Larry G. Edwards remembered as a hard worker with a big heart
COLUMBIA — MU alumnus Larry Edwards was a family man that loved nature and valued hard work. His family members said he had a great heart and believed in finding happiness in the little things in life.
Mr. Edwards was the director of MU campus facilities for 43 years, retiring as assistant vice chancellor for facilities. He went on to volunteer with the Reynolds Alumni Center and MU Botanical Garden Advisory Committee after retirement in 2005. He also came up with the idea for lighting the dome on Jesse Hall.
“He always said you’ve got to appreciate life and what you have,” his daughter Kimberly Shopper said. “That was my dad, he just loved life and enjoyed everything about it.”
Larry Gale Edwards died Monday, Sept. 19, 2011, of liver cancer. He was 70.
Mr. Edwards was born Dec. 9, 1940, in McKittrick to Robert J. and Edith M. (Snedeker) Edwards.
As a child he attended a one-room school. He graduated from Hermann High School in 1959 and moved to Columbia.. He enrolled at MU, where he studied to become an engineer.
He married his high school sweetheart, Judith A. Heberle, in 1962. The two worked hard to put Mr. Edwards through school. He graduated with a bachelor of science degree in civil engineering in 1967.
“It was very important to Dad to get an education. None of his family ever attended college,” Shopper said.
Family members described Mr. Edwards as very hardworking and nicknamed him "Tinker," for his varied interests.
He came from humble beginnings and was determined to make a life for himself. Shopper explained that her father began work when he was only 9 years old on a dairy farm.
Judith Edwards described her husband as someone truly special. He was involved with the university and worked each day to make campus a better place. She said MU was his life.
After more than 50 years of living in Columbia, Mr. Edwards turned co-workers into best friends and created an extremely close family.
LeRoy Bealmear worked for Mr. Edwards for 37 years, and the two continued a friendship after both retired.
"It's rare when your boss is your best friend," Bealmear said. "He was a great individual. Larry never had an enemy in the world. He got along with with everybody."
Shopper, an only child, cherishes everything her dad did for her two sons, Jared and Cody.
“He just made being a grandkid special," Shopper said. "From building a birdhouse, to doing crafts and making them a tree house, he was a busy man but always took time to put them first. They will always remember the time they spent with their grandpa.”
Family members said Mr. Edwards was loved by many and did everything he could to lend a helping hand to anyone in need.
"Larry always looked for the good in everyone," Bealmear said. "He was a big man with a bigger heart."
"He was the best husband I could have ever asked for," Judith Edwards said. "He was a strong man and that carried on to the end of his life."
Mr. Edwards was a member of Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church.
Mr. Edwards is survived by his wife Judith A. Edwards of Columbia; daughter, Kimberly A. Shopper, her husband James; two grandsons, Jared Shopper and Cody Shopper of Kansas City; a brother, Rick A. Edwards of Owensville; two sisters-in-law, Janice Ziegler of Gravois Mills and Oleta Edwards of Danville; and several nieces and nephews.
His parents, and three brothers, Garry Edwards, his twin, and Lowell Edwards and Jerry Edwards, died earlier.
A funeral Mass will be held at 2 p.m. on Thursday at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church. Visitation will follow from 3 to 7 p.m. Memorials may be given to the MU Botanical Gardens, c/o Landscape Department, 900 E. Stadium, Columbia MO 65202.
Condolences may be posted at memorialfuneralhomeandcemetery.com.