The Family of  Dr. Lottie Payne Edwards

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On Sunday, September 15, 2013, Dr. Lottie Payne Edwards departed peacefully from this life to be with the Lord after an extended period of illness in Virginia.  She was born on March 16, 1941, the second of four children born to the late Deacon Walter A. Payne and Theola R. Payne of Charlottesville, Virginia.  One brother, Walter Payne, Jr. preceded her in death.

     Lottie attended Jackson P. Burley High School, where she was voted Homecoming Queen, and served as a majorette with the high school marching band.  Upon completion of high school, she attended Virginia State University, formerly Virginia State College, where she earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Business Education. She continued her passion for education by earning a Masters and a Doctorate degree in the field of Vocational Business Education from the University of Pittsburgh, in Pittsburgh, PA, in 1974 and 1989 respectively. 

     Lottie’s professional career started with a position in Cleveland, Ohio, where she worked for the Cleveland Ohio Job Corps.  She later moved to Los Angeles, California to join the Los Angeles Job Corps.  In career moves with her husband, she also taught for the Gateway Public School system in Monroeville, PA, and in Cleveland, OH.  She later became the Founding Executive Director of the Mount Ararat Baptist Church Community Activity Center in Pittsburgh, PA, from which she retired.  Shortly after her retirement, the Executive Board of the Mount Ararat Community Center honored Lottie by establishing an annual community event which bestowed the Dr. Lottie P. Edwards Award upon chosen and outstanding leaders in the Community Service arena of Greater Pittsburgh.

     Lottie faithfully served the Lord as a Baptist Deaconess for thirty-two years.  She was ordained a Deaconess at the Mount Ararat Baptist Church in Pittsburgh, PA, and later joined the Diaconate Board of the Mount Zion First African Baptist Church of Charlottesville, VA upon relocating in retirement to her hometown.  She was a proud member of The Charlottesville Chapter of The Links Incorporated, and has been honored for her work in serving as the former Coordinator of the Chapter’s Annual Celebration Brunch honoring the African-American Literary Tradition, and featuring guest authors from the Virginia Festival of the Book. 

     The most important aspect of Lottie’s life is the fact that she married her college sweetheart, Earnest J. Edwards of Pamplin, Virginia on July 20, 1963 at Mount Zion First African Baptist Church.  Her husband is internationally known as the retired Senior Vice President & Controller of the aluminum company, ALCOA.  In addition, her husband is the former Rector of the Virginia State University Board of Visitors.  Lottie and her husband have been married for over 50 years.  Their union remains their life’s greatest achievement.

     Despite enduring rheumatoid arthritis for most of her adult life, Lottie remained optimistic, and active in her faith and devotion to God.  She at all times maintained a cheerful disposition, and always conveyed more interest in others than she gave to herself.  Lottie loved life, and was an example of a Godly woman full of grace, humility and patience.  Being raised in the Baptist church tradition, she was a tremendous spiritual influence to her family and many others. 

       Lottie is survived by her devoted husband, Earnest Edwards, three children, Mark Edwards and wife, Terresita Edwards, Deborah Rutherford and husband, Ralph Rutherford, III and Delores Edwards;  eight grandchildren, Morgan Edwards, Taylor Edwards, Mark Edwards, Jr., Carmen Edwards, Camille Edwards, Andrew Rutherford, Christina Rutherford and Aric Rutherford;  in addition, two sisters, Gloria Womack and June Payne; a maternal aunt,  Laura R. Robinson; and a host of extended family members and friends.

     Funeral services will be held at 11 A.M. on Saturday, September 21, 2013 at Mount Zion First African Baptist Church, 105 Lankford Ave., with Dr. Alvin Edwards officiating.  Interment will follow at Holly Memorial Gardens.

     The family will receive friends on Friday evening from 6 to 8 at Mount Zion First African Baptist Church.

     In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that any monetary donations be made in her honor, to the Building Fund of the Mount Zion First African Baptist Church, in Charlottesville, VA.  The address is 105 Lankford Avenue, Charlottesville, VA 22902.

J. F. Bell Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

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