Edward “Ed” Lee Wittner of Waco, longtime minister of music, died Oct. 2, 2019. He was 89. He was born Oct. 10, 1929, in Waco to Robert and Lillie Wittner. As the only child of a Baptist minister, he accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior at an early age. Growing up in Alpine, 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. He considered Paisano “holy ground,” and out of love for the encampment, its history and the ministry it provided, he returned every summer to direct worship or lead in some capacity for more than 65 years. As a student at Baylor University, he met his future wife, Dolores Merlene “Merle” Davis, and he discovered his talent for singing and committed to use it for the glory of God. He directed music in small community churches before being called to full-time ministry. He served more than five decades in seven churches, developing music programs and leading numerous choirs, ensemble and hand bell groups in each one. Many of the young people who were part of his youth choirs in Lamesa and Plainview went on to serve God in a variety of ways. During his time in Plainview, from the mid-1960s to the mid-1970s, he led the way with contemporary music, taking his youth choirs on numerous mission trips and musical tours throughout Mexico and the United States. In his later years, particularly at Columbus Avenue Baptist Church in Waco, he took choirs of all ages outside the United States to spread the gospel and love of Christ through music. He served 23 years on staff at Columbus Avenue Baptist Church and was ordained to the gospel ministry there. Even after his retirement in 1999, he continued to serve that church and other congregations for another decade. He received special recognition by the governor of Texas and the mayor of Waco for his longtime service to his church, community and state. 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; three children, Edward Houston, Robbie and Dan; and two granddaughters.
Obituary: Ed Wittner
October 5, 2019