Historic Homes
Halifax County, Virginia

Woodbourne - Home of James Easley Edmunds, III

Woodbourne April 13, 2003

        Born and raised in Halifax County, "Jimmy" Edmunds attended public schools, then Virginia Episcopal School and later the University of Virginia, where he graduated from the College of Arts and Sciences in 1938 and the University Law School in 1942. He was captain of the University basketball team and a three-letter man on the baseball team. He was president of O.D.K., a national leadership society.

        Mr. Edmunds was a founding member of Halifax Regional Hospital, where he was a trustee for 50 years. As a board member and past president of the hospital, he was instrumental in the recruitment of doctors, the expansion of the hospital and its overall growth.

        "Mr. Edmunds took great pride in our hospital and he was a great ambassador," said Chris A. Lumsden, the hospital's chief executive. "He provided a vision for the future . . .He helped bring new doctors and new specialties to this area."

        He served as a member of the Halifax County Board of Supervisors from 1967 to 1983. During his tenure, major public facilities - the senior high school and vocational center, the Halifax County Farm Center and library, and the Halifax County - South Boston Industrial Park - were constructed.

        In 1983, the board appointed Mr. Edmunds to lead the county's opposition to a proposal to mine uranium in nearby Pittsylvania County. His efforts helped to create the Halifax chapter of Southside Concerned Citizens organization, which defeated the project. An avid sportsman and an advocate for protection of natural resources, he was a founding member of the Halifax Sportsman's Club.

        Mr. Edmunds was the recipient of many honors and awards, including the Halifax County Distinguished Citizen's Award, the Sertoma Club's Service to Mankind Award, and the Wildlife Conservation Award. He was inducted into the Halifax County-South Boston Sports Hall of Fame in 1985.

        "My father wanted to make a difference by staying put in his hometown," said daughter, Emma C. Edmunds, of Charlottesville.

        Whether hunting for quail with his friends and family or competing on the tennis courts, Mr. Edmunds was a man of tremendous energy, said longtime friend, Bill Greer.

        "Despite his age, he was still going and doing and still interested in what was going on in the legal profession and in the community. He was a leader in so many things and I admired him so much. He never wanted to quit anything."

        Greer had to persuade him to step down from the board of the Halifax-South Boston Sports Hall of Fame so that Mr. Edmunds, a former U. Va. basketball and baseball player, could be nominated for membership. He was inducted in 1995.

James "Jimmy" Easley Edmunds, III

Lavinia "Vin" Winston Edmunds

Words of Rememberance
March 20, 2003
In Thanksgiving For the Life of
James Easley Edmunds, III
October 21, 1915 - March 17, 2003

James E. Edmunds, III, was a man who loved his family, his home, his friends, and his community.

He never wanted to be in the big city.

He never yearned to jet off on an exotic vacation. Even family trips to the beach were undertaken with reluctance.

He didn't envy another man's wealth, or wish for a more exalted position.

He treasured the plot of land where he was born, the community he knew, the people he met in the corners and crannies of the county and on the Courthouse Square.

"Come and see me as soon as you can and stay as long as you can, " he liked to say, referring to his home, those acres on the edge of town where he grew up and lived all his life.

He loved to get in his truck to tour the grounds, admiring his holly trees, dogwood and redbud, tasting the peaches and apples in the orchard and the admiring of the green boxwood against the white fences.

Why would I want to go anywhere else?" he would ask. "I have it all right here."

His home was always open, a home to many, those who learned their forehands on his clay court, or first rode a horse in his fields, or just spent an afternoon reading comics in his hammock.

But he was at home not only at 1050 Mountain Road but throughout the county. Sitting on front porches and back. Delivering peaches in his truck. Quail hunting in the fields where he out-walked younger men. On the Courthouse Square, taking on big cases and small, advising someone on school, helping someone else find a job.

He was a doer, a competitor, a leader, and a tenacious and untiring fighter for what he believed in. (He was a member of the Seven Society, a secret organization at the University of Virginia, which inducts members for leadership and service without concern for recognition. Members are publicly acknowledged only at their deaths, when a banner is sent to the funeral and the chapel bells at U. Va. toll seven time. At 2 p.m. on the day of his funeral the chapel bells tolled for him.)

He was a creator, a man who made the places and the things he touched more beautiful. He taught his children high standards - to value honesty and friendship over material wealth and to love family and the land around us.

The gifts he share were gifts of love. Even during the last stage of his life he managed to extend a hand to a friend, kiss a pretty girl, and tell each of his children and grandchildren that he loved them.

Written by daughters:

Em Edmunds
Lavinia "Bebo" Edmunds Hannaway
Anne Edmunds Sutphin

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