Edward C. (Eddie) Hayward III

Edward C. (Eddie) Hayward III was born and raised in Grenada, Mississippi by loving parents, Christine and EC Hayward, Jr. He attended Millsaps College his freshman year, then transferred to Ole Miss to receive his undergraduate degree in commerce. He married the former Linda Stanfill, also from Grenada, in 1965. They soon moved to Memphis to begin their business careers.

Eddie spent his early career in banking, then as an office and credit manager for a large wholesale paper company. In 1979 he went to work at a large retail florist and in 1981 bought his own flower shop, which he named Southern Hospitality Flowers and Fine Gifts. He was very active in the Tennessee florist industry for the next 25 years. He served as regional president of Tennessee Teleflora. He served the Tennessee State Florists’ Association (TSFA) as a member of the board of directors, then as vice president, president-elect, and finally as president. He was later inducted into the TSFA Hall of Fame. Two highlights of her floral career were serving on the design team for President Ronald Reagan’s second inauguration and designing all of the wedding flowers for Kellye Cash, a Miss America from Tennessee.

Eddie sold his florist in 2004; and he and Linda eventually retired to Ridgeland, MS. They built their dream home, for which Eddie did the initial design and layout, handing it over to a draftsman to complete the detailed house plans.

In addition to the design of the house, Eddie also planned 3 surrounding courtyards, each with a different theme – southern, French and oriental. After her garden was completed, her garden was sent to be included in the popular Gardens of Madison County tour. Her home is now surrounded by more than 100 azaleas, 20 crape myrtles, 6 large profusely flowering camellia bushes and numerous magnolias. The facade of the house is symmetrical and formal in French style, highlighted by numerous box trees lining the circular driveway and beautiful urns containing graceful ferns.

Besides gardening, Eddie had another love – Ole Miss! He and Linda both enjoyed the Ole Miss Marching Band and felt that the band was sometimes overlooked, although they were a vital part of the Ole Miss spirit at football games in particular. He and Linda first placed bequests to the Ole Miss Marching Band in their wills. Eddie took it a step further and started raising money for a scholarship in honor of David E. Willson, director of college groups for over 30 years. Eddie singularly raised the $25,000 to endow a scholarship in David’s name, reaching his goal towards the end of 2021.

To say that Eddie loved people is an understatement! He asked God to help him “seek a blessing” each day where even the smallest of gifts would hopefully brighten someone’s day. He befriended many employees of stores and businesses where he frequently shopped. He saw the value in everyone, regardless of race, age or gender. He loved living again in Mississippi where courtesy and respect are typical traits of many Mississippians, regardless of race or gender.

Eddie and Linda’s favorite pastime was deep-sea cruising. Their first cruise was in 1978 in an inside cabin with no windows. But they fell in love with the generally friendly passengers and crew. They have now completed over 25 cruises in the Caribbean, South America, the Mediterranean, Northern Europe and Russia; They formed close friendships with many other passengers, sailing again and again with a number of them. In fact, they had already scheduled another cruise with friends in 2022!

Visitation will be held Thursday, April 7, 2022 from 5 to 7 p.m. at Parkway Funeral Home in Ridgeland. Funeral services will be Friday, April 8, 2022 at 11:00 a.m. at All Saints Episcopal Church in Granada, MS, preceded by visitation from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. at the church’s parish house. Interment will be at Woodlawn Cemetery in Grenada.

Dissertations may be payable by check payable to the University of Mississippi Foundation. Please specify the David E. Willson Marching Band Scholarship on the check. Mail to: University of Mississippi Foundation, 406 University Avenue, Oxford, MS 38655

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