Photo courtesy of J. Verne Wood Funeral Home - Portsmouth

Jay C. Edwards

Portsmouth, New Hampshire

Aug 2, 1937 – Nov 29, 2018 (Age 81)


August 2, 1937
November 29, 2018
Portsmouth, New Hampshire
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J. Verne Wood Funeral Home - Portsmouth Obituary

Jay C. Edwards, 81, of York Harbor, Maine and Palm Beach Gardens, Florida passed away on November 29, 2018 after a wonderful life filled with laughter, love, family and friends.

Jay was a leader throughout his lifetime as President of his high school class and Chair of many civic and charitable organizations including: 3 term Member of the Portsmouth City Council, President of the Chamber of Commerce, Chairman of the New Hampshire Port Authority, President of the North Church, and President of the Lion’s Club where he created an annual golf tournament to benefit the blind.

Jay’s sense of duty and service began early in his life, wove its way through his years in the Navy and blended seamlessly into his professional life.

A successful entrepreneur, Jay owned numerous businesses including Edwards Harborside Inn Bed & Breakfast and Marina in York Harbor, Maine and Edwards Toyota, an automobile dealership in Portsmouth N.H. In 1983 he received Time Magazine’s Quality Dealer Award - the automobile industry’s most prestigious and coveted award for car dealerships recognizing exceptional performance and distinguished community service.

Jay was a gifted dancer and musician with a secret wish to one day conduct an orchestra. A self-taught piano player, Jay wrote the music and lyrics for Portsmouth’s 350th anniversary song and played the part of Frank Jones in a local production.

An accomplished Captain of numerous vessels and yachts, Jay traversed the ocean with great expertise. He loved nothing more than being on the open seas and cruising with the Portsmouth Yacht Club.

While his public accomplishments and successes were many, Jay’s greatest gifts were his love of family and his quiet, behind-the-scenes generosity. Never needing the spotlight, he often left anonymous donations, financial and otherwise, for organizations and individuals. If you bagged his groceries and shared a smile, he was likely to drop a $20 bill in your hand on his way out.

Jay was a man of great wisdom and wit with a keen ability to intuit the needs of others. His passing leaves a void that cannot be measured.

Jay is survived by his wife, Sherle (Stevenson) Edwards; his three children Deborah Edwards Dube of Portsmouth, N.H. and her husband, Mark, Linda Edwards Beal of Portsmouth, N.H. and her husband, Chris; Michael J. Edwards of Portsmouth, N.H. and his wife, Leanne, grandchildren Nicholas Beal, Julianne Edwards, Nathan Edwards, Zachary Edwards, Christopher Edwards, siblings Russell Edwards, Lorraine Drewry, and Jeffrey Edwards, Mother-in-law, Lillian Stevenson and Yorkshire Terrier & best buddy, Brady.

He was predeceased by his father, Walter Russell Edwards (1992) and his mother, Doris (Jackson) Edwards (2004).

Services: A celebration of life will take place at the North Church in Portsmouth, N.H. on Monday, December 17, 2018 at 1:00. Calling hours will be held from 1:00 - 4:00 on December 16, 2018 at J. Verne Wood Funeral Home - Buckminster Chapel, 84 Broad St., Portsmouth, N.H. A private graveside service will take place at Blanchard Cemetery in Falmouth, Maine at a later date. In lieu of flowers, please consider contributions to Kids Five & Over, an organization founded by Jay’s daughter which mirrors his deep commitment to youth and community (kidsfiveandover.org/donations) or to a charity of your choice.



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Hoping all of the great memories of your dad bring you comfort during this difficult time. Our sincere sympathies.

It was a honor to call Jay a good friend. Tom and I recall such good memories with Jay and you, not only in Florida but also in Maine! These memories we will carry always. Our prayers are with you in hope they will strenghten you as you
prepare to send him home. We will keep Jay in our heart always and you in our care. Tom and Nancy Graceffo

As time passes and you return to your regular routines, we pray that the comfort and love from family and friends will help you through this difficult time. Out thoughts and prayers are with you.
Sue and Del Record

Sherle and family, Mark and I are so sorry for your loss. We always enjoyed seeing you and Jay at our neighborhood in Palm Beach Gardens. Jay was such a great man, always a smile on his face. You are in our thoughts and prayers. God Bless, Mark and Diane Warner


View from home

Sherle, you are all lin my thoughts and prayers. I have the fondest memories of when you and Jay welcomed me into your Maine home - cooked lobster, saw the sights - wonderful memories of good times.
Pat Kaupe

Our heartfelt condolences to Jays family. We will miss watching his beloved Pats with him at the Beals house.

Nate and Scott McKee