Winton Edwards

Obituary of Winton Edwards

"All Out and Over," strike the tent; it's time for "Eddie Spaghetti" to make his final "Jump." Winton F. "Eddie" Edwards, 86, of Kennedy passed away Wednesday (March 7, 2018) while rehabbing at Absolut of Westfield. A former professional clown and owner of a small, family circus, "Eddie" was born in Jamestown on February 19, 1932, in the family home, the son of the late Lehman and Roxy Kofod Edwards. As a young man, "Eddie" fostered an interest in photography and after setting up a home darkroom, he went into business for himself taking children's photos by appointment in client's homes. He did this in addition to his after-school job working in the photo department at Lockwood's Department store. "Eddie" continued working at Lockwood's after graduating from Jamestown High School in 1949. Also in 1949, "Eddie" met Harry Lind, a professional juggler and long-time friend of Lehman and Roxy. While showing "Eddie" and his parents pictures and posters from his days entertaining in vaudeville shows, Harry noticed the gleam in "Eddie's" eyes and recognizing his enthusiasm, took him on as an apprentice juggler. "Eddie" was a quick study and mastered juggling balls and Indian Clubs in record time. Soon "Eddie" had an agent and was booking his own juggling act, performing at numerous venues in the Jamestown area. "Eddie" had an unexpected change of venue in April, 1952, when he was drafted into the U.S. Army and spent the next two years in South Korea as a Military Intelligence Analyst during the Korean War. Following a cease fire agreement in July of 1953, "Eddie" found some downtime and was able to resume his juggling, performing at Officers' Clubs and NCO Clubs throughout South Korea until his discharge in April, 1954. Returning to Jamestown, "Eddie" resumed employment at Lockwood's department store, but only briefly, as his desire to break into the entertainment business was strong. With a recommendation from a family friend, "Eddie" found himself with an unexpected job interview with John Strong's Circus, so just three short months after discharge from the Army, "Eddie" quite literally ran away with the circus. "Eddie" toured with the circus, juggling and eventually donning greasepaint and adding clowning to his repertoire, and the "Eddie Spaghetti" persona was born. In the off-season, "Eddie" toured with the USO show entertaining the troops. Eventually "Eddie" pursued a solo career and worked as a professional clown playing the fair circuit up and down the West Coast. It was during one of these engagements in, June of 1958, at the fair in Vallejo, California, that he met a young lady that he was immediately smitten with, so much so that he asked her out on a date while still in his clown makeup. To his surprise, she said yes and a whirlwind romance ensued. On July 29, 1958, "Eddie" married Linda Bowen in Reno, Nevada, and she joined him on the road, eagerly learning the show business lifestyle. "Eddie" and Linda soon put together a small, family circus and continued touring the West Coast, having great success and beginning their family along the way. They continued to travel the fair circuit until their eldest child reached school age, when "Eddie" and Linda reluctantly sold the show and got off the road so the children could attend school. However, "Eddie" wasn't far from the business he loved as he found a job working for the Fairgrounds in Chowchilla, California. While "settled down" in a "normal" job, "Eddie" was an avid outdoorsman, spending many weekends camping, hiking, and trout fishing. He became a Scout Master for the Boy Scouts of America and shared his love of the wilderness with the Scouts. A staunch advocate of the "leave no trace" mantra, "Eddie" drove that point home with his Scouts, telling them to leave the campsite better than they found it. That value guided his life, and he leaves this world better than he found it. Years later, "Eddie" returned to Jamestown, N.Y., to care for his ailing father. Over the years, "Eddie" worked for J.C. Penney, Thomas-Webco, and AVI Foods, prior to retirement at the age of 82. Surviving are two children: Kevin (Sheri) Edwards of Jamestown, Karen (Brian) Hildom of Kennedy; four grandchildren: Andrew (Abbey) Hildom, Shannon Hildom (Jim Scoma), Logan Edwards, Dylan Edwards; four great-grandchildren: Dominic Smith, Kiah Hildom, Sawyer Scoma, and Austin Hildom. He was preceded in death by his wife Linda L. Bowen Edwards, who died May 6, 2016; a brother, Warren Edwards, and a sister, Shirley Peterson. A celebration of life will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to Chautauqua County Humane Society, 2825 Strunk Rd., Jamestown, NY 14701.