Born in Madera, California, on January 29, 1944, Loretta was the fourth of ten children born to John and Ruby Edwards. The church was a big part of the Edwards family, and like her other siblings, Loretta was baptized at a young age at Ebenezer Apostolic Church in Madera.
Loretta attended Pershing Elementary School and Thomas Jefferson Junior High School before graduating from Madera Union High School in 1962. Following graduation, she attended Fresno City College.
Loretta started her career at Madera Unified School District (MUSD) as a teacher’s aide at Sierra Vista Elementary School when an administrator thought she had the perfect voice for a receptionist. She applied and was offered the position at the district office. For the next forty-one years, Loretta held several positions at MUSD, including executive assistant to superintendents and other district leaders.
As she was promoted within the ranks of Madera Unified, Loretta discovered a knack for helping others and the joy it brought people. She parlayed this passion into becoming involved with the California School Employees Association (CSEA), the largest classified school employees labor union in the United States. After years of serving the membership in various capacities, it voted her president of the Madera chapter, a position she held for several years. She won numerous awards and accolades during her tenure as president, including the Walter H. Bruce Award for outstanding political service. Even after she retired from the district in 2007, she remained active in CSEA and continued assisting and advising people ad hoc. In honor of Loretta’s service to the community and the employees of Madera Unified, the MUSD Personnel Commission created the “Loretta Edwards Employee of the Year Award.” The award recognizes one classified employee who embodied the qualities that made Loretta a treasured district employee, including exemplifying outstanding leadership qualities, dedication to the district, and commitment to students and community involvement.
With more time to devote to community service after her retirement, Loretta ran for the Madera Unified School District Board of Education in 2010. Family and friends enthusiastically joined her campaign. Although her bid was unsuccessful, she was proud to have run a competitive race, missing her opportunity to represent Area 7 by a minuscule percentage.
Though Loretta had some health challenges over the years, she did not let them hinder her from the things she enjoyed, including shopping, cooking, Table Mountain, and spending time with friends and family, especially her nieces and nephews.
Loretta is preceded in death by her parents; four brothers, Winton, Sanford, Willie, and Ruben Edwards; two nephews, Will Lee Edwards, Arnold Ruben Edwards, Jr.; and two nieces, Frances Hopson and Helen Amanda Edwards.
She leaves to honor her memory, three sisters, Norma Vaughn (James) of Madera, Sandra Edwards of Madera, Darlene Crowder of Phoenix, AZ; two brothers, Elvin Edwards (Tari) of Madera, and Milton Edwards (Teresa) of Elk Grove, CA. Loretta took great pride in being an aunt, serving as a second mother to her nieces and nephews.
She will be forever missed and loved by all who knew her.
Funeral service will be held on, Wednesday, January 26, 2022, 11:00 a.m. at Jay Chapel, Madera, CA
Interment to follow at Arbor Vitae Cemetery, Madera, CA
Masks are required for those attending the funeral.
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