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Edition Date: October 29, 2007
Remembering Carol Edwards (1942-2007)

File photo/Ian Gleadle
Carol Edwards in April 2004 at a party in her honor at Willows Lodge

Carol Ann Edwards, 65, business woman, civic leader and vital force within the City of Woodinville, died at 9:25 p.m. Oct. 28, 2007, of ALS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. She was surrounded by her children, partner Rex Knight, and her close friends.

Born Sept.18, 1942, in Pasco, Washington, to Dorothy and Earl Dahlin, Edwards was an only child whose life, as she described it, had been filled with interesting and fun activities. When she was in the second grade, her family moved to Seattle. There, she attended Hawthorne Elementary School, Sharples Junior High, and Franklin High School.

Those who knew Edwards also knew that she was a very persuasive person. In high school, she took a Dale Carnegie class where she “learned to win friends and influence people – and mostly how to speak in public,” she wrote in her personal history, a copy of which was given to each of her children as a Christmas present in 1989.

In 1959, she was elected Girls’ Club President at Franklin High. She graduated in June of 1960. The theme of her final speech in high school was that not everyone could be the captain of the ship, but everyone had a responsibility to see to it that the ship got to the right place.

As a girl, Edwards had a number of jobs. “My first selling job,” she wrote, “was making and selling pot holders for 25 cents each.”

She also worked in an ice cream shop and then in a hardware store, “where Bert and Helen Kehrer taught me many things besides selling female and male plumbing parts and doing bookkeeping,” she wrote. Mrs. Kehrer told her that life was a series of ups and downs, “going from the bottom to the top of a hill, sliding down a bit and climbing up again.” She also told Edwards to be nice to everyone and it would pay off. Edwards told her children that Mrs. Kehrer was right on both counts.

“I have always been in a hurry through life,” Edwards wrote, “not wanting to miss much and thinking that if I hurried, I wouldn’t.”

Upon leaving high school, she entered the University of Washington. She majored in political science with an emphasis in international relations and minored in secondary education.

ImageFile photo
Carol Edwards in the mid-1980s in her Woodinville Weekly office.

“I wanted to join the Foreign Service,” she told her children, “live in foreign lands and be involved in world-reaching decisions.”

At the UW she studied, took golf, pledged Kappa Alpha Theta, worked in the toy and jewelry departments at Frederick and Nelson and at the Seattle World’s Fair in the International Pavilion.

She wrote, “I had my own import company importing Norwegian sweaters that were made to match your ski pants.”

Her senior year, Edwards did her student teaching at Rainier Beach Junior-Senior High in South Seattle.

She married Ed Boselly in June of 1963 and graduated from the University of Washington in August that same year. Senator Jack Kennedy spoke at her graduation. Edwards took a job teaching social studies at Rainier Beach, where she remained for four years. In 1967, the couple moved to Salt Lake City, Utah, and later to Biloxi, Mississippi. The couple adopted two children and had a third. In March of 1976, then divorced and remarried to Bill Edwards, Carol had a fourth child.

In June of 1976, the family moved to the Woodinville area from California. In November of that year, Edwards, “to maintain (her) brain” and to disseminate information about community events, started the Woodinville Weekly in her garage with the help of a number of friends.

She wrote in the Nov. 5, 2001, issue of the Weekly, which celebrated the paper’s 25-year anniversary, “I had an AB Dick table-top press and an eight-foot process camera, which I had bought on a whim a year earlier and hauled with me to Woodinville.

“In my neighborhood, I found Louise Miller, Cherry Jarvis, Phyllis Keller, Rosemary Zeutschel and Joanne Hirsh. I invited them over for lunch to talk about starting a newspaper for Woodinville. They thought a monthly publication would be adequate. I, however, thought a weekly would be better.

“In late October, I packed up the kids in my blue Dodge maxivan and went to the Woodinville stores and asked for ads to start the paper. That experience is another story, but after some hard selling, I came back with enough money to buy the newsprint for 5,000 copies. I was committed to a free paper for people, paid for by advertising. There were a lot of people who said I was crazy to undertake such a job with so many small children.

