IN MEMORIAM: Donald Smith Edwards

Donald Smith Edwards passed away peacefully in Tarpon Springs, Florida on June 1, 2022.  Donnie was born on September 8, 1937 to E. Perry and Dorothy Baker Edwards. He and his siblings David, Deanna, and Judy grew up in the Old Homestead on Hedge Street overlooking West Harbor.

Upon completion of his schooling at the Fishers Island School (Old School), Donnie joined the Navy in 1956. He was a Cryptological Technician Seaman on the USS Balao (SS-285) Submarine and truly enjoyed serving his country. During Donnie’s service, he earned the submariner warfare badge aka “Dolphins” that he was most proud of. His last Naval duty assignment was in Karamursel, Turkey in 1960. When not out at sea, he was a member of the Navy’s bowling team and twice bowled a 299 – just one more pin Donnie.

After leaving the Navy, Donnie returned to Fishers Island and raised three children with Laura Woodford Edwards. He was an electrician by trade and worked primarily for Gada Contracting and the Fishers Island Utility Company. After leaving Fishers Island, he was the engineer on the Entrepreneur, a luxury cruise ship out of New York City and Florida. Donnie then settled in Florida where he worked for the Innisbrook Golf Club and Pinellis County until he retired.  During this time in Tarpon Springs, Donnie met his wife of 20 years, Gladys Powers Edwards.

Volunteering and donating his time were a large part of Donnie’s life.  He was a Life Member of the Fishers Island Fire Department and achieved the rank of First Assistant Chief. Donnie was also a member of the first class of NYS certified EMTs on Fishers Island. He served as a member of the Fishers Island School Board during the construction of the current school.  While in Florida, he was very involved in the Special Olympics.

Besides bowling, some of Donnie’s favorite activities were fishing, hunting, and golfing. Any time he returned to Fishers, he would roll rocks for crabs and go black fishing (tautog). He was very proud of the accomplishments of his children and grandchildren. Dad’s constant smile will be truly missed but the memories of good times will live on with so many of us.

In addition to his wife, Gladys, Donnie is survived by his children, Jeff (Catherine) Edwards of Fishers Island, Jill (Joe) Murphy of Cary, NC, and Keith (Kim) Edwards of New Orleans, LA.  He is also survived by his brother, David Edwards of Peabody, MA. Donnie leaves behind seven grandchildren (Patrick Edwards, Owen Murphy, Jennifer Bruner, Kate Murphy, Chance Edwards, Benjamin Edwards, and Caroline Edwards) and two great-grandchildren (Mason and McKenzie Bruner). He is also survived by step-children Robert (Jennifer) Powers, Colleen Russell, and William Powers, and step-grandchildren Adam Powers, Emily Powers, Kelsey Russell, Ethan Russell, and Brianna Ray.

In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the Fishers Island Fire Department Sea Stretcher Fund, Box 123, Fishers Island, NY 06390.

Per Donnie’s wishes, his final resting place will be at the National Cemetery in Bushnell, FL.

The family will be holding a private memorial service at a later date.

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