons with 32 years of service under nine governors.
Thus began his second career in farming and as a cattle producer. He developed the first stand of Tifton 44 Bermuda grass in N.C. and became the leading certified producer and planter of this grass for land use and forage. Ralph was the first breeder to import the South Devon breed of cattle into N.C. and at the time of his herd dispersal in 2004, owned one of the leading purebred South Devon herds in the U.S. He served 10 years on the national board for the North American South Devon Association and as its president for two years.
In recognition of his public service, he was awarded the Order of the Long Leaf Pine in 2009.
Survivors include his wife, Jenny McGhee Edwards; daughters, Wanda Edwards (Ken Jahr), of Charlotte, and Susan Meisenhelder (Tom), of Huntington Beach, Calif.; stepsons, Jason Hall (Stephanie), of Wake Forest, and Brandon Hall, of South Korea; five grandchildren, two step-grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.
A memorial service will be held Saturday, June 28, at 2 p.m., at Franklinton Baptist Church in Franklinton. Visitation with the family will be one hour prior to the service in the church sanctuary.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Franklinton Baptist Church, P.O. Box 477, Franklinton, N.C. 27525. Online condolences may be sent to the family at brightfunerals.com.
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