Katherine ‘Kitty’ Coulbourn Edwards

Published 10:22 am Thursday, January 26, 2012

FALLS CHURCH—Katherine “Kitty” Coulbourn Edwards passed away on January 20, 2012, at the age of 102, in her home in Falls Church, Va., surrounded by her family.

Kitty Edwards was a resident of Falls Church for 65 years.

Her husband of 49 years, Col. Luther Rice Edwards, from Franklin, Va., predeceased her in 1989.

Kitty grew up in Suffolk, Va., the daughter of Goldsborough Greenfield Coulbourn and Anna Katherine Tilghman Coulbourn. Her five brothers, Fenton, Irvin, Edwin, William and Uriah, also have predeceased her.

While growing up in Suffolk, Kitty distinguished herself by winning the Virginia State Debate Championship, by excelling in sports and as an avid horsewoman.

She graduated from Randolph-Macon Woman’s College in 1932, earning a B.A. in French. She served as Business Manager of both the college yearbook and the Press Board. Her clubs and activities included the Drama Club, the Greek Chorus, Alpha Omicron Pi sorority and various other societies.

After college, Kitty taught mathematics, eventually moving to Washington, D.C., where she met her future husband. Kitty and Rice married in 1939 and lived in Alexandria, Va., during which time Rice served in China as an Army JAG officer in World War II.

After the war, they moved to Falls Church, Va.

Kitty was an active businesswoman managing her family properties, a member of the Falls Church Episcopal Church, a Girl Scout leader for many years, an active member of the National Society Colonial Dames XVII Century Jamestown Chapter and the Daughters of the American Revolution, and a community volunteer.

She brightened the lives of those around her by sharing with them her love of the piano, poetry, history, literature, and art.

She will be greatly missed by her four surviving daughters, Nancy Edwards Brockman of Charlottesville, Va., Katherine Bourke Edwards of Alexandria, Va., Marion Edwards Birkhead of Virginia Beach, Va., and Priscilla Edwards Englert of Centennial, Colo., and their families, including her 10 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren, who affectionately called her their “Mum-mum.”

She was also a source of inspiration to her large and loving extended family, with whom she spent many happy times.

The family would like to extend their heartfelt love and gratitude to Kitty’s caregivers, Helena Ramirez, Rosario Ruiz, Julissa Chaparro and Giovanna Tello. Their loving devotion and care during her final years greatly enriched her life.

Kitty Edwards did not just pass through people’s lives. She marched through life with exuberance and spirit, giving a unique part of herself to everyone who knew her.

A graveside service will be held in Franklin, Va., on February 4, at 11 a.m., followed by a celebration to honor her life at the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts. Arrangements are being handled by Wright Funeral Home in Franklin, Va.

Gifts in her memory may be donated “In Support of Student Scholarships” to Randolph College (successor to Randolph-Macon Woman’s College), 2500 Rivermont Avenue, Lynchburg, Va., 24503. www.wrightfuneralhome.org.