On February 3, 2022, June Elise Settle Edwards, a resident of Haywood County for nearly seven decades, died peacefully in the ninety-sixth year of her age at her home in Waynesville following a long period of declining health.
Born in Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania on October 16, 1926, she was the first child of Samuel Brittain Settle and LaVantia Pearl Elliott. Except for a brief period of residence in Columbus, Ohio while her father, a civil engineer, was working at the Wright engine plant during the Second World War, June spent her childhood and youth in Parkersburg, West Virginia. After graduation from high school, she entered Berea College in Berea, Kentucky, where in 1947 she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree. Ever after, she was a grateful and active Berea alumna.
Although she had hoped to go to Germany after the war to assist in the reconstruction of the defeated country’s Nazi-corrupted youth education system, June’s plans changed when she met returning veteran James Roy Edwards. They married in 1947 and the union endured for over 69 years, ending only with his death in 2016.
Following her husband’s graduation from Berea in 1948, June lived for a couple of years in his hometown of Barnardsville while he taught classes for other returning veterans. It was there in 1949 that their first son, Douglas, was born, but, sadly, he died at birth.
June moved to Raleigh with James in 1950 where she did secretarial work while he earned a master’s degree in Animal Science at North Carolina State. In 1953, they moved to Haywood County, where he had agreed to supervise dairy operations at what is now the Mountain Research Station. Here it was that a son, Samuel, and a daughter, Katharine were born to them.
Until her health began to fail, June was very active in Waynesville’s First United Methodist Church, where for years she sang in the Chancel Choir. She occasionally served as a substitute teacher in the public school system, acted as a Girl Scout Leader in Waynesville for several years, was a member of the AAUW, and was among the first women admitted to the Waynesville Lion’s Club. For a number of years, she worked in the office of the late Dr. James K. Stringfield. Always, however, her main focus was the care of her husband and children.
June is survived by a son, Samuel Edwards (Kay); a daughter, Kathi Lowery (Pete); grandsons, David Edwards (Jenna), Cory Lowery, and Joel Lowery (Emily); granddaughter, Rachel Edwards; three great-grandchildren; sisters, Carol Ruth Thompson, of Proctorville, Ohio, and Mary Virgina Lowther (Dewayne), of Buckhannon, West Virginia; four nieces and two nephews.
Funeral services will be held at 1:00 p.m. on Tuesday, February 8, 2022, at First United Methodist Church of Waynesville with Reverend George Thompson and Reverend Keith Turman officiating. Burial will follow at Garrett-Hillcrest Memorial Park. The family will receive friends from 5:00 until 7:00 p.m. on Monday, February 7, 2022, at Wells Funeral Home of Waynesville. Funeral Services for Mrs. Edwards will also be livestreamed through the FUMC of Waynesville's YouTube link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Hbi7PhDfb0 .
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Haywood Hospice & Palliative Care, 13 Haywood Office Park, Suite 107, Waynesville, NC 28785, Berea College, CPO 2216, Berea, KY 40404 or Berea.salsalabs.org, or First United Methodist Church of Waynesville, PO Box 838, Waynesville, NC 28786.
The care of Mrs. Edwards has been entrusted to Wells Funeral Home of Waynesville.