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Roger Sidney Edmonds

Roger Sidney Edmonds,  73, husband of Ruth (Walley) Edmonds of 38 High Street, Ipswich, passed away on the morning of Monday January 17, 2011 at Beverly Hospital.

He was born in Boston January 27, 1937  to Reginald and Marietta (Swett) Edmonds. He spent his early days in Needham, interrupted by a few years in Mexico where his father worked as a mining engineer. Graduating  from Yale University in 1960 with a BS in physics, he went on to pursue graduate studies in physics at both Brown University and the University of California at Davis, earning a MA from UC Davis in Physics. He spent the summers of his college years working for his sister and brother-in-law at Monument Inn in Lennox, where he honed his skill as a maker of exceptional pancakes. 

Mr. Edmonds was employed at Stanford Research Institute with Leo Poppoff, then at EG&G in Boston. For over 30 years he served as a professor of physics and mathematics at Middlesex Community College in Bedford.

In the summer of 1969, he married the love of his life, Ruth D. Edmonds, at King’s Chapel in Boston. In their youth his two sons had the benefit of early morning impromptu physics demonstrations at the breakfast table. Topics included but were not limited to the warming of atmospheric gasses, and the physical properties of water on a hot skillet.  

He attended King's Chapel in Boston for over 30 years, and was also a member of the Unitarian Fellowship in Ipswich. He was a founding member of a local group called Ipswich Environmental Inc., and he sought to address local environmental issues as early as 1971. He was also a proud member of the American Physical Society, The Ipswich Historical Society, Mass Audubon Society, Trustees of Reservations, and the Museum of Fine Arts.

His interests and intellectual talents were very broad. He had a lifelong passion for astronomy, a deep love of history, and an impeccable knowledge of grammar. One son remarked that the correct use of grammar could always be measured by asking, “How would Dad say this?” and employed this method across a variety of standardized tests with excellent results. At the same time, Roger was remarkably humble, and was more likely to be known for his kindness and generosity than his intellectual talents. From an early age, he adored classical music. As an adult he was perhaps happiest having a picnic with dear friends and relatives on the lawn at Tanglewood while the Boston Symphony played. His love of nature led him on many family vacations to the National Parks, two favorites being Acadia in Maine and the North Rim of the Grand Canyon in Arizona.

In addition to his beloved wife of 42 years, Ruth, he is survived by two sons, Reginald W.W. Edmonds of Gloucester and Grant W.A. Edmonds of Eugene, Oregon; a sister, Marion Southard of Naples, Florida, and many beloved nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by a brother, Dr. Hugh Edmonds of Holyoke and a sister Janice Wallen of Florida.

A memorial service, followed by a small reception, will be held at 3:00 pm on Sunday, January 23 at the First Church in Salem, Unitarian, at 316 Essex Street, Salem. Rev. Jeffrey Barz-Snell will officiate with the participation of Rev. Carl Scovel. Family and friends are respectfully welcomed. Arrangements are under the direction of the Whittier-Porter Funeral Home of Ipswich.

Memorial contributions in his name may be made to the  Alzheimer's Association, P.O. Box 96011, Washington, DC 20090-6011 and, or, the American Cancer Society 30 Speen Street, Framingham, MA 01701-1803


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