Staff Photo: Sue Ann Kuhn-Smith ---- Retired Rockdale County Sheriff's Deparment Sergeant Ricky Edge, shown here at his home in Rockdale with dog Vini, displays photos of his father, JB Edge, and mother, Myrtle Edge, both of whom also served Rockdale County, as tax commissioners, beginning in 1957.
The recent retirement of Rockdale County Sheriff's Department Lieutenant Ricky Edge marked the end of an era for his family in their service to Rockdale County.
The Edge family served Rockdale County for 56 years, with father JB Edge working as tax commissioner from 1957 to 1972 and his mother being elected to that same position after his father retired. Ricky Edge himself took a job as a deputy for Rockdale in 1980, the year his mother retired as tax commissioner.
"I'm very proud of it. I was very proud of my parents the way they served, they were greatly loved by the people of this county," said Edge, who recalls as a child helping his parents alphabetize car tags and watching his parents socialize with residents when they stopped in to pay for them. "It was a like reunion. They'd be laughing and cutting up with my parents. At one time, daddy could tell you everyone he saw on the street. He always said the greatest compliment you could pay anyone is remember their name."
The Edge family roots in Rockdale go back early in the 20th century in Milstead, where both sets of Edge's grandparents lived. Ricky Edge's grandfather ran the Dinky train engine (a smaller engine that existed before the Dinky that is displayed in Olde Town Conyers) between Calloway Mills cotton mill in Milstead and the train depot in Conyers. The Dinky pulled box cars full of canvas from the mill to the station, to be shipped out on the main line.
Edge's grandmother told her grandson stories about how, when the men working at the mill heard a whistle, they knew they had to rush to the Dinky because it had jumped the tracks.
"The men would pick up wrecking bars and head up to where the train was and they would physically lift that train up and put it back on the tracks," said Edge.
Edge's other grandfather worked as a mail carrier in Conyers.
Edge grew up in a house on Main Street in Conyers. Despite being disabled by polio at age 2, Edge's father stood on his feet all day in his job cutting hair in a barbershop near Emory University, before being elected tax commissioner in 1957.
His mother worked as weaver in Calloway Mills until it closed down in 1960. She then took a job assisting his father in the tax office, and eventually took her husband's position.
Edge credits former Rockdale County Sheriff JT Wallace with influencing his decision to become a deputy. Edge said that he recalls as a child going into town with his mother and parking in front of the post office (where the current courthouse is located) where Sheriff Wallace would gently roughhouse with him.
"He'd snatch me up and throw me over his shoulder and say 'I'm taking you to jail,'" said Edge. "I always told him he marked me when I was a kid."
Edge worked in management for Ace Hardware until age 27 when Wallace requested his services as a deputy. He said during his career he commanded or assistant commanded almost every division, and his duties have ranged from working street patrol to purchasing uniforms and cars.
"The main thing I liked about the job is it never got boring. Some people have jobs that are mundane or repetitive. It's not that way in law enforcement. It's always changing every day," said Edge.
The 59-year-old husband to Lynn Edge and father of three grown children -- son Coty Edge, a sergeant in the U.S. Army; daughter Carley Webb, a veterinarian assistant; and daughter Nicole Baker, a homemaker -- and grandfather of two, said he found the most pleasure from being a law enforcement officer when he worked on patrol.
He acquired a greater understanding of human nature, developed empathy for people's situations and gained fulfillment from helping them.
"My favorite part was being on the street. I liked to talk to people," said Edge.
What made the job even better was when citizens thanked him for his efforts.
"You don't make a lot of money being a deputy but you get a lot of appreciation from the public," he said.