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JOAN CAVILL EDWARDS
- Born in London, England in 1918, the daughter of
daughter of the late William Cavill and Louise Mae Harriss Cavill; moved to New Orleans, La. at
the age of 4
- Started singing with a jazz band at the age of 13;
started traveling and performing at the age of 17
- Met husband, James Edwards in Pittsburgh, Pa. James
Edwards was a native of Huntington, W. Va. and the couple moved to
Huntington shortly after their marriage.
- Edwards had 3 stepchildren from her husbandís first
marriage: the late Charles Edwards; Susan E. Drake and Jean C. Ripley, both
- James Edwards led National Mattress Company (Namaco),
which was established by his father. He also had a stable of thoroughbred
racehorses and several racetracks, including Fairmont Park in southern
Illinois and Waterford Park in Chester, W.Va.
- James Edwards died in 1991, when the couple had been
married 54 years. He bequeathed $1 million to the Marshall University
School of Medicine and $16 million to Cabell Huntington Hospital for an
adult cancer center, among other charitable donations.
- About a year later, Joan C. Edwards supplemented those
gifts with an additional contribution to the Fine and Performing Arts Center
project. It was the first in a series of more than $20 million in gifts to
the School of Medicine, the athletic department and the fine arts programs.
- In August of 2002, a comprehensive cancer center for
Huntington moved years closer to reality with the creation of the Edwards
Foundation. The foundation was formalized Aug. 28 during a ceremony at the
Marshall University Medical Center, when Joan C. Edwards signed an agreement
making more than $28 million immediately available for development and
construction of the Edwards Comprehensive Cancer Center. With her signature,
she also made an irrevocable gift of an additional $16 million for future
use. At the ceremony, John E. Jenkins Jr., a trustee of the James Edwards
Marital Trust and an attorney for Mrs. Edwards, said he had been informed
the gift was the largest personal charitable contribution in the history of
the state. The Edwards Comprehensive Cancer Center opened in early 2006.
- Marshall University honored Edwards a number of times
for her years of unending devotion and generosity to the school.
- The Performing Arts Center was given her name, and
the name of the Jomie Jazz Center reflected both her and her husbandís
- The Marshall School of Medicine was named the Joan
C. Edwards School of Medicine in 2000, becoming the first medical school
named for a woman.
- The football field was named James Edwards field,
in honor of her late husband. In 2003, the stadium was renamed Joan C.
- Joan C. Edwards received the John Marshall Medal
for Civic Responsibility from the university in 1995.
- Joan C. Edwards received an honorary Doctor of
Humane Letters degree from the university in 1996.
- She was inducted into Marshallís Lewis College of
Business Hall of Fame in 1999
- She was made an honorary alumna of the School of
Medicine in 2000
Photo (Credit: Rick Lee)
Funeral Photo (May