Elizabeth Edwards is a mother, recovering lawyer, author, small business owner and advocate — most recently for health care reform. She is the daughter of Vince Anania (a Navy pilot) and Elizabeth Anania (herself a Navy daughter), and she spent most of her youth shuttling between east coast naval bases and Japan, where her father was stationed. She graduated from UNC in 1971, went to English graduate school at UNC for three years and then attended and graduated from UNC Law School in 1977. She married, practiced law in Nashville, Tennessee and Raleigh, North Carolina, until 1996 when her oldest son Wade died in an automobile accident. With her husband John and daughter Cate she started the Wade Edwards Learning Lab in central Raleigh to provide computer access for underprivileged students, and she had two more children, Emma Claire and — after receiving her AARP card — Jack. She campaigned for the Kerry-Edwards ticket in 2004 and was diagnosed with breast cancer immediately after that election. She continued to advocate for the causes she had discussed in 2004 during the presidential campaign of 2008 and as a Senior Fellow for the Center of American Progress. She has written two books, Saving Graces and Resilience, and speaks across the country on health care and other issues. Now separated, she also owns a small furniture store, the Red Window, on Rosemary Street in Chapel Hill.
Elizabeth succumbed to cancer on December 7, 2010. She will be missed by all who knew her and many who didn't. Her Monti story, An Extraordinary Life, earned Elizabeth the first standing ovation in Monti history.