In 1999, civic activist Marvin Edwards wrote in his Folio Weekly column, “The Paper Trail,” words that should shake us all to
Some of these basic needs include paving streets where they currently are dirt, putting in sidewalks where there are none, removing litter, improving drainage in neglected areas, building more neighborhood parks and playgrounds and, most important, eliminating known toxic waste dump sites (an urgent need ignored for 14 years).
He was writing about the blight surrounding the new Alltel Stadium—but Edwards, who died Saturday, Feb. 10, at the age of 96, was seeing a wrong that should be righted and speaking up. That’s what he did. One of his pet peeves was the way an estimate of the cost of some Jacksonville city project would be made public and, lo and behold, by the time the Courthouse, EverBank Field, Skyway Express, River City Renaissance, etc., etc., ad nauseam, were completed, the cost would have been doubled or even trebled. He termed it “doublespeak” or “bait-and-switch” and held the responsible parties accountable, from before Hans Tanzler’s administration right up until the day he died, no doubt bemoaning the current Curry state of affairs.
Marvin Edwards, a veteran of WWII, was in the OSS, the precursor to the CIA. He received the French Legion of Honor, Congressional Gold Medal and many other awards that speak to his bravery, intelligence, sense of duty and love of country.
The world at large has lost a hero, and the city of Jacksonville has lost its conscience, that little voice inside that lets us know when we’re wrong. We should take up the fallen standard and add our voices to the cause of right over might, to honor Marvin Edwards.
Editors of his work in recent years have hand-delivered 10 copies of the issue in which his writings appeared to his home; occasions which were often marked with great conversation about Edwards’ laudable career and the many boondoggles he had exposed and criticized over the years.
Marvin is survived by his loving wife of more than 62 years, Helene Edwards, his children Jeffrey (Mary), Doug (Kristen), and Carolyn (Dan), grandchildren Lauren, David, Adam (Aaron), Nathaniel and Avalon Edwards and Christopher and Michael Oliveri, along with numerous nieces, nephews and extended family. He was predeceased by his parents and brother, Robert D. Edwards.
A memorial service will be held at 11:30 a.m., Friday, Feb. 16, at Congregation Ahavath Chesed, The Temple, 8727 San Jose Blvd., Mandarin. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Community Call (communitycall.org), People for the American Way or River Garden Foundation.