Community mourns beloved ‘Mrs. E’ of Beaufort-Port Royal Fire Department

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Former Fire Chief Wendell Wilburn remembers Linda Edgerley not only as someone who was extremely capable and hard working but for one quality in particular.

“She was always looking out for her extended family,” he said, referring to the City of Beaufort-Town of Port Royal Fire Department. “She made sure they had what they needed, when they needed it, and if she didn’t have it immediately, she would certainly fulfill that need.”

Lovingly called “Mrs. E” or “mom” by firefighters and staff, Edgerley served as the department’s executive office manager for 27 years before retiring in 2009.

Edgerley, 74, who had chronic lung disease, died at her home on Sept. 30.

Wilburn, who hired Edgerley in 1982, said she was instrumental not only with the day-to-day needs of the fire house – from the paperwork all new hires filled out to everyday budgetary needs – but in building relationships with the community and the city as well.

“She had some great relationships at city hall because she had to be there almost everyday to take paperwork over,” he said. “She was a huge asset.”

Edgerley was also present during a time of great change, Wilburn said. This included the building of the new station on Ribaut Road and the adding of new fire trucks and new equipment including radios and protective gear that followed.

“She was given a lot to deal with, but she handled it smoothly and seamlessly,” Wilburn said. “It would have been difficult to do our jobs without her. No doubt it about it.”

Her deep devotion to the men and women who came through the fire department may have come from her own experience with personal loss, many have said.

The Edgerleys’ young son, Bruce, died in 1990, after being struck in the chest by a baseball at batting practice.

Current fire chief Reece Bertholf, who worked with Edgerley for about 10 years before she retired, remembers the level of commitment and devotion Edgerley had.

“The dedication in her was as strong as it was in many of our firefighters,” he said.

Bertholf said the department had some 33 firefighters when she retired, and she took care of all of them and whatever the needs were at the firehouse.

“If we needed shopping done or laundry soap, she would go and make those purchases,” he said.

Edgerley would also show up at fires with coffee for the firefighters.

“Then she would be back at the fire house when we got back to make sure the reports were getting done,” he said. “It wasn’t odd to see her at the station at the odd hours that firefighters had to work.”

Edgerley was laid to rest at Beaufort Memorial Gardens, on Oct. 4. She is survived by her husband, Donald “Don” Edgerley, also of Beaufort.

Photo courtesy of City of Beaufort/Town of Port Royal Fire Department.

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