LaNell Edwards had iron for blood and the grace of a queen as she saw through some of the most notable projects in Lakeway’s history.
That determination carried Edwards, 77, through three years full of episodes of cancer, which she ultimately succumbed to Friday.
She made sure to see her responsibilities through to the end, and her drive translated into a litany of accomplishments and friendships in the city that she and her husband, Charles, loved in the 22 years she lived here.
“She was a strong-willed individual, and when she set out to do something, she would see that it was going to be accomplished, and it would get done,” longtime friend and Lakeway neighbor Nona Kilgore said.
Edwards’ accomplishments could fill three lifetimes – she earned a Lakeway Lifetime Achievement Award – but the Lakeway Civic Corp. Meritorious Service Award winner of 2004 was humbled by any recognition.
In a June 18, 2009, article in the Lake Travis View that announced the former Fourth of July Parade chairwoman from 1999-2004 as that year’s grand marshal, Edwards displayed the utmost modesty.
“I was so shocked and honored to be parade marshal,” Edwards said at the time. “I spent years trying to get ‘important’ people to serve as our parade marshal. I never thought anyone would ask me.”
The Texas native met Charles Edwards in seventh grade and dated for seven years before marrying in 1955. She graduated from Troy High School in Troy, Texas as its valedictorian and was offered a four-year scholarship to Rice University.
After a year at Mary Hardin-Baylor, she attended Baylor University, but her husband’s military career took them to bases in Germany and across the United States.
Edwards’ volunteer work began in 1955 in Army Officer’s Wives Clubs as she served in every elected office from President to Ways and Means Chairman.
She resumed her studies and earned a bachelor of science degree in home economics in 1970 in Northern Virginia as Charles was assigned to the Pentagon.
Edwards then started as a realtor and broker what would become a career that spanned 20 years during which she was consistently in the top 100 producers of the 15,000-member Northern Virginia Board of Realtors.
She bought a Re/Max franchise in 1983 that she sold in late 1990 when the couple retired to Lakeway.
Louisiana transplants Nona and Ray Kilgore were among the first to meet the Edwardses as both couples were the “new kids on the block” in Lakeway. Nona and LaNell participated in several local clubs and groups together, and Ray served as treasurer on Charles’ successful mayoral campaign.
“She was determined to do everything the best way she could,” Nona Kilgore said. “Any endeavor that she undertook she did an excellent job. She wanted to do for others.”
Edwards served on Lakeway’s City Council from 1995-99, was president of the Women’s Club of Greater Lakeway from 1996-97 and was mayor pro tem from 1998-99.
“She was just so happy to be elected and to serve,” Kilgore said.
Her service extended to even more clubs as president of the Lakeway Ladies 9 Hole Golf Association in 1994 and president of the Lakeway/Hills Republican Women in 1998.
She chaired the second annual Lake Travis Republican Women Golf Tournament in 2005 and The Lakeway Church as a trustee in from 2000-02 where she was a member for more than 20 years. In 2003, the city appointed her to its ethics committee.
She and Charles also served on the Patriot Fund Committee that raised money to purchase iBot wheel chairs for disabled veterans.
“They always worked together for the betterment of Lakeway,” Kilgore said of the couple. Rather than try to run the show, “they just wanted to be there to help.”
Edwards’ service continued in 2010 as president of Seton Associates of Lakeway.
“She was a fine, fine individual — one you could depend on for anything,” Kilgore said. “I am certainly going to miss her as a friend.”
Joann Anderson, another Lakeway resident who instantly took to LaNell when she moved to the city, said she was saddened by the loss.
“We remained very close and have shared a lot together,” Anderson wrote in an email. “I will miss her tremendously, and her passing will leave a huge void in my life.”
A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. today at Weed-Corley-Fish Event Center at 411 RM 620 S., in Lakeway. A graveside service will be held in the Columbaria area of the Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery in San Antonio at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials be made to The Lakeway Church, 2203 Lakeway Blvd., or Hospice of the Hills, 11719 Bee Cave Road, Suite 100, Bee Cave, Texas 78738.
We welcome your comments on our stories but will publish only those that do not violate our commenting guidelines