Friday, September 15, 2006

"Miss Juanelle"

Yesterday, many of us noted the passing of one of our most famous female leaders, former Texas Gov. Ann Richards. Sadly, today, we need to honor someone who worked mostly outside of the limelight. Nonetheless, she was an important figure in Georgia politics.

Juanelle Edwards of Marietta was a tireless worker for the Democratic party and for many, many Democrat candidates in this state and nationally. Truly a Georgia treasure, "Miss Juanelle" was one of those people that you didn't always hear about. But her presence was well known. All of these events that have to happen in order to promote candidates and raise money for them (the life's blood of campaigns) are largely put on by people like her.

While she enjoyed some notoriaty during the Carter adminstration, Miss Juanelle wasn't someone who needed attention. All she needed was a good cause or a good candidate, and that was enough for her to lay it all out there for her beliefs.

However, more than just Democrats are lovingly recalling Miss Januelle's life and friendship today. Republican US Senator Johnny Isackson is also singing her praises.

From Jon Gillooly's Marietta Daily Journal article:

Carter sent his condolences Thursday afternoon.

"Rosalynn and I send our condolences to the Edwards family," Carter said. "A great supporter and long-time friend, Juanelle was instrumental in my political campaigns and a wonderful advisor when I was in office."

Roy Barnes, who appointed Mrs. Edwards to serve on the advisory board of the Little White House, said he was saddened to learn of her death.

"You know, there are some people who are what I call 'natural resources,'" Barnes said. "We think of natural resources as being mountains and oil and coal, but there are some people who are natural resources - they've lived such a deep life and affected so many people that they are living natural resources, and Juanelle Edwards is one of those.I know of no person who could call among her friends on a first-name basis presidents of the United States and governors, but had a wit that made us all remember what a wonderful person she was, and I deeply regret her passing."

Former U.S. Rep. Buddy Darden (D-Marietta) who served from 1983 to 1994 said Mrs. Edwards was the chief reason he decided to run for the office."She was a dear, dear friend and probably more than anyone else responsible for my decision to run for Congress in 1983," Darden said. "She was the lynchpin of the Democratic Party in Cobb for years, and probably the most well-known Democrat in Cobb County. She was one of a kind, and we're all going to miss her."

U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson (R-east Cobb) said Mrs. Edwards crossed party lines to become a good friend of his."Juanelle Edwards was one of the most energetic people I ever knew," Isakson said, noting they served together in such organizations as the Salvation Army and the Boys and Girls Club.Isakson said he even filled in for her a few times to teach her famous Sunday school class.

"She will be remembered for her humor, her red hair, her compassion and her wit," Isakson said, confirming rumors that he was the first Republican Mrs. Edwards ever voted for."That's what she told me and I never knew Juanelle to lie," Isakson said.


ET said...

My aunt was a running buddy of Miss Juanelle - they both were officers in the Democratic Women of Cobb County. One time at a concert in the park my aunt introduced me to Juanelle and I was impressed that she shut off every body around her and focused completely on me. For 2 or 3 minutes I was the only person that mattered to her as she talked to me about a few topical subjects. And she did the same with my wife Anna. I was just as impressed when a couple years later at another concert on the Square in Marietta she came up and hugged us and addressed us by our names like she really missed us. She knew how to make one feel they mattered.

Button Gwinnett said...

Thanks for that story Eddie! She was truly a character and a lady that left a mark.

I'm guessing your aunt is sporty lil lady herself. ;-)

ET said...

She is (my aunt). She is aboout age 80 now, and has 12 grown children. I was talking to her at a funeral when another cousin walked up and asked for one of her son's cell phone number. Without hesitation she told him. I can't even keep up with 4 numbers.
She also owns a real estate company.