“My garage was converted to a production space. I borrowed a carbon-ribbon typewriter from Aide Duplicating. Joanne Naganawa, a friend from my Franklin High School days in Seattle, brought out her rapidograph tools and set the ads by hand. Bill Chiles, my neighbor, went out and shot the photos: one of the Saginaw sawmill, which used to be on the west bank of the Sammamish, and one other of many people looking at a train going over the trestle. Ginny Lea signed on to write a column called ‘Beagle Scouts’ about taking kids out on hikes and other excursions.”

In 1978, she started the Kirkland Courier and later the Northlake News. In 1980, she started the Shoreline Tide and the Valley View, and in 1994, she began the Redmond Review. Of the six newspapers, one she gave away, two she killed, and three continue today.

In May of 1984, Edwards’ paper was the first in Washington state to be on the Internet.

Weekly employees often joke that everyone in Woodinville has worked for the paper at one time, and, indeed, many teens, adults and seniors have worked there over the years. But remarkably, Edwards’ core of employees has worked for her somewhere between 10 and over 20 years.

Daughter Julie Boselly said Edwards liked helping others in whatever way she could, especially if they were experiencing financial difficulties.

“She’s helped many people going through troubled times to get jobs,” said Boselly.

Never a dull moment at the Weekly

One summer day, Carol Edwards pulled out a couple stacks of Astroturf from her car trunk and unfolded them in the parking lot in front of the Woodinville Weekly front door. As if by magic, she propped up a white picket fence, also extracted from her car trunk, around the perimeter of the fake grass, set out lawn chairs, fired up a grill and proceeded to cook hamburgers for her amazed staff, a sort of second family.

Little groups of longtime friends and new transplants to the City of Woodinville would congregate in front of the Weekly’s front counter to talk about civic issues and raising kids and illnesses and holidays and on and on. Edwards was always in the middle of the group, sometimes animated, sometimes just listening.

She always seemed happiest when she was surrounded by people. She would sit in the back room at the Weekly at a corner computer with one or more local business people on office chairs wheeled close in to watch her every keystroke as she designed newspaper ads for them. If someone came in the front door asking to see Edwards, they were directed to the back room and inevitably joined the circle of people who surrounded Edwards. Conversations back there often drifted from the work at hand. Edwards usually had to make up the time she spent deep in discussion by working on Saturdays and Sundays in order to put the paper to bed.

One afternoon, all lines of the office phone lit up, and as soon as one caller was dispatched, another line would light up. It never seemed to end.

The message from each caller was the same: Tell Edwards to call this number. They just mentioned her name on the radio and if she calls within a certain time period, she stands to win a big prize. Apparently, half the people in town heard Edwards’s name on the radio and wanted to see her win the prize.

Edwards oversaw the Woodinville Weekly operations, but she was very much a hands-on owner. The Christmas card insert in the late December issues of the newspaper gave Edwards and staff a special opportunity to tap their artistic talents. She, Earl Mewharter and others created Christmas ads as tokens of appreciation from local companies to their patrons.

She wrote annual stories in the newspaper about the auction of Washington wines for Children’s Hospital. She made sure pictures were taken of entire graduating classes from area schools and she typed in all the names of the seniors. She wrote articles about Y2K risks and solutions, about the adult Halverson twins who led full lives despite challenges with muscular dystrophy. She wrote about bullying in schools.

She expressed her views in favor of the levy for the Northshore Senior Center. She wrote about the barely visible homeless population in the area, about the history of the Woodinville Florist, about visiting the Seattle Aquarium, about osteoporosis screenings, about new programs for children with ADHD, and about Frank’s Barbershop, where her father got his hair cut.

And no one can forget those “On the Road with Carol” features. Every few weeks she’d drive a new car and write a review of it in the paper. She always commented about trunk space and often drove around with her elderly mother and included Dorothy’s comments about the car – or about Edwards’s driving – in her article.

