Edwin C. Townsend, 66 – Parsons's resident attorney, pilot, and all-around Renaissance Man-passed away on September 26, 2020. A true Vol for life, it is surely no coincidence that he took off for his last flight just in time for Tennessee football's opening day.
Ed was born in Jackson, TN, to Edwin, Sr. and Marjorie. Ed was one of the steadiest people you could ever meet, so it is no surprise that at a young age he had already started to show the traits that would define him his whole life. He was a dedicated teammate, performing in the Parsons Junior High and Riverside High School bands and scoring the first touchdown ever by the PJHS football team. He was good with tools and a hard worker, spending his high school years working on a farm, in construction, and at the grocery store. He also distinguished himself as a Boy Scout, earning recognition as an Eagle Scout and a member of the Order of the Arrow.
For college, Ed made his way east to the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. A recipient of the Alumni Valedictorian Scholarship, he graduated with a degree in accounting. College gave Ed one of the longest and most turbulent relationships of his life, with UT sports. He lived and died by the Vols' and Lady Vols' fortunes on gameday, and even a win could tie him up in knots if he felt the team was not performing to the high standards he set for them. Ed showed his love by playing in the Pride of the Southland Marching Band and the UT Alumni Band, faithfully returning every year to play his iconic orange trombone at Homecoming.
Ed stayed at UT for law school, where he was one of the social chairs of his unusually close-knit law school class. That class became a second family for Ed, and stayed together through over 40 years of tailgates, Tennessee Bar Association events, and other reunions, big and small.
The law was also a family business for Ed in the literal sense. After school, he joined his father's law practice; they worked side by side for over 20 years to serve their Parsons neighbors however they were needed. Throughout his career, Ed gave back to the school that gave him so much. He was deeply active in the University of Tennessee's National Alumni Association, serving as its president from 1989-1990.
Ed's life was too short, but it was awfully full: of legendary stubbornness and plenty of laughter; of things he collected (coins, trains, tools, model cars, and movies); of hobbies he cherished (skiing, golfing, flying, and taking care of the family property on his tractor); and of countless clients, neighbors, and friends whose lives he made better.
Ed was predeceased by his father and law partner, Edwin Sr., and survived by his beloved mother Marjorie, his sister Karin Davis, his brother-in-law Tim Davis, and all his adoring co-pilots and passengers on Ed Air.
A graveside service for the family and friends will be held on Saturday, October 3rd at 1:00 pm at the Parsons Cemetery. A celebration of life for Ed will be held later. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the University of Tennessee's Pride of the Southland Marching Band Scholarship Fund and College of Law Scholarship Fund.
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