Chief Master Sergeant Bobby Max Edwards, Retired
On Saturday, June 1, 2019, at the age of 88, Chief Master Sergeant Bobby Max Edwards, retired, peacefully passed away surrounded by his loving family. Bob was born on Eagle Creek on July 26, 1930 to the late Ralph Franklin and Georgia Pearl Rogers Edwards. He is preceded in death by his childhood sweetheart and wife of 57 years, Melba Jeane Barnes Edwards, his brothers John William (JW) and Nicky Edwards, and his two beloved grandchildren, Samantha and Jesse Justice.
Bob had a distinguished military career serving in the United States Air Force. He began his career training as an Aerial Gunner. The introduction of the B-52 aircraft, which required an individual gunner be no taller than 5’8” complicated things given that Bob’s height was 6’4”. Bob then began working in other areas of Intelligence, Reconnaissance, and Training.
He served within the continental US, as well as England, Korea, Laos, and Thailand. He also served in multiple theaters during the Cold War. During his 30-year career he received numerous honors including Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Force Commendation (4), Good Conduct Medal (6), National Defense Service Medal, Presidential Unit Citation, UN Service Medal, Air Force Longevity Service Award, Korean Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, and many more.
Upon retirement, he and his wife resettled in the Sweetwater community that they both loved. It is there that he began pursuing his two passions, genealogy and family. During his retirement days you could find him in his basement den pouring over census records, sitting with his wife by the picture window bird watching, raising a garden, sharing his family history, enjoying Melba’s cooking and family gatherings, or spinning stories for his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Bob was a member and past president of the Garland Family Research Association and gained many friends through that organization.
He is lovingly survived by his son Robert Michael Edwards (Sharon) of Robbinsville and daughters, Deborah Elaine Edwards Justice (Ronnie) of Cullowhee, North Carolina, and Jeane Michelle Edwards Shiplet (Matt), also of Robbinsville, and his brother Maurice Edwards (Joyce) of Franklin, Tennessee. He was a devoted grandfather and great-grandfather to Desire’ Carter (Kevin) and their children, Samantha and Thomas, Robert Edwards (Kimberly) and their daughter, Novi, Melba Janine Edwards, Misty Ware (Mark) and their sons, Christopher and Nathanael, Kimberly Tipton (Jerry) and their children, Danielle, Elijah, Emma, and Teagan, and Terra Shiplet and her son Tanner. The family will receive friends from 5-7 p.m. Thursday, June 6, 2019 at the Townson-Smith Chapel, with the service to follow. Rev. Shane Danner and Dr. Lloyd Bailey will officiate. Committal Services will be held at 1:00 p.m. Friday, June 7, 2019 at the Rice Family Cemetery. Townson-Smith Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements. An online register is available at www.townson-smithfuneralhome.com.