Coping with loss

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 20, 2002

Family deals with unexpected tragedy

By Dale James/ Selma Times – Journal

Robert Edwards got the call around 4 a.m. Tuesday.

The trailer where his brother, Cecil Edwards, lived with his wife, Patricia, and their son, Cecil Jr., was on fire.

Edwards jumped in his car and drove to the Tyler community as quickly as he could. &uot;I was hoping for the best,&uot; he recalled, &uot;but it just wasn’t to be.&uot;

When Edwards finally arrived, his heart sank.

Robert Edwards, 51, has worked in the electrical business for more than 30 years, the last 14 with Selma’s Rountree Electric Supply Co. For 22 years he and his brother also sang together in a gospel music group.

Cecil shared lead singer duties with Patricia and played bass guitar. Robert managed the group.

The group played as far away as Tuskegee, Columbus, Ga., and Pensacola. They often performed at charity events.

The two brothers had performed with other groups before they decided to cast their lots together. They called the group Cecil Edwards and the Gospel Messengers.

Events of recent years had given Cecil Edwards ample cause to turn to that upbringing as a source of strength.

Four years ago their mother passed away. Shortly before that, a beloved uncle died in a house fire.

Then, after 20 years of working for furniture manufacturer Pilliod of Alabama, Cecil lost his job 2 1/2 years ago when the company went out of business.

Although Cecil had not found steady employment, he continued to work any job he could find to make ends meet. &uot;He was a hustler,&uot; Edwards said. &uot;We were raised to believe that God will make a way out of no way.&uot;

His wife worked part-time delivering mail. Just recently she had secured a position as a substitute teacher at Southside. Things were beginning to look up.

His voice trails off.

The funeral of Cecil Edwards, Patricia Edwards and Cecil Edwards Jr. will be at 1 p.m. Saturday at Tabernacle of Praise, 850 Woodrow Ave., with the Rev. Effell Williams Sr. officiating.

An Edwards family fund has been set up at Regions Bank to help defray expenses. Donations are also being taken at Rountree Electric Supply, 2613 Citizens Parkway.