Honoring the Life of Erle Edwards Barhamby Representative Ralph Lee Abraham
Posted on 2015-02-10
ABRAHAM. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to celebrate the life of Erle
Edwards Barham, a man who dedicated his life to public service in
Edwards tragically passed away in October. His memory will carry on with his family and friends, and the agricultural community will honor him in March as the newest inductee to the Louisiana Agriculture Hall of Distinction. If you look at his life's work, it is easy to see why.
[[Page H871]] Edwards grew up in Oak Ridge and held degrees from Louisiana State University and the University of Louisiana at Monroe. He farmed cotton, rice, soybeans, and corn in the fields of Louisiana and Mississippi, sowing the initial seeds that would grow into his legacy as a truly great agricultural leader.
His contributions to the agriculture community include service in the Louisiana Cotton Producers Association and the Northeast Louisiana Rice Growers Association. He founded Flying Tiger Aviation, one of the Nation's premier agriculture flight schools, which provides an invaluable service to my district, one of the largest row crop districts in the Nation.
Edwards left his mark on Louisiana history as well. In 1975, he became the first Republican in modern times to be elected to the State senate, a position he pursued so he could create a better life for all Louisianans.
Edwards valued education. He served on the Louisiana Board of Regents, the University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors, and the Louisiana Community and Technical College System Board of Supervisors.
Edwards and his wife, Bennie Berry Barham, were married for 56 years. They had four children: the late Ben Edwards Barham, II; Erle West Barham; Robert Berry Barham; and Amy Barham Westbrook. He was also loved by a number of grandchildren and nieces and nephews.
Mr. Speaker, Louisiana is a better place today because of the contributions that Edwards Barham made to our community. I am honored to have called him a friend, and I know he will be greatly missed.