James Harlan Edmonds, 95, passed away peacefully in his home on Tuesday October 22, 2019.
He was born on April 30, 1924, near McLouth, KS, the son of James David and Leona Housh Edmonds. He graduated from Winchester High School in 1942 and from Washburn University, Topeka, with a BBA degree in 1955. He was president of the Association of Business Students, was elected to Sagamore Honorary Society, and included in the 1954-55 edition of “Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges.”
He married Joanne Ramy in Emporia, KS on May 27, 1950.
Harlan served in the U.S. Army in Europe during World War II, receiving three Bronze Stars and the Combat Infantry Badge. In 1950 he was recalled to service and served in the Korean conflict as a Technical Sergeant.
He moved to Topeka in 1947 and entered the insurance business. He served as Executive Director for Kansas Life Underwriters Association and retired from New England Life Insurance Co. in 1982. From 1958-1968, he was manager and part-owner of Culligan Water Conditioning Co.
Harlan was a 70-year member of the First Presbyterian Church, where he served as a trustee, deacon, and elder. He was also a chairman of the Presbytery of Northern Kansas Budget and Personnel Committees, a member of its Committee of Ministry, and the Presbytery’s delegate to General Assembly.
He served as a member of the Finance Committee of the Presbyterian Synod of Mid-America and on the Advisory Board for the Topeka Presbyterian Manor.
Additionally, Harlan was a member of Scottish Rite, the Clown Unit of the Arab Shrine, and a 70-year member of Masonic Lodge #17. He was past-president and member of the Topeka Board of Directors of Cosmopolitan International Service Club and a charter member of Mid-America and Topeka Sawdusters Associations, Ducks Unlimited, and Quail Unlimited. Other memberships included American Legion Post #1, VFW Post #1650, Elks BPOE Lodge, and the Swinging Squares Dance Club. He served many years as Republican precinct committeeman. Hunting, fishing, and gardening were his passions.
He is survived by his wife Joanne; sons James Kirk (Ruth) Edmonds of Irving, TX and Daryl Wayne (Tomma) Edmonds of Denver, CO; five grandchildren, James Kirk (Laura) Edmonds II, Elizabeth Edmonds, Courtney (Alex) Harris, Tiffany Edmonds, and Corbin (Sheila) Edmonds; and 3 great grandchildren, Audrey Harris, Samantha Edmonds, and James Harlan Edmonds, his namesake. He was preceded in death by his brother, David Wayne Edmonds.
A memorial service will be held on Friday, October 25 at 10 a.m. at Topeka First Presbyterian Church, 817 SW Harrison Street, Topeka, KS 66612. Memorial contributions may be made to Youth Program, Topeka First Presbyterian Church, 817 SW Harrison Street, Topeka, KS 66612; or to a charity of the donor’s choice, in lieu of flowers.
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