John Gustav Edwards III, 77, of Portsmouth, R.I. passed away Wednesday, May 30, 2012 after a long and valiant battle against cancer. His beloved bride of 56 years, Mary Ann Tobin, was by his side.
Born in Newport, R.I., on October 31, 1934, “Duke,” as he was affectionately known by all, was predeceased by his parents, John G. Edwards Jr. and Dorothy (Farrell) Edwards.
Together with Mary Ann, Duke founded and ran J.G. Edwards Construction Co., Inc. for nearly 50 years. He was an active and much-loved member of Ida Lewis Yacht Club and served on the board of directors in various roles, including that of commodore for three years from 1993-1995.
Duke lived his life with great enthusiasm. Whether it was sailing, photography or, most recently, fishing, he pursued his chosen passion with gusto. From novels to newspapers to his newly acquired Internet-surfing skills, Duke took great pleasure in reading and learning and gladly shared his knowledge of the world with conviction.
Duke loved nothing more than having his family around him, sitting at the dining room table enjoying a delicious meal, a nice bottle of wine, and a lively political debate. He also loved his role as grandfather and consummate storyteller, and entertained his grandchildren with his colorful stories of a life lived well and to the fullest.
Duke is survived by his children and grandchildren: John “Jay” Edwards IV and his wife, Donna, of Tiverton, and their children, John, Kelsey and Mae; and James Edwards and his wife, Mary, of Portsmouth, and their children, Daniel, Matthew, Molly and Colleen.
Duke is also survived by his sister, Dianne Harrington, and his brothers- and sisters-in-law, Arlene Brown, Estelle Tobin, James and Lizbeth Tobin, and Philip and Diane Tobin, along with many nieces, nephews and dear friends. He also leaves behind Maggie and Pearl, who loved him unconditionally as the “big dog” in their lives.
The family would like to thank the wonderful people of Hospice at Visiting Nurse Services of Newport for their care and compassion.
Calling hours are respectfully omitted. A Mass in celebration of Duke’s life will be held on Monday, June 4, 2012 at 10 a.m. at St. Barnabas Church, 1697 East Main Road, Portsmouth, R.I.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Society of St. Vincent de Paul St. Barnabas Church Conference or Sail to Prevail, P.O. Box 1264, Newport, R.I. 02840