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Obituary: Edward Lee Caldwell

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Edward Lee Caldwell, loving husband, father, and grandfather, went to be with the Lord on Wednesday, May 31, 2023, at his home in Mineral Springs, Ark.

Edward was born on May 6, 1938, to Frances “Buddy” Caldwell and Ova Elizabeth Taylor. He was born in Columbus, Ark., where he lived until his father was drafted into World War II. During the war, Edward lived with his mother and her extended family in the Texarkana area. After the war ended, Frances brought Edward to live with him on Edward’s grandparents’ farm in Columbus. They raised livestock, grew crops, and continued to live frugally. During his childhood, he often played with his cousins and the local children. It seemed like getting into mischief was a favorite pasttime — a pasttime in which his cousin, Teddy, was more than happy to oblige him. Edward would often tell stories about his childhood in Columbus; those stories were meant to remind us that all trials and tribulations can be overcome with hard work and willingness to get it done. A sense of humor helps too, of course.

In time, Edward was blessed with a wonderful stepmother, JoAnna, a stepbrother, Phillip, a little sister, Joan and a little brother, Mike. Edward adored the new additions to his family and continued to hold them near to his heart for the rest of his life. Words cannot express the amount of pride and love Edward had for Phillip, Joan, and Mike.

Edward attended Columbus School until its closure. He then attended Hope High School. From a young age, Edward worked on his grandparents’ farmstead; he also took employment on area farms when help was needed. Edward was a driven, hardworking young man who used his innate stubbornness to help him persevere through life’s trials and tribulations. Unfortunately for him, he would later find that stubbornness to be a genetic trait he passed on to his children and grandchildren.

In the late 1950’s, Edward was introduced to a shy, blue-eyed, intelligent & kindhearted girl named Lavelle Corbell. They fell in love quickly and got married on June 8, 1957. Their first son, Tommy, followed a year later. Their little family was soon joined by James and Wendy. The couple moved their family to Mineral Springs in the 1960s. They spent the rest of their lives there. It is a comfort to know that Edward and Lavelle have finally been reunited in heaven.

Edward was a jack of all trades. He tried his hand at farming, carpentry, and small engine repair. Edward retired from Domtar in 1993. He started his own business, Ed’s Small Engine Repair, soon after retiring. He continued to work on small engines until the early 2000s.

Edward gained the title of “Papa” in the 1980s with the birth of his first grandchild. More grandchildren soon followed. Edward loved each of them dearly. There will forever be the memory of sitting in his lap, eating grapefruit, and listening to Columbus stories. They will never forget the feel of mud between their toes as they helped pick vegetables from the garden or the sound of men’s laughter coming from Papa’s shop. They won’t forget his booming laugh or the way he smelled of aftershave and peppermint candy. No one can ever fill the void that the loss of Papa has left.

At the age of 32, Edward gave his life to the Lord. In the following years, he became an ordained deacon at New Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church. During his many decades as a deacon, Edward made many, many friends. One of his best friends was Mr. Charles Coleman. There was rarely a Sunday or Wednesday that you couldn’t find the two laughing about something or another. A friendship like that of Edward and Charles is rare. Now both of them can sit together in heaven- laughing and catching up on old times.

Edward was preceded in death by his wife of 59 years, Lavelle Corbell-Caldwell, two sons, Thomas “T.C.” Caldwell and Kevin Caldwell; his father, Frances “Buddy” Caldwell; his beloved stepmother, JoAnna Caldwell and his mother, Ova Elizabeth Taylor-Weaver.

He is survived by: one son, James (Sherri) Caldwell of Mineral Springs; one daughter, Wendy (Ricky) Kerns of Mineral Springs; grandchildren Ashley Neal, Dustin Caldwell, Brittany Caldwell, DeAnna Kerns, Erica (R Jay) Hawthorne and step grandson, David Mattox; great-grandchildren Elizabeth, Rowan, Chloe, Cayden, Georgiana, Jayson and Etta Belle, Jade, Alex, Lydia May and Peter; one stepbrother, Phillip (Donna) Russell; one brother, Mike (Kay) Caldwell and one sister, Joan (Marty) Withers, as well as a host of nieces, nephews and friends.

The family would like to extend a special thanks to Dierksen Hospice for their hard work, kindness, compassion and understanding.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be given to New Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church, Shiloh Cemetery, Columbus Cemetery or Life Touch Ministry.

A visitation will be held on Friday night June 2, 2023, from 6-8 p.m. at Nashville Funeral Home.

A graveside service will be held on Saturday, June 3, 2023, at 10 a.m. at Shiloh Cemetery west of Mineral Springs

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