In Memory of Col. Carroll A. Edson

Posted in Scouting News by John E. Pannell on October 31st, 2006 at 7:42 am

Joseph Buchanan reminded us on arrow-l that twenty years ago this past  week, October 25, 1986, Carroll A. Edson passed away.     He is often the forgotten Founder of the Order of the Arrow, being relegated to “co-founder” status behind the much more gregarious E. Urner Goodman.       Regardless, his contributions to the Order and  Scouting were great.  

Joseph shared with us a 1986 article from the Syracuse Post-Standard, which contained several interesting details about Edson’s life that I am sure are not commonly known to Arrowmen.     The text of the article follows:

Carroll Andrew Edson, the 94-year old retired manager of the Social Security Administration’s Syracuse office, died Oct. 25 1986.

Colonel Edson managed the SSA office for 25 years. During that time, he taught “Retirement: A Second Career” courses in the Syracuse School District’s Adult Education Division, chaired the Syracuse Kiwanis Club’s Senior Citizens Committee and organized and served as first president of the Onondaga County Chapter of the American Association of Retired Persons.

The memory of Col. Carroll A. Edson is of a distinguished gentleman of military bearing that was in full command of himself and his assigned and acquired responsibilities He was action oriented.

Only the sluggish pace of the bureaucratic process could slow his campaign, “To show the aging that they can still lead useful and satisfying lives and not be relegated to the scrap heap.”

Mr. Edson born December 29th, 1891 and was a 1914 Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Dartmouth College. In 1931 he received his master’s degree from Columbia University. He was an executive with the Boy Scouts of America from 1915 to 1931 in Philadelphia, Chicago and Jersey City, N.J. He was co-founder of the Order of the Arrow, the scout honorary society, and remained active with scouting through most of his life.

Mr. Edson served as a captain in the Army during World War I and as a colonel during World War II. Colonel Edson’s military experience dates

back to 1917 when he attended the first officer’s training camp at Plattsburg. He served throughout World War I with the 77th Division and in 1932 attended the Infantry School at Fort Benning, Ga., and the Command and General Staff School at Fort Leavenworth in 1936. He was promoted to the rank of Colonel in 1938 and recalled to active duty as an instructor at the Command and General Staff School, Fort Leavemvorth, Kan., in 1940.

He also served in the Army Reserves and was a member of the Retired Officer’s Association and the “Retreads,” an organization of men who served in both World Wars. Mr. Edson was the author of the Edson Family Genealogy and organized the Edson Family Association.

Mr. Edson retired in 1961 as manager of the Syracuse office of the Social Security Administration, where he was employed since 1937. For two years prior to his appointment as manager of the Social Security office he served as educational program director for the Civilian Conservation Corps and was also educational adviser for the Fourth Corps Area Headquarters at Atlanta, Ga.

Mr. Edson was active in the local and national levels of the Congregational Church and was a delegate to the Second General Synod of the United Church of Christ. He was a member of Kiwanis International, the American-Association of Retired Persons, the National Association of Retired Federal Employees and the National Association of Retired Civil Employees. Mr. Edson was general chairman of the American Red Cross campaign in Onondaga County.

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"One should guard against preaching to young people success in the customary form as the main aim in life. The most important motive for work in school and in life is pleasure in work, pleasure in its result, and the knowledge of the value of the result to the community. "
Albert Einstein


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