FRANKLINTON - Ralph Donald Edwards of Franklinton passed away on Thursday, June 19, 2014. Ralph was born on September 2, 1925 in Marshville, NC to Katie and Roland Edwards. After serving in the Army Air Corps in WW II, he received his degree in Agronomy from NCSU and worked in various management capacities for the NC Department of Corrections, retiring as Director of Prisons with 32 years of service and serving under nine governors.

Thus began his second career in farming and as a cattle producer. He developed the first stand of Tifton 44 Bermuda grass in NC and became the leading certified producer and planter of this grass for land use and forage. Ralph was the first breeder to import the South Devon breed of cattle into NC and at the time of his herd dispersal in 2004, owned one of the leading pure bred South Devon herds in the US. He served 10 years on the National Board for the North American South Devon Association and President for two years.

In recognition of his dedicated public service, Governor Beverly Purdue awarded him the Order of the Long Leaf Pine in 2009.

Survivors include his wife, Jenny McGhee Edwards, daughters Wanda Edwards (Ken Jahr) of Charlotte and Susan Meisenhelder (Tom) of Huntington Beach, CA; stepsons, Jason Hall (Stephanie) of Wake Forest and Brandon Hall of South Korea; 5 grandchildren; 2 step-grandchildren; and 1 great-grandchild.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, June 28, 2014 at 2:00 p.m. at Franklinton Baptist Church in Franklinton. Visitation with the family will be one hour prior to the service in the Church Sanctuary.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Franklinton Baptist Church, P O Box 477, Franklinton, NC 27525 .

A service of Bright Funeral Home & Cremation Center, Wake Forest, NC (919-556-5811)

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