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Edward Lee Wittner, 89, of Waco, passed away, Wednesday, October 2, 2019. A Celebration of his life will be 1:30 pm, Saturday, October 19, 2019 at Columbus Avenue Baptist Church. A Visitation will be 5:00 – 7:00 pm, Friday, October 4, 2019 at Grace Gardens Funeral Home. A family interment will be 10:30 am, Saturday, October 5, 2019 at Cottonwood Cemetery.
Ed Wittner was born October 10, 1929, in Waco, Texas, to Robert and Lillie Wittner. Being the only child of a Baptist minister, he came to know Jesus Christ at an early age. Ed supported his father when he traveled as a district area missionary in the West Texas region.
Growing up in Alpine, Texas, he learned the trumpet, was the high school drum major, played football, basketball, tennis, ran track and was involved in FFA. Much of his youth was spent on the grounds of Paisano Baptist Encampment, where his parents built their home, which is still there today. Ed dearly loved this encampment, its history and the ministry it provided. He returned every summer to direct or lead in some capacity for nearly 67 years. For him it was considered holy ground.
Ed went to Baylor from 1947-’51, where he met Dolores Merlene Davis. While at Baylor he discovered his God-given talent for singing and used it for the glory of God. He directed music in small community churches before being called to full-time ministry. He served in seven churches for over 50 years, developing music programs and leading numerous choirs, ensemble and hand bells in each one. Lamesa and Plainview would prove his greatest legacies for music and ministry among the talented youth he served. Many would go on to serve God through his example. While in Plainview from ’66 to ’76, he led the way with contemporary music, touring his youth choirs on numerous mission trips throughout Mexico and the United States. In later years, and while in Waco, he would take subsequent choirs of all ages outside the US spreading the gospel and love of Christ through music.
Ed was ordained in 1995 alongside his ministry as music director at Columbus Avenue Baptist Church where he served for 23 years before retiring in 1999. Although retired, he continued to serve and lead CABC and other churches for another ten years. He received special recognition by the Governor and the mayor of Waco for his life-long service to his church, community and state; and in 2002, he was made an honorary Alumnus of Truett Theological Seminary for the role he played in mentoring prospective music directors.
He is survived by his wife, Merle, his three children, Edward Houston, Robbie, and Dan and two granddaughters, Ashley and Shae. He loved the LORD, he served the LORD, and he is now with the LORD. Faith is truly the “Victory that Overcomes the World”!
In Lieu of flowers please make donations to Ed Wittner Church Music Scholarship Fund through Columbus Avenue Baptist Church.