Dr. Edward Pygatt
July 08, 1925 - July 03, 2021
On July 8, 1925, Lemuel G. and Fannie Pygatt, sharecrop farmers in Effingham, SC, welcomed the births of the eldest of their nine children; a set of twins, Edward "Sonny" and Edna
Upon finishing two years of high school, Edward was drafted into the U.S. Army on 1/14/44 at Fort Jackson, Columbia, SC as a private to serve in World War II. After training he was as-signed to the newly commissioned 643rd Port Company Transportation Corps, a "negro" supply company. Subsequently, July 25, 1944, the 643rd arrived at the Boston Port of Embarkation at 0742 hrs. (7:42 am) and deployed aboard the S.S. Wakefield at 2000 hrs. (8:00 pm), enroute for duty in the European Theatre. By August 14, 1944 Edward and his Company had commenced operation of their primary mission of unloading ships at the Newport, Wales docks. Edward served as a stevedore. The most important mission awaited them on Sept. 20, 1945 when they were deployed to San Fernando, Luzon, Philippine Islands attached to the 373rd Port Battalion, T. C. While most members of the 643rd did not see actual combat while stationed there during the critical Luzon Campaign; a battle necessary to retake the Philip-pines from the Japanese, there were some members that volunteered to be reassigned as reinforcements at the front line. The 643rd took great pride in their unique achievement of being able to keep the supply lines open to the front lines after finding themselves caught between civilian longshoremen and dockworker strikes, and the reassignment of two other companies to other areas. This required them to perform three times their usual work duties. On January 25 1946, the 643rd Port Company Transportation Crops was deactivated and all personnel re-assigned. Edward's sister, Helen, reports, "Sonny served 3 years, 11 months and 9 days in the Army".
Edward returned to Effingham after earning an honorable discharge from the Army to complete his high school education; graduating on June 3, 1948 from Wilson High School. Fannie Pygatt, a staunch believer in the value of education, was the impetus for her children to finish high school and some to pursue higher education. Edward and three siblings went on to study veterinary medicine, education, and bible studies. After earning his Bachelor of Science Degree at the North Carolina College for Negroes at Durham in 1952, majoring in Chemistry with a minor in Biology. Edward was awarded his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine on May 21, 1956 at the acclaimed Tuskegee Institute, Tuskegee, AL. During his college years, he became a member of the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity. Upon graduating, Edward relocated to Portland, OR in 1956, where he had taken a civil service position with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). A position which he ultimately held for 15 years. Additionally, while in Oregon, he was appointed Oregon Deputy State Veterinarian on May 1, 1958.
It was during the summer of 1954, while still in school and working a summer job in Asbury Park, NJ, that Edward met, dated and fell in love with his lovely future bride, Iris Carter. The couple were wed on August 23, 1958 in Philadelphia, PA. Their union was blessed with the births of two daughters, Jacquelyn Marie and Tami Jo. Eventually the family relocated to Lyn wood, CA. In 1972, Edward opened a small animal clinic/hospital in Long Beach, CA. He operated the Spring Street Animal Hospital for 30 years until his retirement in 2002. Edward was a lifetime member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the Urban League. A former member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, American Animal Hospital Association and Southern California Veterinary Medical Association; and a former president of the Tuskegee Veterinary Medical Association Alumni Chapter of Los Angeles.
Christianity became a core part of Edward's life during his childhood attendance at Meadow Prong Baptist Church in Effingham, SC at the behest of his mother, Fannie. He accepted Christ while attending a small church in Seattle, WA while still in the Army. Edward remained true to his upbringing and commitment to God throughout his lifetime, as evidenced by his faithful service on choirs, Deacon Board, Trustee Board, and Superintendent/Teacher of Sunday School. He was an active member at Calvary Baptist Church of Compton in Compton, CA until his passing.
Edward was an avid sports fan. He liked most sports but was particularly fond of basketball, foot-ball, baseball (Dodgers), boxing and golf. Most of all, he loved tennis and made it a practice to play three times per week for 34 years, and four times per week for the past 3 years. Edward was exceptionally proud of all of his extended family members that played and participated in sports on every level.
Edward is believed to have been the most senior member of the direct Pygatt clan. He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Iris of Lynwood, CA, daughter, Jacquelyn (Timothy) Armstrong of CA, and son-in-law, Yusufu Dankaro of CA; sister's, Helen McElveen of CT, Mary (Harold) Pinckney of NJ, and Mildred Pygatt of SC; sister's-in-law, Gladys Pygatt of PA and Arteal Pygatt of SC, and a host of nieces, nephews, and cousins. Edward was preceded in passing by his daughter Tami (Yusufu) Dankaro in April 21, 2018; parent's, Lemuel and Fannie; twin sister, Edna (Luther) Bradley; brother's, Samuel (Gladys), Lemuel r. (Arteal), Harry (Lillian), and Fred; brother's-in-law, Luther Bradley, and John "Johnny Bean"
Dr. Edward Pygatt - Author
To plant a beautiful memorial tree in memory of Dr. Edward Pygatt, please visit our Tribute Store