Transition - Edd Jeffords 1945-2002

Thursday, August 29, 2002

Former Texas Assistant Attorney General Edward "Edd" Jeffords, 56, died of cancer at his home in Austin, Texas on August 24, 2002. Edd was born in Rector, Arkansas on November 28, 1945, to Roy Ezra and Sylvia Belle Jeffords. Due to the untimely death of his father when Edd was five, and his mother's poor health, Edd moved around through his elementary, junior high and high school years among his older sisters' homes, spending most of this time in the Tacoma, Washington area. He graduated from Fife High School in 1963. After high school he spent four years in the United States Air Force, serving in California, Alaska, Texas, and Vietnam in the fields of public information and intelligence. When Edd separated from military service he joined the staff of The Auburn Globe-News as editor. In 1967 he joined the Tacoma News Tribune as Seattle Bureau Chief. During the late 1960s, he produced recordings and concert tours from San Francisco to Vancouver, Canada and wrote for Rolling Stone magazine. In 1972, Edd returned to Arkansas, settling in Eureka Springs. He first worked for local newspapers and then published The Ozark Access Catalog, an original version of the Whole Earth Catalog. He maintained a keen interest in the field of music, producing the Ozark Mountain Folkfair in 1973, the largest traditional/bluegrass music festival ever held in the Ozarks. Edd was captivated by the culture, folklore and history of the Arkansas Ozarks. He cared deeply about the crushing poverty faced by the farm families who lived there. Together with faculty from the University of Arkansas and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, he organized the Conference on Ozark In-migration in 1976. As a result of the findings of this conference, Edd founded the Ozark Institute to provide continuing study and advocacy for appropriate rural development. With the support of his friend, Governor Bill Clinton, he worked tirelessly to address the challenges facing the region. Through the Institute, Edd established KESP, a public radio station, in Eureka Springs; organized the Family Farm Development Service to provide economic assistance to low-income farm families; published Uncertain Harvest, a collection of stories and studies about the hardships facing the folks of the Ozarks; and provided jobs for many residents in the Ozarks. Many of his studies and papers are now part of the rural studies collection at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. While directing the Institute, Edd also completed his BA in political science through the State University of New York at Albany. In the 1990s, Edd served his alma mater as president of the SUNY Alumni Association for four years, and as a member of the University Board of Overseers for an additional six years. In 1983, Edd entered Baylor University School of Law where he served on the Student Bar Association, won Moot Court Competition and served as Executive Editor of the Baylor Law Review. He extended his legal education through graduate studies in international law at Harvard Law School in 1991. Edd was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1985 and the District of Columbia Bar in 2001. He was also admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court, U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals; and U.S. District Court. He was Board Certified in Civil Trial Law in 1989 and Personal Injury Law in 1990 and Board Certified Civil Trial Advocate, National Board of Trial Advocacy, 1995. He was a member of the Travis County and American Bar Associations; Pro Bono College of the State Bar of Texas; Texas-Mexico Bar Association; Texas Trial Lawyers Association; The Association of Trial Lawyers of America; American Judicature Society; Texas Center for Professional Ethics; National Institute of Trial Advocacy; Million Dollar Advocates Forum; and the International Academy of Litigators. He was a Texas Assistant Attorney General from 1985 through 1992 and was in private practice in Austin until his death. Dedicated to travel and international understanding, Edd was also the founder and executive director of the Pan American Educational Foundation, created in 1990 to support cooperative education between North and Central America. Edd is survived by his wife, Bonnie Elliott, the love of his life, whom he married in 1999 after a nine?year, world-wide romance. Dr. Elliott earned her Ph.D. from The University of Texas at Austin and teaches undergraduate and graduate reading courses in the Departments of Curriculum and Instruction and Special Education. He is also survived by his son, Dana Jeffords of Austin; his sisters, Geneva McAbee of Carrollton, Texas and Maxine Klingenberg of Sydney, Australia; his sisters-in-law, Joie Jeffords of Fort Smith, Arkansas and Norma Keistler of Memphis, Tennessee; his brother-in-law, Bill Rushforth of Tacoma, Washington; his aunt and uncle, Wayne and Wanda Dickinson of Marmaduke, Arkansas; his nieces, Judy Feldman of California, Joyce Malamis of Plano, Texas, Alana Klingenberg of Sydney, Australia, Lee Ann La Brie of Scotts Valley, California, Janet Jeffords Parr of Lewisville, Texas, Joni Hansen of Carrollton, Texas, and Jill McAbee of Roger, Arkansas; his nephews, Randy and Denny Rushforth of Gig Harbor, Washington, Randal Thompson of Eureka Springs, Arkansas, John Jeffords of Alameda, California, Glenn Alan Jeffords of Mansfield, Arkansas; 24 great nieces and nephews; many special cousins; and former wives Linda Jeffords of Washington and Judith Williams of Arizona. Preceding him in death are his parents; brothers Clifford Harold and Ovanda Glenn Jeffords; sister Nita Rushforth; brother-in-law Arvol McAbee and nephews Kevan Jeffords and Greg Klingenberg. His ashes will be scattered on the Buffalo River in the Arkansas Ozarks on a date to be announced. Friends and family interested in participating may call (512) 795-9373. Ever a traveler, his last journey will take him from the Buffalo, to the White, to the Arkansas, to the Mississippi, to the sea... His spirit, his love and all that he taught those who were blessed to know him, will comfort and guide us always.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: