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Erskine community saddened by death of retired professor

Dr. Mary Lang Olson Edwards, who taught biology at Erskine College from 1989 to 2014, died Monday, Sept. 13. A graduate of Agnes Scott College, she was awarded a Ph.D. in biology at Clemson University.

In addition to classroom teaching, she led students, faculty, staff members, and alumni on numerous trips in the United States and abroad to study ecosystems and natural habitats. She served as a mentor to many students and kept in touch with them.

Her study of box turtles and their homing abilities was well known in the Erskine community. She worked with students to monitor box turtles on a 20-acre plot of land in a residential neighborhood near her home in the Greenville, S.C. area. During that long-running project, turtles were fitted with transmitters, allowing them to be tracked in a location process called “radio telemetry.” She told the story of that work in an account she wrote for South Carolina Wildlife, published by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.

Edwards was a member of First Presbyterian Church in Greenville, S.C., and volunteered at Neighborhood Focus and Triune Mercy Center. Her care for others extended across the globe. Recently, an African woman—whose college education Edwards had funded—named her firstborn child Mary Lang.

Survivors include her husband of 55 years, Thomas W. Edwards, Jr.; her son Thomas W. Edwards III and his wife, Hollye, and their children, Ford and Elison; and her son Christopher S. Edwards.

Services will be held Friday, Sept. 17, at 2 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church, 200 W. Washington Street, Greenville, South Carolina, with visitation to follow.

See the full obituary at

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