Msgt. William Roberts Edinger, Sr., 79, of Belleville, passed away Sunday, March 29, at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Belleville.
Mr. Bill Edinger was the son of Clyde C. Edinger, a Baptist Minister, and Helen Roberts Edinger, a loving wife and secretary. He was known to most as Mr. E and was a loving husband, brother, father, father-in-law, grandfather, great-grandfather, brother-in-law, cousin, uncle, soldier, friend, coach and co-worker. He was born in Welcome, N.C., and lived his early life in the Piedmont area.
After graduating high school, he set off to Wake Forest University where he started his education, changed the course of his life and joined the Air Force. He married his wife of 58 years in Texas on Sept. 21, 1957, meeting her while stationed in Houston at Ellington AFB, and started his amazing journey through life traveling the United States and the world with his family. He retired from the Air Force as Master Sargent after 24 years in 1985 where he specialized in electronics (PMEL) and secret work on microwave monitoring systems. In 1993 he took on the role of Maintenance Technician at the United States Postal Service and continued on there until present and was on leave at the time of his passing.
During his life he had many great achievements. His greatest legacy is his children and grandchildren. The boys and girls he mentored, and to whom he devoted time as a coach, will remember him always. He achieved his college degree from SIU at the age of 53. He also left a legacy in his work on the design of the F4 Phantom Fighter Jet during his tenure at McDonnell Douglas in the mid-1960s. He and his team helped to create the deceleration parachute system that slowed the aircraft for landing on short runways diversifying the theater in which it was able to be deployed.
He was a Scout Leader in St. Louis and in the Far East at Kanto Mura and Yokota Air Base in the late 60’s to 1976. He coached youth teams as head coach and league organizer on six military installations and twice coached more than one team at a time making up the gap to ensure the success of the program for the youth. He taught English in Japan from 1972-75 and was renowned for his story telling abilities. He was an umpire, referee and linesman covering the sports he loved baseball, football, basketball and softball and was well respected for his skills at the Coors Complex in Denver.
Mr. Edinger lived a great adventure and will be missed.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Clyde and Helen Edinger, nee Roberts.
He is survived by his wife, Sandra Edinger, nee Mabry; sister, Cathy Dostmann; children, Helen Hammonds, William Roberts Edinger Jr., Marion Edinger, Clyde Edinger, Scott Edinger, Rachel Edinger and Michael (Jake) Edinger; grandchildren, Brittany Zachary, Cassidy Hammonds, Stefan Edinger, Derek Dunnigan, Dayne Edinger, Amber Russell, Brionna Christiansen, William Hammonds, Amanda Haigood, Felicia Edinger, William Roberts Edinger III, Frejya Edinger, Alexis Russell, Wyatt Gentile, Talon Edinger and Valentin Edinger; and great-grandchildren, Kaylen Cole, Landon Christiansen, Eliah Edinger, Gabriel Cole, Decklan Christiansen and Joseph Zacharie.
Memorials may be made to the Wounded Warrior Project, www.woundedwarriorproject.org. Condolences may be extended online at www.schildknechtfh.com.
At the request of Mr. Edinger’s family, no local services will be held.
Interment will be held at Jersey Baptist Cemetery in Lexington, N.C.
Schildknecht Funeral Home and Cremation Services will handle the arrangements.