“I never knew that this would be my primary occupation,” Edwards wrote to her children. “It has been wonderful though hard work. I love meeting people and being able to snoop without question. More than anything, I believe in communities of people and am fascinated by how they operate. I still get a catch in my throat when I drive to work and see everything functioning. The garbage truck going around, the bread truck delivering to the store, the shoppers, the workers on their way to work, and the scurrying to get it done. It all works. And, I love the way people take care of each other.”

Edwards told Seattle Times reporter David Suffia for a March 12, 1980, article entitled “Housewife-publisher filled void with two newspapers,” “I’ve always loved newspapers and now I see them becoming more and more alike and that worries me. I want the weeklies to be different. We try to make them optimistic newspapers that have fun without being sensational about the news. You know, I’ve already had offers from newspaper chains to buy me out. I’m not going to sell. I really believe in what I’m doing.”

Other contributions

Edwards found ways to fill other needs in the community and was instrumental in creating Teen Northshore, an organization to facilitate teen activities. In 1978, she organized the city’s All Fools Day Parade to add a touch of levity to spring after what was often a dreary winter. A key feature of the parade has always been a procession of Basset Hounds.

Edwards wrote “The City of Woodinville: A History in Logging, Farming and Commerce” for a supplement to the March 29, 1993, issue of the Woodinville Weekly. That year, she also founded the Woodinville Community Band. According to the band’s Web site, Edwards “put an ad in her paper calling for musicians to form a community band in the newly incorporated City of Woodinville. The first rehearsal was held downtown in the parking lot of Las Margaritas Mexican restaurant. Over 40 musicians answered the call.”

In 1994, the band was designated the official band of the city. Today the group is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and has expanded to include a jazz band and small performance ensembles in addition to the concert band.

Edwards was also involved in forming the Woodinville Farmers Market and the Woodinville Wine Festival.

It is probably fair to say that for Carol, Woodinville had no principal citizen; every person there was a principal citizen.*

For her years of giving, Edwards was awarded both the Woodinville Rotary Citizen of the Year and the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Woodinville Chamber of Commerce.

Also, to honor her accomplishments, the Woodinville City Council renamed the community center “The Carol Edwards Center.” To further recognize her contributions to the community, Friends of Carol Edwards proposed naming a planned walkway around the city’s sports fields “The Carol Edwards Loop.” The loop will be dotted with paw prints and graced with a standalone statue of a basset hound.

The Prevail Credit Union established “The Carol Ann Edwards Woodinville Community Scholarship” for residents from or within the city who are also current Prevail Credit Union members. They must embody the spirit and dedication to the community that Carol Edwards has exemplified over the years.

Edwards was diagnosed with ALS in 2004. Since then, she had lived at Knight’s home with his support and the support of her family, friends and caregivers.

Edwards loved her family, her community, her business, and moo shoo pancakes from Johnny’s Wok. She was plugged into national and local social issues. She was generous of spirit, patriotic, kooky, vivacious, mischievous and smart. She was a dreamer, a good listener, a keen observer of human nature, a gentle soul and a kind boss. God Bless Carol Edwards. We will miss her.

She was preceded in death by her parents Dorothy and Earl Dahlin. She is survived by her partner Rex Knight, daughter Jennifer and son-in-law Michael Noyd, son Jeffrey Boselly and daughter-in-law Angela Berg, daughter Julie Boselly, and daughter Wendy and son-in-law Brent Usher; grandchildren Vivian, Cassandra, Olivia, and Zachary Noyd; Benjamin Boselly; Jackson and Katherine Unruh; and Ellie Usher and many friends.

A Celebration of Life for Edwards will be held Sunday, Nov. 4, 2007, at 4 p.m. at The Hollywood Schoolhouse in Woodinville.

In lieu of flowers, please donate to The ALS Association Evergreen Chapter, 19110 66th Ave S #G-101, Kent, WA 98032 or Northwest Parks Foundation c/o Woodinville Fields and Carol Edwards Loop, PO Box 605, Woodinville, WA. 98072.

Be kind and be a positive part of your community.


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