Jewel Maria Edwards, née Jones of Statesboro, Georgia, made her peaceful transition on Saturday, April 9, 2022. Born June 10,1930 in Register, Georgia, she was one of twelve children born to Freddie and Devorah Jones, née Sykes, a sharecropping farmer and a teacher, and lifelong parishioners of the New Hope Missionary Baptist Church. Jewel was an eager and gifted student, fiercely dedicated to pursuing her education during a time of restricted opportunity. She graduated from William James High School in Statesboro, and moved to Washington D.C. at the age of seventeen. She later moved to New York City at nineteen, and worked as a researcher for Du Maurier Cigarettes and subsequently, at Macy's Department Store as a sales clerk.
Jewel was introduced by mutual friends to the love of her life, William Lloyd Edwards. Their blind date led to a dynamic 41-year marriage that produced five children. They raised their family in the Meiers Corners section of Staten Island, New York.
Jewel and William were avid parishioners of St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Stapleton, Staten Island, and later, All Saints Episcopal Church in Willowbrook, Staten Island, where they helped found one of the first church-based early childhood education programs in Staten Island. After unsuccessful attempts to secure her high school records from Georgia that were lost in a fire, she was compelled to attend night school where she obtained her General Equivalency Diploma (GED). She subsequently was named a Community Scholar at Staten Island Community College, earned her associate's degree, enrolled in Richmond College where she earned her bachelor's degree, and earned a M.A. in English and a M.S. in Education at the College of Staten Island.
Jewel taught English at several Staten Island high schools, including New Dorp High School, Tottenville High School, Curtis High School, and McKee Vocational and Technical High School. She also taught Adult Basic Education courses at Bayview Correctional Facility in Manhattan and Arthur Kill Correctional Facility in Staten Island.
Upon William's retirement, in 1989, Jewel and he moved to Statesboro where they briefly worked as educational counselors with at-risk young people and also took on robust volunteer commitments with NAACP, Habitat for Humanity, AARP, and Trinity Episcopal Church. Jewel also taught English at Georgia Southern University.
Stemming from childhood influences from her older sisters, Jewel cultivated a passion for quiltmaking that evolved from a practical craft for keeping warm to an art form that would eventually grace the pages of several books and numerous exhibits. Her award-winning quilts were exhibited at the Beach Institute in Savannah, Georgia, and presented at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, Georgia, the Netherlands, and Japan. Her book, Journey of a Georgia Quiltmaker was published in 2010.
After her husband's William's passing in 1996, she later remarried to Guillermo Young until his passing in 2019.
Throughout her life journey Jewel communed with nature as well as the various spiritual communities to which she belonged and contributed. As a steward of God's creation, she gardened, birdwatched, and instilled this love in all of her children.
The essence of Jewel's life was captured in a recent accolade received from the Black History & Cultural Preservation Society of Bulloch County, a feature article in the Black History Month Supplement to the Statesboro Herald. Jewel had the gift of finding the gem in every being and served as mother, friend, and guide to many. She is cherished for her kindness, generosity, optimism, and deep and abiding love.
Jewel M. Edwards is predeceased by her parents Freddie and Devorah, her siblings Cora Lee Jones Grant Williams, Eloise Jones Thomas, Eugene Jones, Mary Jones Parrish, Curtis Jones, Celestine Jones Peoples, Charles Wesley (CW) Jones, Lucille Jones Bradley, Evon Jones Young, and Robbie Faye Jones Parrish; her first husband, William L. Edwards, Sr., and her second husband, Guillermo Young. She is survived by her children Deborah Sharon Edwards-Anderson (Gregory Anderson), William Lloyd Edwards, Jr., Arthur Frederick Edwards (Doryne Stanley-Edwards), Jonathan Philip Edwards (DeWayne A. Snype), and Mary Jane Edwards (Camille Boccio); grandsons Khalil Edwards, Jabari Edwards-Anderson, and Donnell Anderson; granddaughter Julianna Edwards, and a host of loving relatives and friends. We will remember her luminous spirit.
Due to unforeseen circumstances, visitation has been canceled.
A Memorial Service will be held at New Hope Missionary Baptist Church on June 18, 2022 at 10:00 AM with Reverend Gregory Thomas officiating.