Monday, January 20, 2014

Andrew Edington's Centennial

Dr. Andrew Edington would have celebrated his 100th birthday this past Wednesday, January 15th.
For those who do not remember, Dr. Edington was the second president of Schreiner Institute (now Schreiner University). I have fond memories of Dr. Edington and his kind wife, Marguerite.
Edington was not only a school administrator, but he was also an author, playwright, community leader and sportsman. I remember him as a storyteller who used humor to convey difficult concepts.
He was only 37 when he assumed the presidency of Schreiner Institute, serving from 1950 to 1971.
According to his 1998 obituary, "he received his bachelor's degree from Southwestern at Memphis (now Rhodes College) and a master's degree from the University of Alabama. He was awarded an honorary doctor of laws degree from Austin College."
The Kerrville Times carried a big front page story on April 10th, 1951, when the school celebrated Edington's inauguration, which was held at the open-air Robbins-Lewis Auditorium on the Schreiner campus.
"The inaugural activities," the Times reported, "are expected to draw the largest gathering of educators ever assembled in the Kerrville area." Representatives from many schools, colleges, and universities from across the region attended, many in full academic regalia.
I have in my Kerr County collection a program from the inauguration. I notice Dr. Edington's brother, the Rev. D. H. Edington, who, at the time, was the pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of New Orleans, gave the invocation.
A young Sam Junkin, class of '51, who would later serve as Schreiner College's third president, participated in the inauguration of Edington, according to the program. Sam Junkin presented the Schreiner Alma Mater, which, according to the program, he wrote.
My introduction to Edington came when I was a boy. A book he'd written, "The Word Made Fresh," was the subject of much discussion at the Herring household.
The book was a retelling of the Bible -- not a translation, as such, or even a paraphrase of the holy book. It was a version of the Bible which portrayed the familiar characters and stories using humor and a special insight which came from Edington's years of prison ministry, his years as a Sunday School teacher -- and, most likely, his years working with young men.
The book was discussed at our house for a simple reason: my mother, Pat Herring, typeset the entire thing. Edington entrusted our family's print shop to produce the book, and, in those days, typesetting was a difficult and slow process.
Although my parents had invested in a state-of-the-art IBM system to set type, it was still difficult work. In those days, there was no screen to look at, no auto-correct, no search and replace. Each line of the text had to be entered and coded by hand, so the manuscript could be formatted into the pages of a book, with justified paragraphs and centered page numbers.
Despite the complexity of the task, Mom enjoyed the stories, actually reading the book as she typeset it. And in the evenings, over supper, she'd retell what portions of that day's work had interested her most.
I still remember Mom laughing at Edington's retelling of the story of King David and young Abishag the Shunammite; in Edington's version, the young woman was named Suzy Q.
Edington helped lead Schreiner Institute during difficult and important times, and without his direction, the school would not be the success it is today. His humor and intelligence left a mark there, and on Kerr County as well.
Until next week, all the best.
Joe Herring Jr. is a Kerrville native who remembers hauling carton after carton of Edington's book up the rickety back stairs of Pampell's Drug Store, years ago. This column originally appeared in the Kerrville Daily Times on January 18, 2014.
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  1. I remember Dr. Edington. What a great man he was. He taught a Bible class at Schreiner. It was a mandatory class, and at first, many of us grumbled about having to take it. However, by the end of the first class we knew that it was going to be our most entertaining course.

    I'll say it again, he was a great man. He was highly admired by his students. I so wish that I could see him, and talk to him one more time.

  2. I wished I known Dr. Edington. I came across 'the Word made freah" few months go. and I am very jealouse of bible's. it Has to be the ancient King James or nothing. But when I read 'the Word made fresh at a good will store couple of month ago, I smiled with delight. I ordered ten books for sunday school children, and che church meeting is solely in spanish.

  3. Anne C Macintosh SpeightsMarch 29, 2014 at 1:42 AM

    I consider myself very blessed to have met Andy as he told us to call him. He came to our church, Oak Hills Presbyterian Church in San Antonio, TX to share his words in The Word Made Fresh and to visit with our Sunday School classes. I was co-teaching a middle school class and was so happy to see the young people absorb his brief teaching that Sunday.. My mother (now 92) was the church librarian at the time and I was so pleased that she made sure his "testaments" were added to the library. I am so proud to have his New and Old Testaments of The Word Made Fresh, and even more delighted they were autographed and part of my mother's personal library as well. Thank you for bringing this story of your connection to Andy beginning this at the time of a birthday anniversary, Joe Herring, Jr. Now, I am writing this near the anniversary of his death. As I get older, shared memories become more special with each passing year...again, thank you.


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