The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

November 8, 2012

R. Deryl Edwards Jr.


The Joplin Globe

JOPLIN, MO — A son of Joplin has fallen.  R. Deryl Edwards Jr., age 41, died in an airplane crash Sunday, Nov. 4, 2012, around 7 p.m. Mr. Edwards was a life- long Joplin resident and avid pilot. He was flying with his long time friend and pilot Richard Arthur Armstrong Jr., of Neosho, who also died in the crash.

Deryl was born at Freeman Hospital in Joplin, on Feb. 28, 1971. He grew up in Joplin with his younger brother, Philip Tovrea Edwards and parents, R. Deryl Edwards, his mother, Marilyn Tovrea Edwards ("Cissy"). Deryl was a public servant at an early age for both his church and community. He graduated from Joplin High School in 1989, and was an honored Eagle Scout. He then attended college and graduated from the University of Chicago in 1993, and following that the University of St. Louis School of Law in 1997.

Deryl entered the practice of law with his father in 1997, and they shared an office building and practiced together his entire career.  As a lawyer Deryl dedicated himself to representing people who could not stand up for themselves. He refused to represent insurance companies, HMO's or the large government. As a member of the Missouri, Kansas, Oregon and Washington state bars as well as the 8th, 9th and 10th Circuit Courts of Appeal and the highest court in the country (The U.S. Supreme Court) Deryl was a leader in his profession. Deryl took on Walmart as lead counsel in 14 of the 29 states and achieved the largest class action settlement in such a case making history for workers taken advantage of by large corporations.

Deryl was an avid outdoorsman who loved hiking, climbing mountains, scuba diving and surfing. The one thing that everybody will always remember about Deryl is his smile and contagious laugh. He was an optimist, always happy and positive and the most loyal of friends. As difficult as it is, Deryl is a person who celebrated life and he would want others to honor his memory with joy and celebration.

Deryl was a graduate of Gerry Spences Lawyer's Trial College in Dubois, Wyo., the Missouri Association of Trial Lawyers and the American Association of Justice.

During his career, he achieved many profession accolades. In 2008, Deryl was was recognized as and received the American Trial Lawyer's F. Scott Baldwin Award as "The Most Outstanding Trial Lawyer."

Deryl was baptized, grew up going to Sunday school and was confirmed a Christian at The First Presbyterian Church in Joplin. As a member of the church he applied Judeo-Christian principles in his practice of the law and representation of people.

The achievement Deryl was most proud of was becoming a father which he wanted more than anything else in this world. Deryl and his wife, Mina, were blessed with the birth of their healthy son, Langston O'Hare Edwards, a little over a year ago on Sept. 13, 2011.

Memorial contributions may be given to First Presbyterian Church in Joplin, located at 509 South Pearl, Joplin, or delivered to 606 South Pearl Avenue, Joplin, MO 64801 in memory of R. Deryl Edwards Jr., father of Langston O'Hare Edwards.

Family visitation will be at Thornhill-Dillion Mortuary on Friday, Nov. 9, from 6 to 8 p.m. Rev. Dave Burgess will be officiating at the services to be held Saturday, Nov. 10, at 2 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church, located at 509 South Pearl, Joplin. Nicholas C. Rowley, Brian Glades, David Brandon, Nate Williams, Dan Ambrose and Pete Lasley, will be serving as pallbearers, with Steven Halteman, Norman Foster, Ernie Bhend, John Karracker, John McGonigle, Jimmy McGonigle, Jeff Lewis, Tommy Johnson, Frank Yackowitz, Shawn De Graff, Perry Tovrea, Richard C. Clemmons, Billy D. Tate, Dickie Clemmons, Jeff Watson, Charlie Fylnn, Danny Flynn, Norman George IV, Ryan Howell, Jeffrey Howell, Joe Howell, Craig "Chippe" MacQuaid, Alan Millenbruck, Jake Millenbruck, Zach Millenbruck and Philip T. Edwards serving as an honorary pallbearers. Nate Williams and Nicholas Rowley will be sharing scriptures and speaking during the service.

Online condolences can be sent to the family at our website www.thornhilldillon.com