in his office at Foundation Place
John T. Edwards
  • 70 years old
  • Date of birth: Jan 14, 1941
  • Place of birth:
    Fort Valley, Georgia, United States
  • Date of passing: Nov 10, 2011
  • Place of passing:
    Durham, North Carolina, United States
One step at a time. Take it easy. Keep at it.

This memorial website was created in the memory of our loved one,

John Thomas Edwards, 70, born on January 14, 1941 and passed away on

November 10, 2011. We will remember him forever.

He has left a legacy with lots of instructions. Let us begin with his credo:

"One step at a time.  Take it easy.  Keep at it."

Please read the STORIES and tributes and share as you wish.

Memorial Tributes
This tribute was added by Angela Cowell on 24th March 2016

"Hi John, as I walk along today, reflecting on the AAMFT approved supervisor candidate process I've almost finished, I can't help but reflect on the great impact you still have on my training and on me. Not a week goes by without me sharing your wisdom to the next generation of MFTA's. I wish I was truly able to appreciate the completeness of who you were and what you had to offer way back was a privilege to walk with you, even though for only a moment in time."

This tribute was added by michael mcguire on 14th January 2016

"HBD John! I was standing, by my window …

New job, new opportunity to further your wisdom, new chance to fail, new time for growth, new time to stare like a cow staring at a new fence, new time to be old, new time to be new. I am beginning to understand. I love you. - Michael"

This tribute was added by Larry Sharpe on 14th January 2016

"Happy Birthday dear John!  I am filling in for you at The Children's Home by continuing the monthly group you did there for years.  I am successfully channeling you so it is going very well.  I love how you were so adept at simplifying complexity.  That ability made your training and teaching so very effective and I continue to strive to develop that ability but I have a ways to go. On a personal level I grieve the loss of spending time with you and engaging in always stimulating conversations.   As Milton Erickson said "My Voice will go with you" and yours certainly does so you are part of my life everyday.  Miss you so much."

This tribute was added by Mattie Decker on 14th January 2016

""Happy Birthday", indeed, dear John Thomas Edwards, Jr.
I said these words aloud earlier this morning as I hiked up to the hill and stood, amazed to hear the helicopter at St. Claire Hospital that lifted off with you, now years ago. It is impossible, of course that you are not here, and yet, as all who were touched by your life, we feel you ever close ever guiding with your Wisdom, Gentleness, Strength, Care. I recently quoted you in my journal when writing of a situation in my life now, in which you said to me, "sometimes a person NEEDS rescuing".  You always pushed against any standard way of thinking or doing, to dig down to the root of truth. Your legacy is living, alive and well in each of us, dearest JTE. Thank you for helping us understand that love is, indeed, Eternal."

This tribute was added by Rebecca Barboff on 14th January 2016

"Happy Birthday, John.  I have thought of you a lot, especially in these past 6 months.  Much of the wisdom you shared with me has suddenly come front & center, as I travel down a new path in my own life.  Life is full of challenges, as usual, but for me the current challeng has been particularly hard.  You have surfaced as one of my angels/my guides during this time.  I cannot help but think about some of your pearly words:
    -Patience may not be the ultimate virtue, but it's close.
     -Learning is discovering that something is possible.
     -Some days are better than others.
My current life is a daily lesson in patience & your guidance is helping me be that.
I am learning so very much about myself these days & I'm bringing those lessons to life in my current journey.
Many days are better than others; I'm accepting the good with the bad & realizing something I've always known - that God doesn't ever give me more than I can handle.
Thanks again for being such a good friend & mentor.  Dance with the angels today!"

This tribute was added by michael mcguire on 10th November 2015

"Hi John, I'm still trying to live in the now, as you encouraged. Looking at a job right now that would allow me to push along your ideas. We'll see. Here's hoping you are yet another of my guardian angels that have been with me for so very long. - Michael"

This tribute was added by Brenton Queen on 13th November 2014

"I heard John speak on May 20th of 2011, and I havent been the same since.  His speaking came from authenticity, and his presence was both powerful and gentle.  I found this memorial today while researching "interventionist" training, and I get now that I need to let John speak to me again through his books.  Thank you John.  I am forever grateful."

