David Edwards (1947-2019) and His Music
David inherited his love for music from his parents, who hailed from Appalachian Southwest Virginia, where music flows throughout work, worship, fun … all of life. Following his two great loves, spirituality and music, David created songs with religious themes and songs that celebrate the sacredness of all life … a child’s wonder and delight, people gathered in prayer and working together for the good of the world, the suffering of people and the earth that calls us to respond in love, justice, and compassion, the delicate grandeur of the creation, the longings of the heart. This is the scope of David’s music.
In the early 1970s, while he was working at Boston Children’s Hospital Medical Center as an orderly, fulfilling two years of alternative service as a Conscientious Objector to the military, David began writing songs. Writing and performing became a second vocation as David then entered seminary and afterwards began serving as a minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).
In the years since then, David wrote folk songs, songs for children, hymns, spiritual songs, and settings of the Psalms and other scripture. Due in large part to his wife Kaye’s influence, out of her ministry on behalf of children, David was increasingly interested in using music with, and writing music for, children. In the 1990s, David taught in an artist-in-the-schools program in Amherst County, Virginia. He worked in a rural elementary school, using U.S. folk songs to teach singing, geography, history, and many things about life.
From 2003 to 2016, David served as minister, and was a Covenant Member, of the Church of the Covenant, United Church of Christ / Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), in Lynchburg, Virginia. There, he was part of a small community of people committed to their own spiritual growth and to various ministries in the city and within the community itself.
David retired from professional ministry in January 2016, though he remained a Community Member of the Church of the Covenant. He lived with his wife Kaye in the village of Loretto, Kentucky, near the Sisters of Loretto Motherhouse. David and Kaye were Co-Members of the Sisters of Loretto Community. In retirement, David continued to work in the area of music and worship, and writing.
David Livingston Edwards was born in Roanoke, Virginia, on December 29, 1947 to Rubye and Barnard Edwards, both now deceased. He is survived by his wife, Kaye, two children, Shelley Edwards (Tim Ketter), and Kent Edwards, two grandchildren, Arabella Ketter and Christopher Custers; sisters, Carol Edwards and Sylvia Mill along with Sylvia’s husband, children, and grandchildren.
David graduated from Lynchburg College, Virginia and from Lexington Theological Seminary, Lexington, Kentucky. He served churches in Kentucky, Virginia, and Indiana. He and Kaye would have celebrated 50 years of marriage in December 2019.
A kinder, more peace-loving man would be hard to find. He adored his family. He loved fishing and singing (especially with children,) hiking the trails of the Blue Ridge Mountains, taking walks in the woods, and swimming in the ocean. He cherished quiet time alone, reading and studying scripture, exploring the sacred writings of other religions, writing and composing music, and sitting to reflect and think. In the evenings, he enjoyed drinking a Manhattan and listening to classical music.
Because of his deep commitment to the teaching of Jesus, he became a pacifist and a conscientious objector to all violence and war. During the time of the Vietnam War, he did two years of required alternative service to the draft by working as an orderly on the cardiac/surgical unit of Boston Children’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. Though David contributed in many ways to what is good in this world, he considered his work as a conscientious objector to be the most important contribution of his life.
The cancer that took his life on March 4, 2019 did not take his loving, gentle spirit. He lives in our hearts. He lives through his commitment to peace and justice for all. He lives through his music and his writing.
Two services of celebration for the life of David L. Edwards were held. The first was on Saturday, May 11, 2019, 1:30 pm at the Sisters of Loretto Motherhouse Chapel. The second was on Saturday, July 27, 2019, 1:30 pm at The University of Lynchburg Chapel.