Queen’s celebrates the life of a legend

University athlete, coach, teacher and fan dies at age 93

The death of John “Jake” Edwards on July 9 sadly ended a lifetime of athletic achievement, and quietly began the legend of a champion with a lifelong relationship with Gaels sports.

According to Queen’s Athletics, Edwards began his career here as a student in 1934 as an outstanding member of the varsity football, basketball, and track teams. During his career as a student-athlete Edwards was a member of the legendary “fearless 14” Yates Cup-winning football team and the 1936 champion basketball squad.

For his remarkable contribution to Queen’s Athletics Edwards was awarded the Jenkins Trophy.

In 1937 after a stint with the Ottawa Roughriders, he joined the Toronto Argonauts and helped them win the Grey Cup.

He soon returned to Queen’s as a coach, where he was well known for his commitment to the intermediate football team, and also coached basketball, golf, nordic skiing, and track.

He was the co-founder of Queen’s School of Physical and Health Education in 1946, and worked as an instructor at the school until he retired in 1977.

In 1998 Edwards was inducted into the Kingston Hall of Fame for his passionate contributions to local athletics.

Edwards died of a heart attack while playing golf at the Colonnade Golf Course.

Anne Turnbull, a close friend for over fifty years, said Edwards had been playing golf three times a week and had often said that he hoped to leave this life while playing the sport he held closest to his heart.

Turnbull remembered Edwards as “man of principle” who was a “brilliant participant in all the sports he played,” even into his old age.

He once kayaked from Kingston to Ottawa to celebrate the Rideau Canal’s 150th birthday, and then made another trip via kayak from Kingston to Montreal. At the age of 89, Edwards was a champion at a number of the clubs where he golfed, and still insisted on walking the courses. At 90 he was a regular cross-country skier.

Edwards’ dedication to Queen’s Athletics was evident in his constant support for the University’s athletic programs. He was a long-time season ticket holder at Richardson Stadium.

Turnbull explained that Edwards was fueled by a deep passion for the “connection of sports.” “He loved to see people learn and was thrilled to see them succeed,” she said.

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