Skip Edwards, known by some as Wayland but officially as Ernest Wayland Edwards Jr., passed away Thursday, June 6 at age 85. He died peacefully at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Tucson with his two sons, daughter and granddaughter in attendance.
Skip was born in Chanute, Kansas in 1923. He was trained by his father, Ernest Sr., from early childhood in the ways of an electrician, farmer, and oilfield worker. His attentive mother, Flossie, as well as many of the town’s characters was instrumental in shaping his values. Skip remained very much a product of Chanute.
When he finished high school and junior college, World War II was on and Skip enlisted in the Army Air Corps. Because he had asthma, it took attempts at three different recruiters before he was allowed to join up.
He was commissioned a first lieutenant and showed remarkable natural ability as a pilot. His desire was to fly the Air Corps’ fastest bomber, the B-26 Martin Marauder. Skip piloted his beloved B-26, The Pied Piper, on 38 combat missions. In the process of surviving dangerous missions over heavily protected targets in Germany, Skip also developed a lifelong love for his loyal and courageous crew members.
After the war, Skip attended Kansas University, majoring in engineering. At K.U. he met and soon married Rose Nell Curtis of Iola Kansas. Skip and “Rosey” had three children, Jeffrey Scott (Scott), Douglas Curtis (Doug) and Catherine Elizabeth (Cathy).
For most of his working life Skip worked as a petroleum engineer with various companies in numerous Western and Midwestern states. At Continental Oil in California he was project manager over coastal oil installations.
After first retiring to Granite Shoals, Texas, Skip moved to Green Valley, Arizona where he lived with his greatly loved sister, Leigh Walden. He soon became a volunteer docent at the Pima Air Museum in Tucson sharing his stories and always praising the B-26.
Throughout his life Skip demonstrated extraordinary honesty and hard work, always striving to meet his responsibilities. His passions included a fierce love of his country, bass fishing, and all things aviation. He was very self-sacrificing and gentlemanly. Those around him would never know if he was tired, hungry or in pain.
Those who knew him were fond of him and will miss the loyal concern he showed them. They also are better people because of the life he lived.
His wife, Rosey, preceded Skip in death. He is survived by his sister, Leigh Walden of Green Valley, Arizona; son Scott Edwards and wife Devon of Lakeview, Oregon; son Doug Edwards of Snohomish, Washington; daughter Cathy Edwards and husband Stan of Shawnee, Kansas; granddaughter Ammi Rose Smith and husband Chris of Ballston Spa, New York; granddaughter Sarah Joann Kroschel and husband Nicholas of Gates, North Carolina; granddaughter Amanda Joy Edwards of Port Orange Florida; and four great grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers the family requests that donations be made to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of America 3877 N. 7th St., Phoenix, Arizona. Honoring Skip’s request, no services will be held.