Meredith Code Enforcement Officer Bill Edney dies suddenly at age 65

MEREDITH — Town officials and residents were sorrowed and stunned by the sudden passing of Bill Edney, 65, who served as the Code Enforcement Officer for the past 13 years, who suffered a fatal heart attack while splitting wood on Saturday.

Wrestling with her emotions, Carla Horne, who chairs the Board of Selectmen, asked for a moment of silence before the board met yesterday. "He was definitely Bill," she said afterwards. Herself a building inspector, she said "I rode shotgun with him many times. He was terrific to work with, easy going, never got riled up. He knew his stuff, she continued. "You could always call him at any time with a question and if he didn't know the answer, he'd find [out] and get back to you in five minutes."

Upon settling in Meredith in 2001, Edney quickly became a fixture in the community, known for his generous spirit and friendly manner. John Edgar, Director of Community Development, said that "his passion was playing music." An accomplished guitar player, he enjoyed a wide circle of fellow musicians, both acoustic and electric, who shared his skill and enthusiasm. He also delighted in sharing his proficiency in the kitchen. "When ever there was a pot-luck supper," recalled Karin Nelson, who worked alongside Edney, "we couldn't wait to see what he would bring."

Professionally, Edney was held in high esteem by his peers. He served on the Board of Directors of the New Hampshire Building Officials Association for 15 years and initiated its annual golf tournament to benefit the organization's scholarship fund. In 2006, Edney was honored as "Inspector of the Year" for his outstanding service in promoting safety and welfare through education and code enforcement. Apart from code enforcement, Edney's responsibilities included building inspections and zoning administration while serving as the health officer in Meredith.

People soon began paying their respects on the Winnipesaukee Forum when an obituary was posted yesterday, Pine Island Guy remembered Edney's "wry sense of humor" and noted that "he helped this homeowner to keep myself from getting into a pickle!" The Phantom Gourmand described Edney as "a real gentleman," who made "what could have been a very painful situation a lot less difficult."