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He graduated from Mars Hill High School in 1938, and Mars Hill College in 1940. He then attended High Point College, where he graduated with honors in 1947.At High Point, he was a three-sport letterman and co-captain of the football team.
Edwards graduated from East Tennessee State University with a master's degree in education in 1947. He then started his career in education at Mars Hill College in 1947, where he was assistant football coach and head basketball and track coach. He left Mars Hill after 12 years to become the principal of Marshall High School in 1959. In 1963, he was appointed superintendent of Madison County Schools, where he served until his retirement in 1989. He was the longest-serving superintendent in the state when he retired.
He served as president of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association during 1986-87 and later received a Distinguished Service Award from the NCHSAA.
He served also served on the Board of Trustees at both Western Carolina University and Asheville-Buncombe Technical College and was a lifelong member of Mars Hill Baptist Church.
In 2003, Edwards was honored by the Madison County Board of Education for his years of service and impact on education in the county, when they remodeled the old Marshall Middle School building and dedicated it to him, designating it the Robert L. Edwards Educational Administration Building.
In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that donations be made in the name of Bob Edwards to the North Carolina High School Athletic Association: NCHSAA Endowment Fund, P.O. Box 3216, Chapel Hill, NC 27515-3216; or the Mars Hill Baptist Church Window Fund.
The family will receive friends on Monday (October 8) at Blue Ridge Funeral Home in Mars Hill from 6 pm to 7:30 pm, with the funeral on Tuesday at 11 am at Mars Hill Baptist Church. Burial will follow in the church cemetery.