John H. Edson, 82, of Falmouth, passed away peacefully February 9, 2021. He was the beloved husband of Roberta McMorran Edson for nearly 60 years.
Born in Framingham on August 21, 1938, he was the son of Theodore Rogers Edson of Boston and Beatrice Manning Edson of Worcester. Jack attended the Wellesley Public Schools grades K-12 and was graduated from Wellesley High School in 1956. He was a member of the 1961 class of the United States Naval Academy and marched at the inauguration of John F. Kennedy. After graduation from the Naval Academy, he joined the fleet, serving in the U.S.S. Hartley and U.S.S. Guardian. He was a member of the U.S.N.R. until retirement.
Leaving full-time naval service in 1965, Jack transitioned to a career in teaching which drew on his greatest strengths and talents. His first job was as Assistant Headmaster at the Huntington School in the turbulent Boston of the late 1960’s. A call to serve the Department of Defense at the Fort Allen School brought Jack and his young family to Ponce, Puerto Rico where he taught mathematics and coached girls’ basketball for three years. The final phase of his teaching career was a return to his origins, teaching grades 7-12 at Wellesley Public Schools, sometimes alongside his former teachers. Jack was a loyal NEA member and mediator. A life-long learner, he pursued advanced degrees in education. He shared his knowledge and practical expertise as a mentor to younger teachers in the Wellesley training program and was repeatedly recognized for his excellence in that role.
Jack was a man of many parts: an outdoorsman who loved hunting, fishing, swimming, sailing, clamming, and camping; he was also an avid reader, happiest in a comfortable chair with a book or newspaper. After reading Steinbeck’s Travels with Charley, he and his wife took a cross-country trip to see the National Parks. Highlights included: Lake Itasca, the headwaters of the Mississippi, swimming against the current in the Merced River, Yosemite’s Old Faithful, the gigantic Redwoods, and numerous “buffalo” sightings. He was an accomplished amateur photographer and leaves many wonderful photos of this trip. A lover of poetry, he could recite lengthy poems by Longfellow and Robert Service from memory. A Michener fanatic and “National Geographic” devotee, he became a Jeopardy whiz, knowledgeable about a breadth of topics including but not limited to: ornithology, geography, history, and natural history. Although he did not play an instrument, he was a gifted whistler and loved Irish music, Country and Western, and Gospel.
He was a light-hearted serious man who was well known for his wit and love of jokes. In middle age, he discovered a passion for cooking. A consummate gardener, he took special pride in a stand of Bradford pear trees, his red poppies, dinner-plate dahlias, and a variegated cutting garden. All of these new-found talents were put to service gifting flowers and sharing meals with others, particularly elderly neighbors. His children will remember him by his exhortation, delivered at the end of every camping trip, to “Leave things better than you found them.” It was his life’s motto. He was a man of exceptional character, intellectual gifts, and great empathy. He will be greatly missed by his family and friends who are all changed and improved for having known him.
In addition to his wife Roberta, Jack is survived by their two children: daughter Laura Edson Puopolo and her husband, Scott A. Puopolo of New York City and Falmouth; son John E. Edson of Jacksonville, Florida; grandchildren, Samuel Puopolo, Henry Puopolo, Cooper Edson, and Nathaniel Edson, as well as many nieces and nephews. He was the brother of Mary Edson Hunt of Westwood, MA, and Theodore M. Edson of Westboro, MA.
Burial will be at Massachusetts National Cemetery. Final arrangements are planned for the Spring.