Patricia Edington

In Memory

Patricia Whyte Edington

January 23, 1943 – April 30, 2024

Patricia Bryan Whyte Edington – known to one and all as Trisha, was born January 23, 1943 and returned to the arms of her Lord on April 30, 2024.

There are so many stories that we could tell about Trisha.  We hope to pay homage to her by sharing with you what an inspiration she has been to all of us:  her lifetime love affair with Howard; her lifetime of loving Jesus Christ; and the lifelong friendships she treasured.  This tribute is to you, dearest Tweezie.  Hope you approve.

Trisha is survived by her husband and the love of her life, J. Howard Edington; daughters Meg Sefton and Beth Hewitt, grandchildren Hunter, Penn, and Sarah Beth and 4 brothers.  She was predeceased by her son, John David.

She never knew her father Horace Whyte, but always wished that she had.  He died when she was 10 months old and then she and her mother moved to Shreveport, LA where her mother’s parents lived.  Her mother remarried and from that marriage came four magnificent younger brothers, Frank, Bob, Bill and David. Trisha had an outsized role to play in the childhood experiences of those four brothers and they all remain extremely close to this day.

Trisha graduated from Byrd High School in Shreveport, LA and Rhodes College in Memphis, TN where she met her future husband, Howard, the first week of their freshman year. But it wasn’t until 3 ½ years later they had their first date.  And Howard was her third date that night!!  It would be an understatement to say that Trisha was instrumental in Howard’s calling as a minister of the Gospel.

Trisha and Howard would have celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary in December of this year.  In describing her, Howard referred to Trisha as “the great lady” and told everyone, “I believed she was the most beautiful girl in the world. And I still do.”  Trisha and Howard engaged a nearly sixty-year partnership in ministry where Trisha played a pivotal role in every aspect of their ministerial life together—in the United States and overseas.   Howard preached in 46 states and 23 foreign countries.  Together they served churches in Kilgore, Texas; Columbia, SC; Pine Bluff, AR; Orlando, FL; Hilton Head Island, SC; New York City, and Houston.

2 THINGS TRISHA HATED

  • Whistling….especially when old geezers would do so aloud in the grocery store
  • She was particularly crazed by the misuse of personal pronouns case (like “her and I”), and by dangling participles and split infinitives.

10 THINGS TRISHA LOVED

  • Tormenting her youngest brother with dubious tales about seeds.  For instance, she confided that if he swallowed a watermelon seed, it would grow in his stomach. And admonished him that poppy seeds (as everyone knows) are actually roach eggs. Yuck!!!
  • Playing cards…at which she was fiercely competitive—a trait learned from her 4 brothers who were cut-throat when they played ANY game.
  • The smell of new born puppy’s breath
  • Philippa Gregory novels
  • Stein Mart, where she worked for several years
  • Sandals—every color and style
  • Music!  Her early appreciation included such classics as “Quarter to Three” by Gary U.S. Bonds, Chuck Berry hits, “The Lion Sleeps Tonight,” “Tutti Frutti” by Little Richard and everything Elvis Presley ever sang.
  • Two of her favorite expressions were “tumped over” and “fell out laughing”
  • She LOVED Jesus and frequently broke out in hymns to glorify Him.  One of her favorites was “Morning Has Broken”.
  • Every time Howard preached.

