John W. Edwards, “Jack,” 82 , of Little Compton, died Thursday, Oct. 18, 2012, at his home, unexpectedly. He was the husband of Lillian “Birdie” (O’Dowd) Edwards for the past 60 years.
Born in Gardner, Massachusetts, a son of the late Junius and Silvia (Maillioux) Edwards, he spent his youth in Boston, attended university in New York City, served in the United States Navy as an intelligence officer and then began his career in Washington, D.C., moving to Sudbury, Mass.; McLean, Va.; Amherst, NH; and Barrington, Ill., to pursue his business interests and raise a family. Mr. Edwards retired in 1988 and moved to Little Compton where he has resided since then.
He was a graduate of Worcester Academy, 1948, Columbia University, 1952, and attended Georgetown University School of Law.
Mr. Edwards was a pioneer of early development of large scale information storage and retrieval systems for the federal government in the nineteen fifties and sixties before joining private industry. He was senior vice president at Household International, a financial services and manufacturing company, where he had overall responsibility for world-wide computer-based information systems. In prior positions, he was: vice president of information systems for the GATX Corporation, corporate vice president of information systems at Northern Telecom Limited and director of information systems at Polaroid Corporation. He served in the federal government during the Nixon Administration as assistant to the commissioner of U.S. Customs, where he developed a nationwide system for processing customs transactions and served as chief of the United States delegation to the International Customs Cooperation Council
Mr. Edwards was an avid tennis player and outdoors enthusiast. He was a member of the Acoaxet Club in Westport, a former member of the University Club, the Edgartown Yacht Club and the Columbia Club. In his retirement, Mr. Edwards taught courses in the sciences and information systems technology at the Second Half: Lifelong Learning Institute University of Massachusetts/ Dartmouth.
Surviving in addition to his wife are three sons, John M. Edwards of Nashua, NH, Christopher W. Edwards of Oklahoma City, Okla., and Steven T. Edwards of London, England; one sister, Silvia Edwards of London; two daughters in law and one son in law, Claire Edwards, Eva Jalava, and Richard Westoby; seven grandchildren, Meghan, Emily, Jane, Anna and Poppy Edwards, Lilliana and Alexander Westoby-Edwards; and two nieces and one nephew, Shirin, Leila and Nader Golestaneh.
A memorial service will be held Monday, Oct., 29, at 11 a.m. in the United Congregational Church, 4 South of Commons Road, Little Compton, with a reception to follow at the Acoaxet Club. Burial is private. In lieu of flowers, contributions in his honor may be made to Up With School Arts, 154 Quicksand Pond Road, Little Compton, RI 02837.