This tribute was added by Tiffany Castellanos on 13th November 2014

"Thinking of John today and all I learned from him about working with families. We also enjoyed many of the same topics and many a time we spent talking about meditation, mindfulness, and nature. I will always remember him as one of my life mentors and teachers. May your Spirit continue to rest in your true nature..."

This tribute was added by michael mcguire on 12th November 2014

"Hiya John. I miss you and wish I could ask you some questions. I guess I still can but better be pretty darn good at listening to the wind for an answer. It's fall. Always imagined it to be your favorite time of year. There is only now."

This tribute was added by Martha Decker on 11th November 2014

"Dear Ones,
I was corrected when I said it would be "2 years", indeed, it has been 3 years....three turns of the planet around the Sun, three cycles of seasons. It is good to honor this life, this teacher, this friend.
The songs are ones he sang and crooned to for many years...
I spent a long while November 10th downloading photographs I could find that are meaningful for JTE's life.  I have others, but they will have to wait.
I just now uploaded many, and have not asked permission, though all passed the "what would John do?" and so they are here...
If anyone has any photos they would like included please send them to me and I shall post them.
Let us continue to honor John by honoring ourselves and each other.
"One step at a time; take it easy; keep at it."

This tribute was added by Rebecca Barboff on 10th November 2014

"I was packing up my things from my office & came across some momentos of John's.  Many of you will remember this.  I still have the little washer on a string tied to my brief case. It came from his activity where he put his ring on a string & showed how important it is to be on the same page.  You are missed so very much!"

This tribute was added by Martha Decker on 14th January 2014

"Today is John's Birthday.  This morning I came across his "Advice to Myself", discussed at LPCANC Conference keynote address (9/25/09)
I am going to post these "brief, random bits of advice to myself" he wrote, in "STORIES" for everyone to enjoy.  It is wonderful to read these and hear his wisdom and humor, candor and strength. Please click on STORIES above."

This tribute was added by Martha Decker on 5th January 2014

"On November 29, 2013, John's family gathered in Fort Valley, Georgia at a Memorial Service honoring John and his sister, Lane, by placing markers in the Oaklawn Cemetery where their mother, father and grandparents are buried.  

On John's marker were the words "Your True Home is Now"

Words of Thoreau, Rumi and Rilke were read and afterwards many gathered there spoke, including one of John's teachers, and his childhood best friend, cousin and "brother" Gene Pearson.

His teacher told a story that while lining up in graduation from high school, she asked, "John, what are you going to do with your life?" whereupon he replied, "I'm going to college and study psychology.  She asked him what he was going to do with a degree in psychology, and John said, "open a psychology shop!"

Afterwards, a wonderful reception was held at the ancestral home of their grandparents orchards, where all shared stories and memories including one that remembered how John and Gene used to play in the cemetery where his plaque now resides.  Somehow that playful heart was felt enduring even now in Fort Valley.  

With John's lifelong work with Families, it seems fitting to have both John and Lane's representation there now next to his parents and ancestors.
*Click on "Gallery" to see photos."

This tribute was added by Larry Sharpe on 13th November 2013

"I miss our monthly dinners and long conversations about new books and new ideas.  A day does not go by that I don't think about some aspect of working with families and being a systemic thinker.  I continue to be blessed to have your voice with me in my life each day."

This tribute was added by Lewis N. Foster on 13th November 2013

"I miss our telephone conversations and enjoy the memory of a fellow Vietnam Vet and teacher that continues to influence my life.  I introduce people to  you and your book when I do workshops.  God's Peace"

This tribute was added by michael mcguire on 12th November 2013

"Hiya John. How is it, really? You continue to help steer me. Thank you."

This tribute was added by Theresa Palmer on 11th November 2013

"I was at a national conference last week and saw John's book on display at Wiley's booth. I am so grateful this book was published so his message can continue reaching future therapists. And yesterday I was sitting by our little lake at twilight thinking about John and his wisdom. Nature. Now. Connection. John, your life continues to send ripples through the world."

