Obituary: Edwards, trustee emeritus, 77

Benjamin F. Edwards III, trustee emeritus and former chairman, chief executive officer and president of A.G. Edwards Inc., died April 20, 2009, at his home in Naples, Fla., of prostate cancer. He was 77.

Edwards, who presided over A.G. Edwards as it grew from a St. Louis regional brokerage firm into one of the largest in the nation, was the great-grandson of the company’s founder, Albert Gallatin Edwards. Benjamin Edwards joined the firm in 1956 after graduating from Princeton University and serving as an officer in the U.S. Navy.

Edwards was named the firm’s managing partner in 1966 and president in 1967, and he became chairman emeritus in March 2001. Under Edwards’ leadership, A.G. Edwards grew from 44 offices and 300 financial consultants in 1965 to nearly 700 offices and 7,000 financial consultants in 2001.

Edwards also was a member of WUSTL’s Board of Trustees for 22 years. He was elected to the board in 1987 and became emeritus trustee in 2004.

While on the Board of Trustees, Edwards served as a member of the development, medical finance, asset management, investments, undergraduate life and compensation committees.

He also served on WUSTL’s Undergraduate Experience National Council from 1998-2007 and the Social Work National Council from 1996-2005 and was an early supporter and advocate for the Danforth University Center.

“Ben Edwards was an outstanding civic leader and a wonderful person. He will be deeply missed,” Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton said. “In his role on the Board of Trustees, he provided wise and thoughtful guidance. He will be remembered as a great leader and a true friend.”

Edwards also was a chairman of what is now known as the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association and served on the board of the New York Stock Exchange. He also served on the board of directors at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Benjamin Edwards Inc., a brokerage company started by his son, Benjamin “Tad” F. Edwards IV.

Active in the St. Louis community, Edwards was a chairman and longtime board member of the United Way of Greater St. Louis and longtime member of the Civic Progress Board of Directors. He chaired the Civic Progress Education Committee for 15 years, working to involve local businesses in public education. He was named the St. Louis Variety Club’s Man of the Year in 1992.

Edwards is survived by his wife of nearly 56 years, Joan Moberly Edwards; two sons; two daughters; two sisters; and 11 grandchildren.