Longtime Baylor Supporter Roger Edens Dies at Age 91

Jan. 31, 2006
News Photo 3346

Avid Baylor supporter Roger Edens died Monday, Jan. 30, of Alzheimer's disease. He was 91.

Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 1, at Lake Shore Baptist Church, with burial preceding the service at 10 a.m. at Oakwood Cemetery. Visitation will be Tuesday from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. at Oakcrest Funeral Home.

"'Wherever Roger Edens is, it's always Baylor Homecoming.' Those words were written in the Baylor Line when he served as the 1984 president of the Baylor Alumni Association, and they seem to capture the spirit of this unforgettable man. Roger was an icon and a legend and will always be remembered as one of the treasures of Baylor University and its alumni association," said Baylor Alumni Association Executive Vice President Jeff Kilgore.

A native of Waco, Edens came to Baylor to play football but was injured one season and did not play his remaining time at Baylor. He graduated from the university in 1940 with a bachelor of business administration degree. He married Louise "Penny" Pennington in 1941, after she graduated from Baylor.

During World War II, Edens worked at the Baytown Ordnance Works. In 1945, he returned to Waco and joined his father-in-law in running Baylor Drug at the corner of Speight Avenue and Fifth Street. It became an institution for generations of Baylor students and served as an unofficial student union building. Edens sold the business in 1981.

In 1960, Edens originated Cabaret at Baylor Homecoming, and he continued to plan and help direct the show for more than 20 years, utilizing the talents of such Baylor alumni as Carol Cook, Grady Nutt, Valerie Goodall and Dennis Swanberg.

Edens was an enthusiastic supporter of the Baylor Alumni Association, serving as its president in 1984. He also served as the association's treasurer for 20 years and was named treasurer emeritus after he retired from those duties.

He was the recipient of the W.R. White Meritorious Award in 1980, was named Honorary Director of the Baylor Golden Wave Band, was given the Baylor Appreciation "Bear" in 1981, was on the board of directors of the Baylor/Waco Foundation and served, with wife Penny, as co-presidents of Heritage Club in 1995-1996. For his staunch support to Baylor over the years, he was made an honorary retiree of Baylor's Retired Professors and Administrators program in 2000.

"Nobody loved Baylor more than Roger or gave more of their time to Baylor than Roger," said Eden's longtime friend Rufus Spain, retired history professor and director of Baylor's Retired Professors and Administrators program.

Also active in the Waco community, Edens served as president of the Waco Quarterback Club and led in building the original Southern Little League Ball Park. He was past master of the Baylor Masonic Lodge and a founding member and deacon at Lake Shore Baptist Church. He also was an avid golfer, who continued to play into his 80s often with Spain.

Edens was preceded in death by his wife, Penny, in 2003.

He is survived by three children, John and David (both Baylor graduates) and Penny Ann, and several grandchildren.

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