NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Every Tuesday and Thursday, Norman Edwards faithfully served at the Harvest House. He was there in spirit Tuesday, and his family filled the void.
"Norman would be devastated if we weren't here today giving food to these people," Norman's widow, Betty Edwards, said.
Volunteers on Tuesday carried on in their loyal leader's absence. Betty Edwards said they always had questions for Norman.
"Norman, what this? Norman, what that," Betty Edwards said. "Just, he was everything."
Many of the recipients who came to the food bank had no idea he had passed just last Thursday. The news was shocking and saddening.
"Mr. Norman was really a good man," one of the recipients said. "He tried to help you in any way that he could. He would even offer programs to help if you didn't know about 'em. He would try to help to whatever you needed."
Looking back, one volunteer recalled a different kind of Norman on his last day.
"He just didn't seem himself at all," volunteer Norma Adams said. "He was just very tired. He was here in work until he was gone."
Norman Edwards lived with an aneurysm for 16 years. He took his last breath in his truck shortly after handing out food.
Betty Edwards received comfort from those around her. After being married to Norman for 54 years, she too became a servant. She said that she did what her husband told her to do.
"Norm and I have been doing this for 15 years here in Nacogdoches County," Betty Edwards said.
Norman Edwards made the Harvest House one of the largest and most reliable charities in the entire East Texas Food Bank Network. The thought of someone going hungry hurt Norman Edwards' heart.
In December 2007, Norman Edwards said, "A lot of that is due to layoffs and changes in jobs, and the cost of food is just getting astronomical."
Invitations to Edwards' memorial service lined recipients' food baskets. They received personal invitations to this afternoon's memorial service. It attracted hundreds to the Edwards' home.
His admirers promise Harvest House will live on in his memory.