This tribute was added by Martha Decker on 10th November 2013

"Two years in the passage of what we call time; yet how present John is NOW in strong and impactful ways. I bow to this mystery and give thanks with every breath for John's distinctive spirit. It is a very present LIVING legacy in all who knew him."

This tribute was added by sid jordan on 10th November 2013

"John you are still with us and helping direct things in our family life on this anniversary of your passing.  We are having a memorial service for John and Lane in Fort Valley on Friday November 29th 2013.  This will provide an opportunity for many of Lane and John's family in Georgia to have an observance of the placing of a memorial plaque for John and Lane beside their parents graves."

This tribute was added by phillip maynard on 16th January 2013

"Seems like just yesterday I was talking with John about his book. His reply, " I think this will be my swan song".  I was puzzled by that comment and went to my house knowing that simply meant the last book he would write.  But John was not thinking of retiring, he was thinking of his condition and shortly thereafter left us. His memory still remains with me as we related on many subjects."

This tribute was added by michael mcguire on 14th January 2013

"Missing you, John."

This tribute was added by sid jordan on 14th January 2013

""On John's birthday I am reminded  of how much all of the lives of those he touched have been enhanced by his presence.  His presence lives on today in his legacy of love and wisdom of a life well lived. In deepest gratitude, Sid.""

This tribute was added by Martha Decker on 18th November 2012

"Thanks to Theresa, and what she has shared from Wendell Berry so aptly in connection with John, is posted now in "Stories" for you to hear."

This tribute was added by Theresa Palmer on 18th November 2012

"I was listening to Diane Rehm on NPR interview Wendell Berry the other day and his cadence so reminded me of John. We have all been so very blessed by his presence in our lives!
To listen to Wendell Berry's interview:"

This tribute was added by Dora Ahmadi on 18th November 2012

"A year has passed since you departed this land but not completely for your calm presence remains with us forever."

This tribute was added by phillip maynard on 10th November 2012

"I didn't realize it's been a year since John went away.  My mother also died a few months afterwards at the age of 92.  It seems all my older friends are leaving and I look forward to that journey myself.  I think with John, I remember a realist with kindness in the mixture.  In this world, that's a hard thing to accomplish.  We continue on the other side."

This tribute was added by sid jordan on 10th November 2012

"Good Morning John,
On this day I honor your passing and vividly remember your life as my brother.  I will be with you as I offer this day of being with families to you.  You are part of what I offer, the uninterrupted stream of love that we share. Brothers Always, Sid"

This tribute was added by Martha Decker on 10th November 2012

"We are honoring ONE YEAR today.

Your Spirit is Here, so strong, so very clear and present.
We give thanks for your life and breathe into this day and all the days to come with deepest love and appreciation for your continued brilliant legacy that lives on in all of us who knew you."

This tribute was added by Martha Decker on 9th May 2012

"A Special Event honoring John T. Edwards, Ph.D. was held 5/11/12 at The Children's Home in Winston-Salem, NC.  

A team of colleagues and friends  work to create a Foundation honoring Dr. Edwards' legacy of a systems approach to working with families."

This tribute was added by DrGlenda Clare on 1st April 2012

"Thank you for offering mentorship and sharing your gifts in regard to working with families with me. Families, nationwide, will benefit because of your life and your commitment to improving family life."

This tribute was added by Davis Broadway on 19th March 2012

"John was a special friend at a special time in my life...Helen, Ga. early 70's. A very kind person, always (psycho) analyzing and enjoying the little things in life. I hadn't seen him for almost 30 years but we had talked on the phone for the last 2 years about him visiting me in Helen where I have remained over the years. I wish we could've had that visit."

This tribute was added by Xiaomin Mai on 15th February 2012

"John, I am so grateful to the several short meetings and talks with you in Morehead. Your wise advices and warm comfort brightened up my heart. Your spirit will always be with us. We miss you!
Xiaomin Mai ( Cindy)"

This tribute was added by Carol Hoffman on 21st January 2012

"John touched my life deeply, along with so many of you, personally, professionally. I am so grateful to have known him and his family: my heartfelt condolences to you Lane, Kay, Jill, Sid My heart is hurting, as I just learned of John's death today, but, I agree with his buddhist friends: my pain is my ego's longing, for John is forever, as are we all."

