GREENFIELD — When Greenfield-Central wrestling coach Josh Holden first met Terry Edon, nearly 12 years ago, it felt like the two were already lifelong friends.
Humble, personable and good-natured, Edon, the program’s first-ever state champion in 1979, didn’t dictate the conversation or interject his vision for the wrestling team.
Instead, Edon listened. He was genuine, Holden recalled. Edon offered his support to the first-year coach, even though he had no obligation to do so as a wrestling legend in Greenfield.
His kindness was just as overpowering as his renown double-leg takedown, Greenfield-Central assistant coach Ed Hamant said. It was instinctive, natural.
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“You didn’t walk past Terry without having a conversation,” Holden said. “That was Terry’s personality. He talked to anyone, everyone, everywhere, even when he had some place to go. Some people have that gift, and he did. Everyone loved him.”
The outpouring from the Greenfield community for Edon and his family the past 24 hours mirrored the competitor’s and local businessman’s unselfish nature.
Edon, who many credit for the success of Greenfield-Central wrestling the past four decades, died on Tuesday night at Community North Hospital in Indianapolis after suffering a cardiac arrest at his home in Greenfield on Sunday. He was 54.
He is survived by his wife, Cheryl (Caughman) Edon; children Logan and Lacie; brothers Barry (Renee) Edon and Alan (Sherry) Edon, sister Carol Ann (Gary) Pence; several nieces and nephews; and his parents Hall and Creola (Bean) Edon.
However, his family stretches well beyond, said Hamant, in part because of his passion for wrestling and for his generosity as a fun-loving businessman.
Edon owned Signarama, a custom sign and banner shop in Greenfield. He was nominated for the 2015 Businessman of the Year award by the Greater Greenfield Chamber of Commerce, President Retta Livengood said. The honor is handed out annually to the county’s most influential business owners.
Edon and his wife opened their business in 2011, but what made him an outstanding member of the community was his eagerness to give back, Livengood said.
He prided himself on hiring local residents and assisting those willing to work hard, much like he made routine inside and out of the wrestling room.
Though highly-recognizable for his athletics achievements, which led him to Southern Illinois University and the University of Indianapolis after high school, Edon never bragged about the past.
“That just wasn’t Terry,” said Mark Nance, describing his friend’s humble nature. “He had the biggest heart of anyone I knew. He is going to be missed by a lot of people.”
The imprint he has left will keep his memory fresh for generations to come, said Gary Pence, Edon’s former high school coach and brother-in-law.
Only the second state qualifier and place winner in Greenfield-Central history after Kin Waldrep in 1977, Edon went a perfect 29-0 as a senior to clinch the 155-pound state title.
“He showed people the way. We had quality wrestlers before him, but I think he is the one that showed guys how to get to that state championship level,” Holden said. “The slew of guys we had after him, who had at least the potential to win a state title, was remarkable.”
Edon’s triumph sparked a run of 46 state qualifiers and 20 state placers the past 37 years, including the school’s second state champion in Josh Farrell at 152 pounds. Farrell, a four-time state-place winner, won the title with a flawless 48-0 record in 2013.
“He’s a big part of the program, and a lot of the kids take pride in the history and tradition,” said Hamant, who joined the team initially as a volunteer assistant when Edon was a senior. “He wrestled at a time when the team wasn’t very good, so any recognition we got was him. He blazed a trail.”
Edon appreciated history more than anything, Hamant said.
After compiling the team’s storied tradition and statistics while serving as an assistant since the late 1970s, Hamant approached Edon to help him furnish the school’s wrestling room to motivate today’s and tomorrow’s Cougars.
Edon didn’t hesitate.
“All the record boards we have up in the room, he made those, and the life-sized likenesses of him and Josh (Farrell), too,” Hamant said. “He did it for next to nothing. He just loved wrestling.”
He enjoyed every moment he was on the mat as well, Pence shared.
From jokingly asking how his hair looked before a big match to giving his coach a confident gaze before devastating an opponent, Edon was goofy, as a teenager would be, but he rarely lost focus.
“Josh (Ferrell) asked me once, if he and Terry wrestled in their prime, who would win?,” Hamant recalled. “I told him, ‘he would probably win because he had a more varied offense, but he’d get you a couple times with his double leg.'”
Edon’s offense catapulted him to greatness at Greenfield-Central, said those who both respected and feared the fierce quickness he displayed.
“Terry had a Jordan Burroughs-like double leg. It was incredible,” Pendleton Heights head coach Dave Cloud reminisced. “The threat of the double leg is what scored him wins. As big a beast as he was on the mat, he was just the nicest guy you’ve ever met, but that double leg, it was like getting hit by a freight train. You were terrified of it.”
Cloud was the recipient of countless Edon strikes as a high school wrestler during his era, but the most memorable came in the state tournament’s semistate against his Pendleton teammate Tom Kennedy.
Considered the state’s two best wrestlers that year, Edon’s legacy instantly became synonymous with six seconds.
During the match, Edon built an early lead only watch it vanish late against the Oklahoma recruit. Down 7-6 with six seconds left after the duo grappled out of bounds, halting the clock, Edon and Kennedy started in the neutral position.
“That’s when they had to lineup on opposite sides of the circle, not like they do now where they are a foot-and-half apart,” Hamant said.
Once the match resumed, Edon faked a double leg, forcing Kennedy to sprawl. Edon quickly circled and scored the match’s decisive two-points.
“Terry looked at me and nodded like normal. He did a duck under, double leg, the referee hit two, and the buzzer went off,” Pence said. “Kennedy couldn’t believe it.
“The ref kind of looked at me when he gave the two with a ‘you’ve got to be kidding me’ look. Everybody knew then he was going to be a state champion.”
In the state title match, he beat Muncie Southside’s David Palmer by decision 3-2, one of the future Iowa State wrestler’s two career losses in high school. Palmer went on to win three straight state titles without a loss.
“It’s kind of funny; 10 or 15 years later, Palmer came into our room to a practice for an ROTC thing, and he saw Terry’s name up on the wall. He said, ‘I only lost two matches in high school, and I have to come to the one place where there was a guy that beat me,'” Hamant laughed.
When wrestlers walk into the room today, they often go over to Edon’s picture, which hangs, immortalized, next to the words, “State Champions.”
One of the first Greenfield-Central Athletic Hall of Fame inductees along with former Cougars coach Bill Yozipovich, Edon’s name appears on several of the all-time record boards. He remains tied with Farrell in single-season winning percentage and third in career winning percentage with a 55-9 record.
“He always gave back and was totally involved, not only in the Chamber of Commerce and the Rotary Club; he was committed to the athletics community,” said Pence, who spent Tuesday night in the hospital sharing memories with Edon’s former UIndy teammates Jim Tonte and Tony Starks. “He loved wrestling.”
A visitation will be held for Edon from 2 to 6 p.m. on Sunday inside the Pasco Chapel at Stillinger Family Funeral Home located at 1780 W. Main Street in Greenfield.
The memorial service is at the funeral home Monday at 10 a.m. with the burial following at Park Cemetery in Greenfield (621 S. State Street).
A celebration of life will take place after the funeral service at the Greenfield Church of Christ (1380 S. State Street).
— Caitlin VanOverberghe contributed to this article.