Jonathan D. Edwards Jr., an advocate for sickle cell disease awareness, died on Sunday, June 30, 2019. He was 40.
He was born on March 27, 1979, in Philadelphia and raised in the Mount Airy section of the city. He was the eldest of three children and the only son born to Jonathan D. Edwards Sr. and Carolyn Edwards.
He attended the African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas where he was baptized, a Sunday School member, an acolyte and confirmed. He attended Saint Raymond’s Catholic School, Leeds Middle School and Martin Luther King Jr. High School. Upon graduating from high school, he studied at Benedict College in South Carolina and Morris Brown College in Atlanta. He received a degree in information technology. He also had a certificate in computer forensics from Chestnut Hill College.
Edwards worked for more than decade as a computer help desk and field service technician at major companies and organizations such as IBM, USDA, Pfizer and Blue Cross and Blue Shield.
He met his wife, Adia Edwards, in Atlanta, and they celebrated their 10th wedding anniversary on June 20, 2019. Their son, Jacob L. Edwards, is 13.
In addition to being a loving husband and devoted father, Edwards worked as an advocate for others.
He started his own non-profit organization, the Sickle Cell Organization for Relief and Education (SCORE) with the purpose of bringing awareness of the disease to diverse communities and serving as an advocate for people with sickle cell like himself. Edwards also wrote about his experiences with sickle cell disease in the book “Movement is Medicine.”
His hobbies included acting, traveling, playing the bass and the acoustic guitar and dee-jaying. His interests also included reading, writing and producing material for films and television.
“Jonathan was creative, introspective, well-read and a very caring individual,” his family said in a tribute.
“He earned the nickname ‘Johnny Cool’ by his teachers due to his calm, collected and laid-back demeanor. He was a loving son, protective big brother, wonderful husband, devoted father and a dedicated uncle.”
He was preceded in death by his sister, Deana Edwards, grandparents and several aunts and uncles.
In addition to his parents, wife and son, he is survived by: his sisters, Jennifer M. White and Crystal-Diana Drayton; nephews, Michael Jr., Ja’Von, Kyon Jr., Kameron (godson), Connor and Kendall; nieces, Alicia, Imani, Ajae and Calla (goddaughter); goddaughter, Zenda; maternal aunts and uncles, Sandra King, Diane El-Bynum, Betty-Jean Ligon, Will “Champ” Ladson, Elaine Ladson, Evelyn Williams and Larry Ladson; paternal aunts and uncles, Adinah Edwards, Lucy Hinkson, Irving Edwards, Henry Edwards and Holford Edwards; and other relatives and friends.
Services were held July 11 at the African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas, 6361 Lancaster Ave. Viewing is at 10 a.m. Mass will follow at 11 a.m. Burial is in Ivy Hill Cemetery.
Wood Funeral Home handled the arrangements.