Robert L. Edwards ’43 died on October 6, 2015, in Fresno, California.
(The following appeared in the Mail Tribune, October 16, 2015):
Robert Laughlin Edwards passed away October 6, 2015 at his home in Fresno, Calif.
He was born in Portland, Maine, November 1, 1919, the son of Don Jerome and Hilda Laughlin Edwards. He devoted much of his life to writing, as a United States Naval communicator, a journalist, and a public relations practitioner.
Edwards graduated from Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine in 1943. During World War II he served as communications officer on board the amphibious transport USS Crescent City which landed Marines from Bougainville to Okinawa in the Pacific.
Separated from naval service in 1946, he became assistant editor of the weekly Brunswick Recordin Maine. He moved to Oregon in 1947, joining the Ashland Daily Tidings as city editor. For the next several years he was also the volunteer publicity writer for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.
When the Korean War broke out, the Navy recalled him as communications officer for the USS Montrose, another amphibious transport. After fulfilling that duty in Korea for a year, he returned to Ashland in 1951 as Director of Information and instructor in English at Southern Oregon College (now Southern Oregon University.)
Edwards was a member of the first class in the Public Relations Society of America to pass its new professional accreditation exam in 1965. Twenty years later the Society presented him with its annual National Award for Public Service.
He first joined the Rotary Club in 1946 in Brunswick, Maine, and later became a long-time newsletter editor, most recently writing the Ashland, Ore. Rotary Club’s weekly, Keyway. He was a benefactor of both The Rotary Foundation and the Ashland Rotary Foundation.
Edwards married fellow Southern Oregon College instructor Charleen Kring in 1952, and the following year, the couple moved to Corning, New York, where he was a member of the public relations department of Corning Glass Works for the next 32 years. During that time, he also served as president of Corning Rotary Club, the Corning Chamber of Commerce, and United Way.
Upon his retirement in 1985, he and his wife returned to Ashland, later becoming pioneer residents of the Mountain Meadows community. Edwards continued his membership in the local Rotary chapter, served as secretary of the Ashland Community Hospital Foundation, and was a member of the First Presbyterian Church.
He is survived by sons, David of Claremont, Calif., Duncan of Salt Lake City, Utah, and Steven of Fresno, Calif.; his daughter, Eileen Denne of Little Rock, Ark.; 14 grandchildren and one great-granddaughter. He was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Charleen and his daughter, Susan.