Friends, family and colleagues gather to bid farewell to Fremont's former mayor

2011-09-03T03:10:00Z Friends, family and colleagues gather to bid farewell to Fremont's former mayorTracy Buffington/Executive Editor Fremont Tribune
September 03, 2011 3:10 am  • 

Some of the people who best knew "Skip" Edwards shared some final thoughts before saying goodbye to the man who was Fremont's mayor for 22 years.

"If somebody asked me to describe Skip, I would describe him (with three words) courage, patriotic, leader," Steve Tellatin, the city's former deputy police chief, during the funeral service Friday at the Church of the Nazarene.

Edwards, who served a total of 33 years in public office, died Tuesday at Methodist Hospital in Omaha. He was 72.

Friends and colleagues have recalled his many attributes this week. During the service, Tellatin and Derril Marshall, the general manager of the Fremont Department of Utilities, spoke of those.

Family members also spoke during the service, which was officiated by the Revs. Tom Shaw and Elmer Murdoch.

Members of the Fremont Police served as a color guard with many other members of the department attending. Fremont firefighters, city council members and personnel also attended.

Tellatin called Edwards a true leader.

"Unless you've been around city government, I think maybe any government, good leadership is sometimes difficult to come by," Tellatin said. "Good leaders have to be very courageous at times, as Skip was. I think his courage is most admirable.

"As mayor, he had to make some very difficult decisions," he added. "It took a lot of courage, conviction and faith. I was proud of him for that."

Edwards also was a patriot, Tellatin said.

As commander of the 809th Quartermaster Battalion, Tellatin remembered how Edwards went to each soldier - even the 15 or so that weren't from Fremont - during a deployment ceremony in 2003. That touched each of them, Tellatin said.

"Patriotism is something that doesn't necessarily require someone to stand up and wave the flag or wear symbols of patriotism," he said. "Patriotism is probably best based on actions, and Skip lived those actions."

Marshall recalled how Edwards felt about the city.

"You didn't have to visit with Skip long to see he loved Fremont," Marshall said.

Edwards kept the pulse of the city, first as the owner of Edwards Oil Co., a gas station at Eighth and Broad streets, and then by stopping into coffee shops and cafes to visit with residents, Marshall said.

The former mayor communicated in person or on the phone.

"Skip did not do emails," Marshall said.

But it was his listening skills that stood out, he added.

"As an employee, Skip had a way of making you feel comfortable and confident," Marshall said.

After the service, the procession passed by the Fremont Fire Department where firefighters saluted the longtime mayor.

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