11 THINGS YOU MAY NOT HAVE KNOWN ABOUT TRISHA

  • Her Daddy (who unashamedly admitted that he was wrapped around her little finger) called her “Madame Queen”, which originated from the Amos and Andy show.  The character was Andy’s ex-girlfriend and like her, Trisha struck terror into the hearts of her 4 younger brothers.  On one occasion, totally accidently, she pulled Bob’s arm out of the socket.  Uh Huh.  
  • Her first car was a fire-engine red Corvair Convertible (of Unsafe At Any Speed infamy.)  Once the 3 -speed gear stick fell out while she was driving it and all you could do is watch the pavement roll by through the hole it left in the floor.
  • All 4 of her brothers attest to the fact that she was the best back tickler on the planet.  According to David, “she would settle me in her lap while she talked endlessly on the phone, cross-legged on the floor, sending me into a state of rapture with her long nails.” 
  • She was courageous.  Upon becoming a high school English teacher, Trisha shattered the image of an innocent, peace loving, petite college cheerleader.   Assigned to proctor a sixth period study hall composed primarily of swarthy athletes, a fist fight broke out and ended in a scrum on the floor.  Howard just happened to stop by and witnessed the five-foot-two, 21-year-old Trisha on top of said scrum swinging her high heeled shoe at the noggin of her suspected fight instigator.  
  • Trisha and Howard had been awaiting an infant through the adoption service.  But God had other plans.  One blessed Christmas Eve, they got word that not one, but two young sisters needed a home—immediately.   So off they went to Fort Worth and before they had Meg and Beth in tow, the faithful parishioners of their church in Kilgore had come to the Edington home with clothing, diapers, blankets, bassinets and bottles—two of everything.  Trisha passed along to them her courage, determination, grit, and intellect.  In addition to them being great moms in their own right, they are forever faithful to Jesus.  How fitting, then, at the end of her life, Trisha was able to give them her final blessing.  
  • She was fearless.  While on a visit with Howard to a leper colony in Korea, she allowed the lepers, with what was left of their fingers,  to touch her face and her hair and trace her delicate features.  
  • She was spontaneous.  Trisha and Howard were close friends of Rich DeVos, the former owner of the Orlando Magic and founder of Amway.  At the formal opening of the Amway Center, where they were guests of the DeVos’, and while the Boston Pops Orchestra was performing on stage, Rich pulled up his tuxedo shirt, turned to Trisha and asked her to administer insulin to his tummy.   Yes.  She did it.  
  • An English major, Trisha wielded a pencil with the precision of a scalpel in editing Howard’s sermons, papers and books. 
  • A Bible scholar in her own right, Trisha had a great love for both the English language and the language of God.  She was a terrific teacher in both areas.  When she taught the Bible, people flocked to hear her because of the passion she had for Scripture.  And when she taught courses, like Christian doctrine, people were astounded at the depth of theology they gleaned from her mind and heart.  
  • Hospitality was among Trisha’s greatest strengths and spiritual gifts.  There are not enough digits in the universe to accurately record the number of salads, dinners, pot lucks, and desserts she prepared, hosted and/or lovingly served across Howard’s church families.  Oh, and did we mention the innumerable times the “Great Lady” not only attended, but used her immeasurable charm to influence an outcome towards God’s plan.  
  • Though she RARELY used a curse word, once when engaged in binge watching Jack Bauer on the series, “24”,at a critical juncture she screamed, “Shoot the son-of-a-bitch!”

Oh Yes!  Trisha will be greatly missed by so many of us who were moved by her faith.  In her final days, while she could no longer speak, she found a clear way to deliver a powerful message to her family and friends.    

She pointed to a picture of her son, John David, and picked it up.  We think she was trying to tell us, “It’s ok.  I’m soon going to see my beloved son, and God’s beloved Son.”    

We bid you farewell, sweet Trisha.  Thanks to your amazing resurrection faith, you could be fearless even in the face of death.  

Reflecting the fact that Howard and Trisha served the congregation at the Providence Presbyterian Church in Hilton Head and ultimately retired there, and before that served at the First Presbyterian Church of Orlando for over two decades, there will be two funeral services celebrating her life. The first will take place at The Cypress of Hilton Head in Hilton Head, South Carolina on Saturday, May 11, at 3:00 pm. The second service will take place at the Columbarium at First Presbyterian Church of Orlando on Saturday, June 1 at high noon.  

Memorial gifts in Trisha’s honor should be made to the Trisha Edington Fund, benefitting TheWordMadeFresh.org and the John David Edington scholarship at The Christ School.

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