Good-Bye to a Dear Friend and Board Member

HANOVER, NH — Jonathan Edwards, 72, former Director of Planning and Zoning for Hanover, passed away from a heart attack June 7, 2019. His funeral will be at 2:00 p.m. Saturday, June 15, at the Norwich Congregational Church.

Jonathan was born May 28, 1947, to Norman and Ruth Edwards in Salem, Massachusetts. He grew up in Salem, and in later life relished reminding others that Salem was a major maritime city in the 1800s, with some of the first American ships to sail to China to find markets there. He also noted with glee that he was descended from both the “witches” and the judges in the famous witch trials of the late 1600s.

Mightily interested in history, he majored in the subject and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Massachusetts in 1969. With the country at war in Vietnam, he entered the Navy as a lieutenant and served in tactical intelligence aboard a guided-missile frigate until 1972.

He attended the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill to receive a master’s degree in Urban Planning. He felt that planning was one profession that allowed a generalist, like himself, to work with diverse areas of knowledge. His first professional position was as a campus planner at the University of Regensburg in Bavaria, where he put his knowledge of both planning and German to use. He also pursued his love of rowing there on the Danube.

Back in the U.S., he worked as a planner in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, doing land planning, design, economic development and neighborhood conservation. He did similar work as the Director of Community Development in Reading, Massachusetts from 1987 to 1998, and again as the Director of Planning and Zoning in Hanover from 1998 to 2013. In Hanover, he was particularly pleased with the development of the town Master Plan, the Open Space plan, the streetscape redesign of Lyme Road (which created the first roundabouts in town), the building of Gile Hill’s affordable housing, and his contributions to the addition to the Etna Library. Sometimes zoning or other barriers meant he had to say “no” to citizen applicants. He could laugh when a friend joked that he put the “NO” in HaNOver! But Jonathan always tried to help residents and others find another way to manage a problem or plan.

He was called out of retirement in 2016 to become Interim Director of the Upper Valley Lake Sunapee Regional Planning Commission for a year. After his second retirement, he kept busy as the President of the First Baptist Church of Hanover in Etna, as a member of the church’s two mission trips to the Dominican Republic, as a board member of Advance Transit, running, rowing, helping his daughter and son-in-law renovate their house, and studying his family’s geneology.

He had a deep Christian faith, and preached four sermons at his church. He loved being a father to Joanna Wert, and father-in-law to Griffin Wert. He leaves them and his wife, Carol, his Uncle Bob, cousins, sister-in-law Sandi McBride and her husband, Loren, nephews Brett and Kevin Wilburn, and many friends. The family wishes to thank the valiant efforts of Hanover’s EMT team, and the care given by police officers Tim Meenagh and Ethan Ball.

Jonathan, we will meet in the sweet by and by.

Courtesy of the Valley News