John Thomas Edwards, Ph.D., was born on January 14, 1941 in Fort Valley, Georgia to his parents, Raynell and John Thomas Edwards, Sr. He spent his youth there, working in the family department store and peach orchard business. From an early age he had a deep appreciation for the natural world which he maintained all of his life.
Graduating from Emory University in 1963 with a degree in psychology, John enlisted in the United States Navy and served in Vietnam, as a personnel officer in Saigon with the task of writing letters to the families of those who died. After his service he returned to Atlanta where he worked for the Georgia State Government as a Job Analyst. He entered graduate school in 1973 at the University of Georgia and earned an M.S. in Psychology and a Ph.D in Counseling Psychology in 1977.
From 1978 to 1981, John worked in Charleston, South Carolina as staff psychologist at the Charleston County Substance Abuse Commission, and at the Franklin Fetter Family Health Center where he was Director of the Department of Counseling and Therapy. In 1981 John came to North Carolina where he found and pursued his life's work.
John was an approved supervisor in the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) and conducted and supervised family therapy for over 30 years. He worked diligently with school systems and served as director of counseling in a family health center, clinical director of an inpatient family care program, private practitioner in marriage and family therapy, and co-founder of a learning center for family therapy. He served as adjunct faculty at Duke University Medical Center.
John conducted hundreds of training events in the U.S. and Canada over his career, personally introducing family systems theory and practice to individuals, agencies, and institutions in the American South that would otherwise have remained entrenched in static approaches to creating change.
Authoring and meticulously revising numerous books on working with families from the sanctuary of Foundation Place, his hilltop retreat in Durham, North Carolina, John always endeavored to frame his insight within the simplest, most intuitive language possible; his latest book, "Working With Families," was published by John Wiley & Sons October, 2011.
John was a cherished teacher, colleague, mentor, friend and companion, who died at the age of 70, on Thursday, November 10, 2011, at Durham Regional Hospital due to complications from leukemia.. Everyone who knew him was influenced in a deep and lasting way and he will be greatly missed.