This tribute was added by Martha Decker on 15th January 2012

"From Erin Coyle, Carrboro, NC:
"It is only because of our misunderstanding that we think the person we love no longer exists after they "pass away".  This is because we are attached to one of the forms, one of the many manifestations of that person.  The person we love is still there. He is around us, within us, smiling at us."    ---Thich Nhat Hanh"

This tribute was added by Martha Decker on 14th January 2012

"January 14, 2012
The Anniversary of your Birth, dear One.
Today the Carolina Wren here!
We honor you today, and every day, give thanks, for your many gifts, known now, deeply within us.  Amazing, how you continue with us in so many ways. I will share your wonderful writing in STORIES:  "Learning How to Live.""

This tribute was added by Jill Jordan on 14th January 2012

"Your sticky notes have left an imprint on my heart Dear Uncle John.  It seems untrue that you are not with us, perhaps becauce your gentleness remains.  Love and peace to you dear soul."

This tribute was added by Dora Ahmadi on 14th January 2012

"Dear John,
I will always remember you for your peacefulness, gentleness, and kindness.  You remain with us, always bringing comfort and warmth.

This tribute was added by Rev. Lisa Tolliver on 14th January 2012

"John, I didn't know you long, but I felt I knew you from some deep place in my soul. . .  You were with us as wisdom; you still abide with us as peace.  And somehow, on your birthday, your spirit is your gift to us.  You are giving US the gift!  How is that happening?

  I am  so  grateful for having known you."

This tribute was added by phillip maynard on 21st December 2011

"Through the years as my neighbor, John and I became friends. I found him to be reserved, intelligent and caring.  Once, during a snow and the power outage kept everyone cold for two weeks, John brought my wife and I a thick comforter.  He was always asking about our health and seldom mentioned his own problems.  Each time we had conversation, I always came away a better person."

This tribute was added by brandi cotten on 20th December 2011

"I am saddened to hear about the passing of Mr. Edwards. I pray that his family and friends find comfort in their memories of him. I utilize his teachings in my work with families on a daily basis and have witnessed the difference it makes in their lives. Even those that did not know Mr. Edwards have been touched by his passion for family therapy."

This tribute was added by Wongong So on 12th December 2011

"John! As I learn more and more about your life from your beloved friends, your path was the very same path I have been walking and seeking. I feel deeply connected with your life through your spiritual depth. It was a great honor to see your emancipated soul during your transition. May you rest in your true nature and return to continue our work together. Thank you, John. Deep bowing..."

This tribute was added by michael mcguire on 7th December 2011

"What an interesting time we had yesterday in the AAMFT group at The Children's Home that you've lead for nearly 20 years. We reviewed "Positive Reframing" from your Blue Book. Someone would read aloud the client statement and we would all try to reframe the statement. Then we would read YOUR reframing example out loud to see how close we got. It was like you were sitting right next to us."

This tribute was added by sid jordan on 7th December 2011

"John is the brother I have always wanted.  We have had more than 50 years of the sweetest relationship, a vessel that contains the most benevolent truth that we seek and share.  His presence is alive in me today.  We visit on a regular basis.  Hello John, Hi Sid."

This tribute was added by dixie myers on 5th December 2011

"I knew "John of the South" through my dear friend Mattie, who shared her deep love for this fine man with me many times, with many stories. I appreciated his care of the land, and his garden. I love the photo of him in the chair, with his gardening clothes on. Dear Mattie, you know my love flows toward you now. Thank you for creating this for John, and for your beautiful spirit of knowing."

This tribute was added by Rebecca Barboff on 28th November 2011

"John's wisdom lives on through me and so many others.  You will be greatly missed.  You are much loved!"

This tribute was added by Patricia Bradshaw on 27th November 2011

"John's mischievous grin and engaging personality allowed him to teach so naturally; with great ease and skill. I hear him inside my head regularly as I work with families, in a myriad of ways. For that I am ever grateful. He blessed us with his deep and abiding love of healthy relating, and with that twinkle in his eye. Blessings to his family. May you be in peace, John."

