James Arthur Edmondson


James Arthur Edmondson, 86, was born August 11, 1934, he entered eternal rest on April 2, 2021. James was born and raised in the historic Promise Land community near Charlotte, Tennessee where he received his early formal education at Promise Land Elementary School (a one-room schoolhouse now on the National Register of Historic Places) and Hampton High School, Dickson, Tennessee. As a young man he moved north and completed his education in Columbus Public Schools along with classes at The Ohio State University. He married his childhood sweetheart, the late Mary (Nesbitt) Edmondson. Together they had four children and shared 45 years of marriage. In Promise Land, James was a member of St. John Methodist Church; James, Mary and children were members of Asbury North United Methodist Church in Columbus.

James was known for being industrious; he often worked two jobs at the same time. Most of his employment was in public service, starting with positions at University Hospital and London Correctional Institute, ultimately retiring from a career with Columbus Recreation & Parks where he was the first African American promoted to Foreman I. His father Theo, grandfather Jim, and several uncles were recognized as “top” carpenters in Dickson County. James followed in their footsteps as an entrepreneur carpenter who was well-known in Columbus & Bexley for his attention to detail and perfection. He was also a real estate investor both in Columbus and in Tennessee. Before the age of 30, he purchased his first family home in Linden. Before the age of 40, he had a custom-built home and multiple investment properties.

James and Mary loved to cruise, travel, and spend time with friends and family. In later years, he especially enjoyed the guitar and playing with Jackson his 3-year-old great-grandson.

James is preceded in death by parents, Lizzie and Theodore Edmondson; wife, Mary Nesbitt Edmondson; infant son (twin to Bruce), Brian Edmondson; daughter, Dr. Ardis Edmondson-Holt; sister, Wilma Edmondson Talley; brothers, Lory and Douglas Edmondson; mother and father-in-law, Gracie and Ernest Nesbitt.

James leaves to cherish his memory, daughter, Cynthia Edmondson; son, Bruce Edmondson; devoted son-in-law, David Holt; devoted special daughter, Kathleen Lewis; grandchildren, Chaniqua Edmondson, Brian (Christina) Holt, and Lauren Holt; great grandson, Jackson Theodore Hopkins; sisters, S. Bernice Heard, Helen Hughes, and Sylvia Edmondson-Holt; brothers-in-law, Bobby Nesbitt and Revered Dr. Sokoto Fulani; sisters-in-law, Nancy (Michael) Winfield and Veronica Nesbitt; long time special friend, Dorothy Ragland and family; the entire Holt family; and a host of devoted nieces, nephews, cousins, Godchildren, and dear friends.

James’ mother Lizzie was one of the founders of the Promise Land Community Club now known as the Promise Land Heritage Association (PLHA). James donated land, labor, funds and love to the preservation and improvement of this historic site. In lieu of flowers, donations are welcome to the Promise Land Heritage Association www.promiselandtn.com

Visitation 10:00am and Funeral 11:00am Saturday, April 17, 2021 at MARLAN GARY FUNERAL HOME, THE CHAPEL OF PEACE EAST, 5456 E. Livingston Ave.

Interment at Green Lawn Cemetery.


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Condolence Messages

  1. My prayers are with the family. Mr. Edmondson was a nice man.

    • Sylvia Edmondson-Holt

      We appreciate your prayers. This truly is a trying time for the whole family. He was the glue in a sense that kept us together. We learned so much from him and depended on him. He loved us and was proud of his family and friends. Thanks so much.

  2. Carolyn Holmes

    My heart was heavy and I was saddened to learn of the passing of my dear friend one known to our family (the Holmes Family) as cousin Jim. Jim and Mary, who was a distant cousin, were very special people. I will cherish the memories of Cousin Jim and will never forget all of the special favors and kind deeds shown to me and the entire family. I will pray God’s comfort for Bruce, Cynthia, Dave,grandchildren and the sisters.

    • Sylvia Edmondson-Holt

      This truly is a trying time for the whole family. He was the glue in a sense that kept us together. We learned so much from him. He was an awesome brother, father, grandfather, uncle, etc. He loved us and was proud of his family and friends. Thanks so much for your concern.

  3. Yvonne (Biddy) Robertson

    Sincere condolences to the Edmondson Family, my family in the loss of cousin James Arthur. Before his illness, if no one came to visit James would come to visit. Always talking and smiling always kept in touch and never departed without saying “You look more like your mother everyday”. He will truly be missed. May the sweet memories you hold be of comfort during this trying time. Love you all.

  4. Wilma jean Hughes

    So sorry for family lose…”but” Absent from the body…present with the Lord.
    Praying comfort for family.
    Much love to all.

  5. Thank you so much for your concern for the Edmondson family. We are truly going to miss my brother. He loved us all so much and always was ready to lend a hand be a word of wisdom or physical he was ready to help.

  6. Dorothy Ragland & family

    Our family sends our deepest condolences in your time of loss. James was a true friend to our family. As you send him home, let your hearts be filled with wonderful memories of the joyful times. And celebrate his life well lived.

  7. Sylvia.. Helen.. And the EDMONDSON FAMILY.. SO SORRY FOR YOUR LOSS..

  8. Veronica Nesbitt

    This is a very difficult one for me, my friend and brother in-law. This man James took care of my families for every broken whatever, always coming to our rescue. I am so thankful for my last zoom visit with him on March 1st. Thanks to Chaniqua and Kathy, also much thanks to Dave a devoted Son In-law. To Cynthia, Bruce, Chaniqua, his siblings, I know you are hurting because I am, his godchild my granddaughter Bethany and all those nieces, nephews and cousins and special friends just know he is resting in his heavenly home. Now reunited with his wife Mary, daughter Ardis, and son Brian. The Bible said “ To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord”Rest in Peace my friend, much love and respect, and many great memories of you.
    Veronica Nesbitt, Sister In-Law
    Plano, Texas

  9. Lisa Montgomery

    Our heartfelt prayers are with the entire Edmondson Family. Mr. James was a wonderful, pleasant, peace loving man. His smile alone could light up the room. The last time we saw him was at the reunion in Promise Land enjoying family and friends. My Mother and I want to let Ms. Bernice, Ms. Helen, Ms. Sylvia, Stephanie, Lauretta, Stevie and the rest of the Nashville, Tennessee family members know that we are here for you all. Cherish the great memories and allow that remaining love to fill your hearts. May God’s comfort and care continue to sustain you.
    With Love,
    Joyce and Lisa Montgomery

  10. Gloria Keesee-Scott

    We are all healed through Jesus, the Savior of our souls. Through faith we know Jesus heals; He cleansed us, and continue to make us whole. We shall have whatever we ask, if we ask in Jesus name. Continue to ask for healing in the name of Jesus.

    WE are all praying for the healing of the hearts and souls of the entire Edmondson Family.
    We love you all,
    Gloria Scott & the Keesee Family
    Detroit, MI

  11. Debra Edmondson and family

    Cousins my heart is heavy for you all. I wish I could be there with you for family healing.
    James was loved by all who met him. A wonderful legacy . We will always hold on to all our
    memories of him that make us smile. Love to all of you. Rest well James. Glory comes in the morning.

  12. William (Fred)rick Woods

    I am sorry about your loss of Mr. James Edmondson. He was a true friend of my parents, Mr. and Mrs. Oscar Lee Woods, Sr. He will be dearly missed.

  13. Shenna Edmondson-Blackwell

    My family, my thoughts and prayers are with you in your time of grief. The last time I spoke with James is when I called to give my condolences when Ardis passed. He’ll be missed.

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