It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our mother, Lila Jo Kent Edwards. While we mourn her death, we take comfort in her reunion with Edgar, our father and her husband of 60 years, and her beloved parents, Georgia Clark and William Odes Kent, as well as the legacy she left us — a life filled with abundant love, laughter and the blessings of friendship.
Mama was born on Aug. 8, 1936, in Enterprise, Alabama. She spent an idyllic youth and young adulthood running the streets of Shawmut (now known as Valley, Alabama) where she made lifelong friends and experienced some of her fondest memories including living life on “the circle” from the softball pitcher’s mound to dancing in the hall above “the stores.” Road trips to Elba, Shady Grove and other family origins in the south Alabama environs were another special reminiscence, especially visits to her maternal aunt’s oﬃce in the Coﬀee County Court House. During her high school years when she was honored as Miss Valley High and on to Auburn University where she enjoyed sisterhood in Alpha Omicron Pi, mama was loved and admired by classmates of both sexes and made friendships that lasted her lifetime. Athletic throughout her life, mama was an enthusiastic recreational tennis player and later took up golf which provided a whole new group of friends as well as an abundance of happy memories at Stillwaters, Saugahatchee, Moore’s Mill and on golf excursions with daddy.
Mama wore many diﬀerent hats during her lifetime. In addition to the ones connected with her family, she was also an administrative assistant in school, church and medical facilities, a Girl Scout troop leader, and always, a dear friend. Sometimes she acquired special names — Princess Fairy, Ji Lo and most recently and important – Mema to her grand- and great-grandchildren. The common threads running through each of these attributes were these — love and a seemingly never-ending ‘joie de vivre’. Mama loved babies, animals, beautiful music, laughter, dancing, game playing, reading, seeing new places, learning new things and her friends. One of her favorite responses to looming issues was “I’ll worry about that tomorrow.” For these and the many other great lessons of life she passed on to us, we are indebted.
Mama is survived by her three daughters, Laura Edwards Byrd, Jamie Edwards Condon (Mike), and Jo Ellen Edwards James. She was greatly blessed with ten grandchildren and five great-grandchildren: Martha Anne Byrd (Omar Shalaby), Peter Edwards, Charles Fouad, and John Byrd Shalaby; Bennett Edwards Byrd and Emma Laura Byrd; Benjamin Michael Condon (Allie), Zachary Michael and Chase Austin Condon, Catherine Clark Condon and James William Hughes Condon and his fiance, Madeline Belt; Mary Margaret James Favrot (Parker), William Cooper James, Jr., Sigmon Lunceford James and Angus Edwards James. In addition, her brother William Clark “Sonny” Kent, his wife Barbara, who mama loved like a sister, and their family including Kelly, Stacy and Jimbo, their spouses, children and grandchildren, one of whom shares her name, and numerous extended relations.
We are eternally grateful to Tonya Heard and her fine sons who showered mama with the greatest love and care imaginable and who mama loved as a second family. Heartfelt gratitude is also extended to mama’s innumerable friends and neighbors who filled her life with love, games, activity and companionship.
Services were held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 6, in the Fellowship Hall at the First United Methodist Church of Opelika with visitation following. In lieu of flowers, we might suggest “Immeasurably More” at FUMC, St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital or Wounded Warriors but please feel free to choose your own cause, organization or method of remembrance.