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Heartfelt condolences to the family.
I met Joe Edward through his wife Sara and indirectly through his local daughters Catherine and Sharon--all very warm and caring people.
I got to know Mr Edwards from a former employer & he quickly became one of my "favorites" to talk to and to laugh with. He and Sara were an absolute delight and I dearly loved them both! I send my most sincere condolences to the family for you have lost a wonderful man. Blessings, Stephanie
I am so grateful for the way that God blessed our lives and so many others through Joe Edwards! I vividly remember introducing him as the owner of Edwards Baking Company before he spoke to our men’s breakfast in Atlanta. He thanked me for my kind introduction and then said, “I need to make one correction however. I am not the owner of Edwards Baking Company. God is the owner! I am simply the manager. From some people that would have been false modesty or some sort of platitude. When Joe said it, it was the honest truth! He put that belief into practice over and over again making business decisions he believed would honor Jesus. He worked extremely hard, was greatly blessed, tremendously generous and remained humble! I will continue to tell my family and friends facets of his story that deeply impacted mine. I look forward to seeing him again!
To Mike ,Sherry. And all the family .So sorry for your loss .May God comfort you in this very sad time in your life .I really miss seeing you both .I have great memories and think of you often .All my love Audrey
Hank and Beth Williams
Condolences for the entire Edwards family. Our prayers are with you and may your grief be buffered by the love and memories you shared over Joe's lifetime. God Bless you all.
I have known David and Ellen for years and new vaguely of David's connection to the Edwards pie family. Unfortunately I never met his father. That is clearly my loss and now can never be rectified. David, I wish for you and all your family peace from the god your father so thankfully followed. I do know from experience that there's never a right time to lose your father. May you hold on to all the memories of love and faithfulness that your father has left you.
Thomas Joel Edwards
Thomas Joel (Joe) Edwards, of Amelia Island, went to be with his Lord on September 17, 2022. He was predeceased by his loving wife, Sara Mankin Edwards. Joe was born on June 12, 1936 to the late Thomas Harold Edwards and Ann Edwards-Allen. As a boy growing up in Atlanta, Georgia, he loved going with his dad and brother, Ron, to the Atlanta Crackers baseball games on Ponce de Leon or walking to Madison Theater to see a 12¢ movie with the quarter he earned from mowing the lawn. He also spent countless hours working in his parents’ small retail bakery, Edwards Pastry Shop.
Joe attended University of Georgia until he dropped out to marry his childhood sweetheart Sara on July 4th, 1956. Together, they embarked on a lifetime together marked by love and adventure. Soon after marrying, Joe and Sara welcomed five children in quick succession raising their family in Douglasville, Georgia and later St. Simons Island. Joe and Sara had a love that stood the test of time and served as an example to the generations that followed. In the twenty-one months since Sara’s passing, Joe has missed her every day and looked forward to the day he would be able to join her at home with the Lord.
Joe was a visionary and the ultimate idea man. As Joe began taking over leadership roles at his father’s bakery, his innovative ideas helped the small retail bakery grow to the largest privately owned pie company in the United States, Edwards Baking Company. By 1968, Edwards Baking Company had their frozen pies in grocery stores across the country. Recognizing that sometimes people don’t want a whole pie, but just a slice, Joe brought together a team to design and patent the process and packaging for the frozen pie slice. He sold these slices in grocery stores and Burger Kings across the nation.
Joe loved the Lord and had a personal relationship with him. Giving the credit to his heavenly father for the success of Edwards Baking Company, in 1973, the company began imprinting scripture and inspirational messages on the bottom of each pie pan in the belief that it should be more than just a pie container. Additionally, together Joe and Sara personally shared the love of their Lord with others by giving of their time and money. At the height of the bakery’s busyness and raising teenagers, they started The Gathering on St. Simons Island for local youth to learn about Christ. Their legacy continues as The Gathering continues to meet on St. Simons Island close to forty-five years later. They were also generous philanthropists supporting Christian based organizations through the Christopher Edwards Foundation. The money given through this foundation allowed thousands of people all over the world to come to know Christ.
In 1991, Joe and Sara sold Edwards Baking Company. However, his business days were not behind him. In his “retirement,” Joe’s entrepreneurial spirit continued. Over the years, he and Sara opened several businesses including a retail store, plant nursery, and art gallery. They also owned and managed several commercial properties in Highlands, Charleston, and Fernandina Beach.
Joe was a loving family man who passed on his business acumen, love of the Lord, and many ideas to his five children and thirteen grandchildren. He loved nothing more than sitting down with his children and grandchildren to talk about what the Lord was teaching them, discuss their dreams for the future, and providing them with an endless supply of ideas on how to take their plans to the next level. These conversations could last for hours and would often be followed up with a phone call a few days later with another idea.
Joe will be remembered as a true Southern gentleman who loved and led his family well. He started every meal by ordering dessert first. He was an avid reader and movie watcher and frequently shared his favorites with others. Joe and Sara shared many adventures traveling around the world, but their favorite place was their home in Highlands, NC, known as the Pie Lodge. Joe had a large personality and an endless supply of stories. Even in his last days, he spent his time speaking blessings over his children and grandchildren and praising the Lord.
He is loved and will be missed by so many, none more than his children: daughter, Julie (Sam) Tidwell of Douglasville, Georgia; daughter, Catherine Harbin of Fernandina Beach, Florida; son, Mike (Sherri) Edwards of Charleston, South Carolina; daughter, Sharon Edwards of Fernandina Beach, Florida; and son David (Ellen) Edwards of Amelia Island, Florida. His legacy will continue in his grandchildren: Michelle Frazer, Brian Harbin, Katie Ludlam, Chandler Tidwell, Tyler Tidwell, Andy Edwards, Josh Edwards, SaraJo Basile, Savanna Lucas, Chase Harris, Joey Harris, Colby Harris, and GraceAnn Harris. His stories will be shared with his 13 + 1 on the way great-grandchildren. He will be missed by his brother, Ron Edwards, and his sister-in-love, MaryEllen Payne, along with many much-loved nieces and nephews.
Anyone wanting to make a donation in his name, please do so at Christian Children’s Home and School | Wears Valley Ranch (wvr.org), a ministry that was dear to his heart or the Community Hospice & Palliative Care | Florida Hospice & Palliative Care Association (floridahospices.org). We are forever thankful for the Warner Hospice staff, who showed such compassion and care to our entire family.
Funeral services will be private.