Franklin Dean Edwards was born on September 19, 1931 in his parents farmhouse north of Pawnee, Oklahoma. The home sat on land obtained by his grandfather in the Oklahoma Land Run. He was the first born child of Glen and Lela Edwards. Dean grew up knowing the hard life of farming in a time period when it was not an easy vocation. His childhood was in the midst of the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl days. He watched the transition occur from using horses to a tractor. The idea of operating a tractor entrenched itself in his life. Deans childhood was a time when every person on the farm maintained responsibilities so that everyone contributed to the success and survival of all. His chores started early in life as well as early each day. He attended school in the Masham Farm District; Ralston, OK and Pawnee, OK. He graduated from Pawnee High School in 1949. Dean was baptized along with his best friend when they were 17 in the Pawnee First Christian Church.
In his words, Dad met the most beautiful woman in the world, Shirley Arlene Estes, in Blackwell, Oklahoma. He courted her and married Shirley on July 28, 1952. They established a home in Lawton, OK and then in Blackwell.
After serving in the U. S. Army (1953-1955) stationed at Fort Sill, OK reaching the rank of Staff Sergeant, Dean became a bulldozer and grader operator in the Kay County area of Oklahoma. He was in the Air Force Reserves from 1955-1958. He also worked as a roughneck on oil derrick crews.
Dean and Shirley made the move to Santa Maria, California in August 1965. After operating heavy equipment for local companies, A. J. Ferrini and later with C. Sanchez and Son, Dean made the decision to start his own business. He eventually added his son, Doug as a partner to form the land leveling and custom farming company, Edwards and Son. Dean believed in a solid work ethic. He knew that God Blessed him through his labors. He worked hard all of his life with a proud mile stone of working 70 hours the week he turned 70 years old. His efforts were always related to successfully providing for his family. Deans reputation in doing the job right the first time and going beyond the customers expectations was well known in Santa Barbara County. Whether building reservoirs in the vineyard hills or leveling land in the valley floor or cutting roads in the coast hills, Dean was a skillful master operating heavy equipment. He loved being a magician with machines interacting with land and the soil of the good earth. He respected the many farmers and ranchers of the Santa Maria Valley and loved the agricultural potential of the Central Coast.
Dean is survived by his wife of 62 years, Shirley , his son Mike and Sigrun Edwards of Zweibrcken, Germany, his son Jeff and Susan Edwards of Edmond, Oklahoma, his daughter Paula and Lee Neidengard of Kauai, Hawaii, and his son and business partner, Doug and Barbara Edwards of Santa Maria. He is also survived by six grandchildren who loved their Papa: Joshua (Jennifer), Christine, Diana (Zak), Katelin, Ashley and Tyler; and a beautiful, great granddaughter, Matilda Grace. He is also survived by his two brothers, Bob (Wilma) of Carrollton, Texas and Dwayne (Beverly) of Tulsa, Oklahoma, sister Nila (Virgil) Anderson of Drumright, Oklahoma and nieces and nephews.
Services will be held at 1:00 p.m., Friday, April 4, 2014 at Poteet Funeral Chapel, Pawnee, Oklahoma. Interment will be at Masham Cemetery, Masham, Oklahoma, under the direction of Poteet Funeral Home, Pawnee, Oklahoma.