Newton L. Edwards, Jr. ’42

Newton L. Edwards, Jr. ’42, 90, died on April 9 at his son’s home in Gainesville, Fla. He was the son of Newton L. Edwards, Sr. and Corinne Arrowsmith Edwards. He was a fifth-generation Floridian and the great-grandson of Jesse Willis, founder of Williston. He was born in St. Cloud and raised in Lake Wales, where he was an Eagle Scout and worked for his father to pay for rides with traveling barnstormers. At an early age he fell in love with flying and with his wife of 68 years, Mary Ellen Yarnell, also of Lake Wales. He attended Davidson on a football scholarship and was a naval aviator during WWII, mapping Iceland and Central America, and a flight instructor for most naval aircraft, including his favorite, the Martin B-26 Marauder. He also photographed Eleanor Roosevelt while she was visiting the Dutch Antilles, and his photos are now archived in the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum in Hyde Park, N.Y. After the war he was a captain and flight instructor for Eastern Air Lines for 33 years. He also owned the Field Shops, a tailoring shop catering to airline uniforms, where the motto was “See Newt for a Suit.” With a small band of dedicated men, he helped build Blessed Trinity Church in Miami Springs. In 1975 he and his copilot received the Department of Transportation’s Distinguished Service Award from astronaut and then Eastern Air Lines president, Frank Borman, after they prevented a hijacking to Cuba. Throughout his life he played competitive tennis and was an avid fisherman and sailor. After his retirement he hiked the John Muir Trail in the High Sierras, flew charter flights to Cuba for sports fishermen, and worked on an oceanographic vessel that sailed to Egypt, Kenya, and the Seychelles. He belonged to the Sons of the American Revolution and coordinated food drives and distribution for the St. Vincent de Paul Society. Edwards instilled a sense of adventure and love of travel in his children and grandchildren, but no matter how far he traveled, he called Lake Wales home. He was preceded in death by his sisters, Evelyn Edwards Fleckenstein and Annette Edwards Aldrich. His wife, Mary Ellen, passed away one month prior to his death. He is survived by his five children, Larry Edwards (Cathy), Jane Edwards (Chris Beckmann), M. Corinne Edwards, Anne Edwards, and Jo Ellen Morgan Phillips, 372 De Leon Dr., Miami Springs, FL 33166-5904; and seven grandchildren, Marcus Morgan, Jessica Morgan, Dan Edwards, Caitlin Edwards, Matt Edwards, Corinne Edwards, and Mae Beckmann