December 1

Obituary for Doug Edwards

By asored

Obituary for Doug Edwards

Obituary quoted from The News Tribune, Tacoma, Washington, November 25th, 2008 12:05 AM

Driven UPS professor lived boldly, inspired many. The best word to describe Doug Edwards is determined. The University of Puget Sound professor was so determined that when
his doctors said he had one year to live because of bone cancer, he stole eight. Whenever the doctors told him about treatment plans, they asked the globe-trotting professor, “How does that fit with your schedule?”

The determination was there even when he was a kid, spending hours learning to juggle because he was told it would make him a better
basketball player.

Edwards, a religion professor at UPS for 21 years, died Saturday evening. He was 58. He is survived by his wife, Mary Lynn, and a brother, a sister, two daughters and a son. Lynn said Monday she was overwhelmed by how many lives Edwards touched. Students, colleagues and friends have been sharing stories of
the professor, who traveled the world for archaeological digs and came home to sing with the Puget Sound Revels.

There was only one way to describe Edwards, Lynn said: “Sheer determination, and his passion. People saw this all the way through
the cancer.” People saw it when, even during harsh treatment, he led archaeological
digs in Israel – in person when he could make the trip, and by teleconference when he couldn’t. People saw it when, though weak from
chemotherapy, he still wanted to sing with the Revels at the Tall Ships festival this year.

“Are you OK?” other singers would ask.

“I’ll be fine once I get my costume on,” he replied.

This summer, Edwards became the first person to lead an archaeological dig via teleconference when he directed a group of students, including his daughter, at a dig at Khirbet Cana. Cana, northwest of Nazareth, is the site of the biblical story of Jesus turning water into wine. The group was digging for clues to see how first-century villages evolved.

In 2006, Edwards was leading a dig and excavation of an ancient synagogue near Cana when Hezbollah launched missiles at nearby Israeli communities. “It is definitely a unique experience,” he said at the time.

Edwards was born in the tiny town of Hardy, Neb. He studied at the University of Nebraska and at Boston University, where he met Lynn,
before taking a job at UPS in 1987. He loved it here, Lynn said. If you can’t live in New England, the Pacific Northwest is just as good, he’d say.

During his years at UPS, Edwards inspired students and coworkers, many of whom are trying to make it back for today’s memorial service or calling in their stories if they can’t. In 1992, Dave Wright walked into Edwards’ class at 8 a.m. on a Monday morning. It was the first class of his freshman year. After taking it,
Wright switched to have Edwards as his adviser, and changed his major and the direction of his life.

“Without Doug, and his role both professionally and personally, I wouldn’t be the professional I am today,” said Wright, now the UPS chaplain.

Wright will lead the 2 p.m. service today at Kilworth Chapel on the UPS campus. A reception at Wyatt Hall will follow the service.
Everyone is invited, but be prepared to stay awhile. There will be a lot of stories to share. “He just loved what he did, he pushed and pushed,” Lynn said. “That defined him. He had a big life.”

Barry Goldstein, a UPS geology professor, had worked with Edwards since 1987, and went on trips with him to Israel. Throughout his work,
Edwards always brought people together. And even though Edwards died young, he lived more than many others, friends said.

“As far as I’m concerned,” Goldstein said, “he lived 150 years.”

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