William Harry “Bill” Edwards, 86, lifelong Minot resident, died Friday, May 16, 2014, in a Minot hospital surrounded by his loving family.
Bill was born March 11, 1928, in Minot to Walter and Bessie (Faris) Edwards. He was reared and educated in Minot and graduated from Minot High School in 1946. While attending high school he was a member of the football and basketball teams and served as captain of both. In 2005 he was inducted in to the Minot High School Athletic Hall of Fame. Bill played American Legion and amateur baseball before it became a school sport. Most of his playing time was as the pitcher for the Minot Advertisers. He continued to be active in baseball and then softball leagues for many summers. For many years, Bill enjoyed playing racquetball and handball and at one point earned the Handball State Championship.
After his high school graduation, he served in the Army from 1946 to 1948 and was stationed in Japan. Following his honorable discharge, he returned to Minot where he continued his education at Minot State College and graduated with a bachelor of science degree in secondary education in 1952. He was selected for Who’s Who in College and University Students. While attending Minot State from 1948 to 1952, he played football and golf. He was also a member of Mu Sigma Tau fraternity.
Bill married Celesta Ratzlaff on Nov. 21, 1951, at First Presbyterian Church in Minot. That day marked the beginning of 62 years of best friends sharing life’s journey.
After graduation, he taught and coached at Underwood for a year and then at Minot High School for 17 years, where he taught high school social studies and swimming, was an assistant coach for football, basketball and track, and served as MHS assistant principal. Bill earned his master’s degree in education from the University of North Dakota.
He returned to Minot State in 1969 as an assistant to President Gordon B. Olson. He became registrar in 1975, a position he held until his retirement. During his tenure at Minot State, he was the Beaver Booster Secretary-Treasurer and member from 1969 to present, served as the Faculty Representative to determine all athletic eligibility, MSU Athletic Hall of Fame Selection Committee member representing MSU Faculty/Staff, Student Association Advisor, Student Affairs and Welfare Committee, and Alumni Association and MSU Board of Regents Board Member. He was also very involved with the Upper Midwest Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers and was an honorary member at the time of his passing. Bill was instrumental in initiating the first computer registration system at Minot State, and later served on the development team for a similar process for a statewide system to manage student records.
Bill retired in 1990 and he and Celesta continued to make their home in Minot with many days being spent at their cottage on Lake Metigoshe. Bill and Celesta began their time together at Lake Metigoshe in 1957. He found himself drawn to being near the water and for 18 years, they enjoyed time in Panama City Beach, Fla., for a month each of those winters. This love of the water may have begun when he was the manager of the old Roosevelt Swimming Pool during the 1950s.
Bill was a member of First Presbyterian Church and served as a trustee. He was a long-time member of the Elks, Eagles, VFW, American Legion, Minot Y’s Men’s Club, and a board member and president of the Minot School Employees Federal Credit Union. He was recognized with a lifetime membership for the Parent Teacher Association. Bill very much enjoyed his years of volunteer work for the Norsk Hostfest. He and Celesta especially enjoyed attending area sporting and school events.
Through the years, gardening, short trips to Medora and other destinations, and reading occupied much of his free time. Bill always enjoyed his visits with friends of all ages, keeping up with their lives and sharing memories from the past. Times spent with family, or just sitting on the deck enjoying a meal or the view, were some of his favorite moments.
Bill’s loving family includes his wife of 62 years, Celesta; children, Shawneen (Terry) Voiles, of Minot, and Jared Edwards, of Yorkton, Saskatchewan; grandchild, Cort Voiles, of Minot; sister, Marguerite Chambers, of Minot; niece, Judy Knapp, of Eastport, ME; and several cousins.
Bill was preceded in death by his parents; sister, Kathryn White; nephew, Jim White.
Celebration of the Life of Bill Edwards: Thursday, May 29, 2014, at 11 a.m., in First Presbyterian Church, Minot.
Interment will be in Rosehill Memorial Park, Minot.
Memorial book signing: Wednesday, May 28, from 2 to 5 p.m., in Thomas Family Funeral Home, Minot.
Memorials are preferred to Metigoshe Ministries, First Presbyterian Church, c/o Mark Freuh, Minot State University or to an organization of the donor’s choice.
Those wishing to sign the online memorial register or share memories and condolences are invited to use the expressions of sympathy section at (www.thomasfamilyfuneralhome.com).