Edwin Brent Jones
After an incredibly brave seven-year battle with colorectal cancer, Edwin (Ed) Brent Jones peacefully succumbed on Nov. 20, 2016, at the too-young age of 58, holding the hand of his loving husband, Eddie.
Throughout the long struggle, Ed continued to live every day to the fullest. Before his stage 4 diagnosis in 2014 but after his initial six months of surgeries in 2009, he hiked two-plus weeks in Scotland and in Canada, spending a month in each country, as well as a month in Scandinavia. He biked in Provence, exploring its every historic town inch-by-inch; and walked almost every street (it seemed) in Paris.
Since the devastating stage 4 movement of the cancer to his lungs and three years of almost continuous chemo, he toured all throughout the Mediterranean; walked every part of Rome; visited Cuba on the first LGBT cruise ever to go there; and, most recently this August, saw 34 shows at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival before visiting Prague, Vienna and Budapest, as well as many towns in between. Since his November 2009 initial operation, he attended over 925 live theater and opera productions (not including many full seasons of ballet), including a whopping 195 in 2016 — including 24 plays and three operas while in his final 10 weeks of hospice care. And then there are the many scores of museums he avidly visited in the Bay Area, Philadelphia, L.A., New York, London, Paris, Rome, Istanbul, etc. — all while fighting silently the pains, embarrassments and indignities of colorectal cancer.
Throughout his cancer years, Ed continued until this summer to walk back and forth each day the two miles from his home in downtown Palo Alto to his position managing computer support for the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department of Stanford University. Having held that position since 2000, he continued going to work two weeks into his hospice care — adamant to finish or transfer to others all of his current projects. Prior to Stanford, Ed held operations, box office and systems/facilities management positions at California Performance Group/The Theatre Group, San Jose Repertory Theatre and the American Musical Theatre, for a total of 20 years. Ed graduated from the University of California, Davis, in 1983 with a B.A. in Dramatic Arts, where he was a radio DJ at KDVS, playing classical and jazz.
Prior to his onset of cancer, Ed was an avid runner, completing several marathons, running five miles daily the Stanford Dish with his husband and friends, and showing up every Saturday morning to run with the Baylands Frontrunners — an organization for whom he was webmaster all through his cancer years. Ed created a popular blog read by thousands called Guydads, where “two gay, Jewish dads … share their adventures, travels, thoughts and opinions” (www.guydads.blogspot.com). With his husband, he hosted an annual, house-filling Passover seder for gay men, for which he researched and created over many years a booklet detailing the accomplishments of gay, Jewish heroes in the fields of the arts, politics, social action and gay freedom.
Ed was born in Johnson City, New York, and moved with his family to Los Gatos at the age of 11, where he graduated from Los Gatos High School in 1976. In school, he was a trombonist in the marching band, features editor for the newspaper, and member of Boy Scouts and Key Club. His most memorable growing-up memory was a cross-country camping trip with his parents, two siblings and a carsick poodle.
Besides his husband, Eddie Reynolds of Palo Alto, Ed is survived by six adoring children and stepchildren: Shannon Jones, Joshua Reynolds and Jonathan Reynolds of San Francisco; Brenton Jones, Lindsay Jones and Eli Reynolds of Aptos. He is also survived by his loving parents, Robert and Patricia Jones of Los Gatos, two siblings and many cousins.
A memorial and celebration-of-life service open to all friends and family will be held at 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 4, at Congregation Beth Am, 26790 Arastradero Road, Los Altos Hills. Rabbi Janet Marder, who married Ed and Eddie twice (once in 2005, strictly religious, and then in 2008, finally legally) will officiate. There will be a social gathering at the synagogue following the service for everyone to tell stories and remember with smiles and tears this brave hero.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests at Ed’s suggestion that those who want to honor Ed do so with contributions to TheatreWorks Silicon Valley (www.theatreworks.org), San Francisco Playhouse (www.sfplayhouse.org), or New Conservatory Theatre Center (www.nctcsf.org).
And from a dear friend, Bill Yule, comes these parting words in a poem he wrote upon hearing Ed had moved into hospice care:
Never saw your face without its smile
And always hear the echo of your laugh.
Complaints always the things that stayed
They knew too well they were unwelcome
Anytime or anyplace you were.
You are the sunshine in the darkest day,
The song the heart forever sings.