Father James T. Edwards, a retired parish pastor and noted musician, died May 13 at the age of 70.
Born in St. Louis, he attended St. Louis Preparatory Seminary South, Cardinal Glennon College and Kenrick Seminary. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1976 by Cardinal John J.Carberry.
His first assignment was as associate pastor of St. Charles Borromeo Parish in St. Charles. He was named associate pastor of St. George Parish in Affton in 1980, St. Clement Parish in Des Peres in 1985 and St. Ann Parish in Normandy in 1991. Father Edwards was appointed administrator of St. Ann Parish in 1993 and pastor there the next year. He served as pastor of St. Elizabeth of Hungary Parish in Crestwood from 2002 to 2009 when he retired due to health issues.
In retirement, he began serving in 2011 as spiritual director of the archdiocese’s Office of Apostolic Services.
Amanda Suchara, a professional musician who also has worked for various parishes in the archdiocese, did a video tribute to Father Edwards after he died, singing a song he wrote. He wrote songs for children’s Masses and vacation Bible schools. She first heard his songs when she was a child at St. George Parish in Affton, and she credits him as one of her musical inspirations. “His melodies were singable, catchy and in a simple style,” she said.
He played guitar, was an accomplished vocalist and a skilled juggler, Suchara said.
Father Edwards was an original member of the Father Scheid Players, a group of priests who put on plays to benefit the Catholic Youth Apostolate. Msgr. Norb Ernst, pastor of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque Parish in Oakville, said Father Edwards “loved being part of our group” and was known for the ease at which he memorized lines and for his talent. “He was quiet, but if you put the spotlight on him he was ready. He was a good guy, fun, and he loved his priesthood,” Msgr. Ernst said.
There will be a private service for the immediate family subject to the restrictions imposed as a result of the COVID-19 guidelines.