Jerry W. Edwards, the longtime executive director of the Northeast Texas Child Advocacy Center which serves Hopkins and surrounding counties, died Friday after a short battle with cancer, the center announced.
Services for Edwards, who directed the day-to-day operations of the center since May 1999, are scheduled for 11 a.m. Tuesday at Sand Springs Baptist Church on CR 2330 in Mineola.
“During his tenure as executive director, Edwards fought tirelessly to advance the rights and remedies of the children served by the center,” Kelly W. Cole, NETCAC board president, said in a release. “Procedures have been implemented to ensure the services offered by the NETCAC continue uninterrupted.
“We feel the best way to honor Jerry's memory is to continue in his footsteps and follow the example he set. The NETCAC is full of dedicated staff members who are as passionate about their mission as Jerry was, and together, we will continue to work on behalf of children of the eight counties served by the center,” Cole added.
In addition to championing the rights of children who have been the victims of abuse or neglect, Edwards was active in local and regional government, serving as mayor of the city of Quitman at his death. He had previously served on the Quitman City Council for 13 years, served as president of the Wood County Central Hospital District Board of Directors, Quitman Independent School District board, president of the Wood County Child Protection Board, and he chaired a standing committee with the East Texas Council of Governments.
At the time of his death, Edwards served on the Children's Advocacy Centers of Texas Executive Directors Committee and two child fatality review teams. He was honored by the Wood County Bar Association with the Liberty Bell Award for service to the community in 2001.
Prior to his current position, Edwards was in nonprofit hospital management. He received his bachelor of science degree from East Texas State University in 1975 with post-graduate studies in management.
The family has requested that all memorials be given to Northeast Texas Child Advocacy Center, P.O. Box 484, Winnsboro, Texas 75494.
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