A highly-regarded past chair of the Richmond Chamber of Commerce, John (Gerry) Edwards, has passed away, age 78.
Born in Liverpool, England, Edwards arrived in Canada in the late 1960s and started out in the telecommunications field, working as a systems engineer that took him across Canada, and around the world.
As a former engineer for Nortel, he became the lead engineer for a project in Turkey, revamping the country’s telecom network.
From Nortel, he went on to ownership of several technical companies and start-ups.
Management consulting came next and then Edwards had eight successful years with the Richmond Chamber of Commerce, culminating with him becoming chair.
The Richmond News’ director of advertising, Rob Akimow – a past chair of the chamber himself - has nothing but fond memories and admiration for Edwards.
“I worked closely on the board of the Richmond Chamber with Gerard for many years and, specifically, I was fortunate to serve on the executive as his vice chair and have the opportunity to learn from Gerard while he was chair,” said Akimow.
“What struck me most about him was his kindness. When people think about business, oftentimes, they might have a perception of a cutthroat world. Gerard absolutely bucked that trend and could be defined, in my opinion, as someone who was genuine and caring.
“On a personal note, I used to love to rib Gerard about his bad dad jokes. He had so many of them. I am going to miss him and I know so many others will as well.”
Indeed, in October of 2020, Edwards was honoured by the Canadian Association of Management Consultants with a Lifetime Achievement Award.
One of his greatest loves, according to his family, was working with young people, and this “evolved into him being an award-winning educator.”
He co-authored educational materials, and was honoured with a faculty emeritus designation from Douglas College.
Throughout the years, he taught at Douglas College, Royal Roads University and the University of the Fraser Valley, as well as CMC Canada.
“Even when the ravages of ALS changed his physical capabilities, his mind remained strong and his steely determination to live positively was amazing,” wrote his family in his obituary.
“Throughout his illness he still took enormous pleasure in seeing his family and friends, as COVID permitted, and in spending time with them, via Zoom or in person.”
Edwards is survived by his wife Carla Gail Tibbo, stepson Mark Tibbo-Lenoski, step daughter-in-law Stacey Neves, grandsons Diego and Noel, sister Margaret Lynch (Peter), brother William Edwards (Fiona), first wife Nicole Edwards, and many nieces and nephews.
In lieu of flowers, the family is asking for memorial contributions be made in Edwards’ name to the ALS Society of BC (https://www.alsbc.ca/donate/), or “friends can just enjoy a glass of robust shiraz and reminisce about a great life, well lived.”