This tribute was added by David Swann on 25th November 2011

"I miss my friend and colleague John.  John influenced my clinical and administrative work for nearly 30 years and I will always remember his kind words and wonderful spirit that inspired me.  I am thankful that John shared his talents and expressed an interest in me. Like many, I was blessed to be one of his friends."

This tribute was added by Gene Pearson on 22nd November 2011

"His cause was never to offend and every creature was his friend---Carolyn and I will miss your insightful visits and phone conversations.My first cousin,my best friend ever,my brother---you leave us with much love and respect and a hole in our hearts."

This tribute was added by Tiffany Castellanos on 21st November 2011

"I will never forget my dear friend and colleague John Edwards....he taught me so much about working with families and always made himself available for a consult. I so enjoyed also are conversations about meditation, healthy eating, and in general life. I feel honored to have known you John and to have been your colleague and friend. May your Beautiful Spirit rest in your original nature.."

This tribute was added by Kim Anthony-Byng on 21st November 2011

"I had the incredible privilege and pleasure of training under John for the last almost 25 years of my career in substance abuse.  John made something that can be complicated, working with families, look so easy  I will always be grateful for what I learned from him and hope that his gentleness and kind spirit shows  through with me as it did with him."

This tribute was added by Dennis Stacey on 21st November 2011

"John shared with me some of the most insightful helping models & techniques I've ever known, and provided a solid foundation to a large NC Dept. of Educ. initiative in the 1990s.  Even more  significant, I found him to be immediately approachable, authentic & unassuming--despite his tremendous breadth.  He left me with more of his considerable self & gifts in a short time than about anyone"

This tribute was added by Nancy Dixon on 21st November 2011

"So Sorry to hear about Dr. Edwards, didn't know him well. Although neighbors. Saw him walking in the neighborhood  some. He did alot of amazing work at Duke. He had a great life and well respected person..I know he will be missed. You and his family are in our prayers and thoughts.
Nancy and Lad Dixon"

This tribute was added by Robin Sartain on 20th November 2011

"Your quiet, calm, and peaceful demeanor will be missed. You had so much to teach and share, and by teaching me and so many others, you have touched the lives and hearts of countless people. Thank you for all you have done."

This tribute was added by harold mann on 20th November 2011

"John and I reconnected in the 1990's after I retired here. When he was a student at EAO, 1959-61 I was his teacher and the director of the Glee Club, of which he was Vice President. After some personal contact, including meals together (with Ginger) I got in the habit of calling him twice a year, most recently in August. He did not speak of his leukemia. I will miss him, as will so many."

This tribute was added by Natalie Boorman on 18th November 2011

"I received my most valuable training in family therapy from you, John.  I remember how supportive you were when I called you out of the blue for help with a difficult family.  You were so down to earth and easy to learn from.  I'm very sad you've left us in body though you gave so much to all of us, your spirit won't ever really be gone from our hearts and minds."

This tribute was added by andrea walker on 18th November 2011

"Remembering "the look" you taught us (the surprised, eye brow raised); remembering "spoiled brat" levels; remembering you napping in your car during our training breaks; remembering you were a nice caring man; remembering that I will miss you"

This tribute was added by Lewis N. Foster on 18th November 2011

"I learned about H. Peter Laqueur, MD, and Multiple Family Group Therapy from you while in Family Systems training with you at Randolph Clinic in Charlotte, NC, during the early 1980's.  As a result it launched a family therapy/MFGT career for me and it is still alive today.  You gave me your time freely over the years.  I thank you.  You are missed."

This tribute was added by janet Jewett on 17th November 2011

""You  left footprints on many hearts and echoes on many minds.  What a treasure to spend time in your home with Mattie in 2009.  The wonderful food, the pictures and stories, the laughter,  are memories for a lifetime.  You are a  gift.  Thank you!""

This tribute was added by Martha Decker on 17th November 2011

"You left us one week ago at the setting of the sun, and the rising of the full moon.  It is impossible.  Yet, here we are without you.  Thank you for all of the bread crumbs you have left us for the path home.  We love you and thank you all the day long."

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This memorial is administered by:

Martha Decker
Tab Ballis


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