Tragic accident claims Cushman’s life

By: Jael Pembrick - Staff writer

LAURINBURG — The Scotland County family lost a valued member when Edward “Ed” Craig Cushman, 39, died Feb. 2 in Lavonia, Georgia, on the way to the Super Bowl.

He was trapped inside of a burning vehicle and died that Saturday on the side of Interstate 85.

Cushman was given free tickets from the charity, Team Gleason, which was created to care for people suffering from ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, including its namesake, former New Orleans Saints player Steve Gleason, according to the charity website. Cushman was suffering with ALS at the time of his death.

“Words cannot express how shocked we are for Ed and his entire family,” Team Gleason said in the statement, from WDSU. “We remain committed to the ALS community and Ed’s family in this time of incredible sadness.”

While traveling with his brother, Rob Cushman noticed smoke coming from his Dodge Caravan and, while checking it, the car caught a flame. Georgia State Patrol reported that, though his brother tried to save him, the fire became too intense.

“Please be in prayer for our family. We lost my brother, Edward Craig Cushman, in a freak accident while we were driving to Atlanta yesterday,” Rob Cushman posted on Facebook. “While we are devastated, we are happy he is no longer suffering from the pain of ALS.”

Though he may not have had an easy life, he made a difference locally, formerly working as an environmental health specialist in Scotland and Richmond counties. Former co-workers would like to share the full life Cushman had here and wish condolences to his family in this unforeseen tragedy.

“Ed was an all-around good boy,” said Debra Rogers, management support supervisor for Scotland County Health Department. “He was always willing to help others at the agency and even outside of it. He was a lover of cats and worked here for years before going to Richmond County.”

Rogers said he was experiencing health issues while he was there and after a while he stopped working altogether because of the disease.

Health Educator and Public Information Officer for SCHD Kathie Cox said the staff was affected by his untimely death immensely.

“We are all so saddened by his passing,” said Cox. “All of the staff who worked with him enjoyed him and his sense of humor, friendliness and willingness to go out and help.”

Born in Cleveland County on Aug. 4, 1979, he was the son of Robert Gale Cushman Jr. and Joy Brown Cushman. He was a graduate of Shelby High School, where he was on the tennis and cross country teams. He attended Appalachian State University and later received a bachelor of science degree in business administration from Gardner Webb University.

He is survived by his parents and by his brother, Robert Brown Cushman; his sister-in-law, Alena Gordon Cushman; and much-loved niece and nephew, Lia Grace Cushman and Caden Brown Cushman, all of Lake Cormorant, Mississippi. He is also survived by grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends.

A private interment service will take place at the columbarium in the church courtyard of Shelby Presbyterian Church at 1 p.m. on Saturday. Afterward, a memorial service officiated by the Rev. Luke Harkey and the Rev. Fred Rose will be held at the church at 2 p.m. to which all are invited. Receiving of friends and a reception will follow the service in Ellis Hall at the church.

Jael Pembrick can be reached at 910-506-3169 or [email protected]


Jael Pembrick

Staff writer