James M. Edwards

Oct 8, 1941 – Nov 25, 2017

James M Edwards obituary image 1




James M. Edwards (“Johnny Lee”) of Bellevue, Washington, went unexpectedly to be with his Heavenly Father on Saturday, November 25, 2017 at his home in Bellevue.  He was 76 years young.

James was born in Bunkie, Louisiana on October 8, 1941, to the union of Upton and Viola Edwards.  When James was an infant the family moved to Seattle, Washington, where James grew up.

James was predeceased in death by his parents; his siblings Walter, Kathleen, Clarence, Upton, and Abraham.  He is survived by his beloved wife of 47 years, Carolyn S. Borden-Edwards.  Also surviving him is his daughter Trenton Mullen (George) of Moreno Valley, California, and grandchildren Markie, Markietta, Terrance, and Ashley, and a host of great-grandchildren; and by his daughter Traycie Jordan (Bruce) of Spanaway, Washington, and grandchildren, Katara, Alexis and Solomon-David.   His nephew Alexander Ransom (Nikki) of Bellingham, Washington, was the son of his heart, and he considered their child Alexa Rose to be one of his grandchildren.

His surviving siblings are Earlene Bethea of Seattle, Washington, Velma Smith of Renton, Washington, George (Edmond) Edwards (Lagrima) of Bremerton, Washington, Viola Childress of Mesa, Arizona, Elvina Dailey (Guy) of Pomona, California, and Sam Edwards of Auburn, Washington.

James had a wonderful abundance of nieces, nephews, and great nieces and nephews.  He always greeted them by saying “It’s your favorite uncle!” or “It’s my “favorite niece or nephew!”

His family and many longstanding friends were very precious to him.  Some of those friends he knew since early childhood!  He had a warm, sweet smile and loving demeanor.  He gave the gift of love to his family and friends.  He was accepting of all those he came into contact with, regardless of how brief the encounter.

James loved being outdoors.  He was one of the first black skiers in the area and skied at the local ski slopes as well as at all the great destination ski resorts.  He introduced his children, grandchildren and nephews to the world of skiing.  At the grand age of 60 he took up snowboarding!  Skiing, hunting, long-distance motor cycle trips, hiking, camping, riding bikes locally as well as participating in 100+ mile rides all over the state were some of his passions.

At the time of his death, he owned Eastside Transmission, Inc.  Eastside Transmission was established by the original owner, William (“Bill”) Calder, in 1962 and James worked for him from almost the beginning.  In the 1970’s Mike Brown came to work for Bill and Ed was Mike’s mentor.  In 1980 Ed and Mike purchased the shop from Bill.  In 1990 Mike went on to open up his own business and Ed continued with Eastside Trans.

James (known to everyone in the industry as “Ed”) was the first black man to own any kind of shop in Bellevue!  Ed was very proud of the shop and the fact that we provided automotive services to multiple-generations of the same families.  Ed was “Eastside Ed” for a grand total of 55 years!  Ed did not think of himself as a trail-blazer, but he truly was.  He was the go-to-guy when anyone was in a quandary about how to fix a car.  The shop repaired newer automobiles but Ed himself personally repaired vintage and foreign cars.

He was active for years with Kiwanis and their community oriented outreach.  The shop was also active in the Auto Angels program through the Bellevue Presbyterian Church.  There are many, many activities and programs Ed was involved with that will not be listed here, but please be aware that he served with pride and received a great many blessings.


Dee harris
Piedmont , Sc
Dec 23, 2017

Dear Family, I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your dear loved one and send you my sincere condolences. May you find comfort from God's word at Revelation 21:3,4 and John 5:28,29. Heartfelt prayers are with you during this difficult time.

Laurie Leno & Paris Kimbrough
Kent, WA
Dec 16, 2017

John, we will miss you always. We will watch over Carolyn, and keep you both in our hearts.

Love you.

Laurie & Shorty

Elizabeth Morales
Chandler , AZ
Dec 15, 2017

Auntie Carol my heart is heavy for you. It has always been true love between you guys. I have never thought of Uncle John without thinking of you and vice verse. You two were like Bonnie and Clyde.

When I was little, I remember uncle saying " don't call me uncle in public" , " I'm too young to be anyone's Uncle". He was always joking around and playing with the kids. Nothing was a big deal, everything seemed to have a simple fix.

I am so happy that I finally made it to hang out on the camping trip on Memorial Day. We had a chat about kids today and ate Bugles at the fire. I love you my Libra Uncle. You and your never ending smile will always be in my heart.

Elaine Harris-Cole
Chandler, Az
Dec 15, 2017

JYD...what a man. I was very young when we moved to Seattle, but JYD was there. I always wondered why he and auntie Carol lived so far in the woods. But if there were ever a question about his integrity, parenting, and just an all around good man....but put those questions to rest. Uncle was a solid man. Always there, always smiling. I regret the 20 years that I spent away from Seattle as I lost precious years with him...but rest in peace Unc...love you!

Christopher M. Williams
Puyallup, Wa
Dec 15, 2017

My family and I are truely sorry for your loss. I knew Ed and shared his company and laughed with him on a few occasions. He will truely be missed.

Nicholas Elliott
Chula Vista, CA
Dec 15, 2017

James M. Edwards known by many as "John Lee". But for my brother and I he was the "JYD" (Junk Yard Dog). When we moved up to Seattle the first family member I remember meeting was uncle John Lee. The year was 1988 and our favorite WWF star was the Junk Yard Dog and Uncle John Lee looked almost identical. Now he could have been upset and said don't call him that......but that's not him. Instead....as the story goes if he needed to be the "Junk Yard Dog" then he would be and I loved him for it. He was a caring man and was always there to help. Rest in Peace Uncle.

Larry Hill
Portland , OR
Dec 14, 2017

Uncle Johhny Lee...though if I'm honest, I called him, "Uncle John-a-Lee." I smile when I remember him, he was one who set a higher standard, led by example, and would literally knock sparks off your head if you did wrong. He moved my family to Compton, drove me to college during my freshman year, and gave me sound advice on life and finance. I am a better man today because I had positive, strong and caring role models like my uncle to follow after. Rest In Peace Uncle...you were a beacon of light for many!

Bob Cannon
Scottsdale, Az
Dec 14, 2017

RIP Ed. From all your old Bellevue Sunriser Kiwanis friends.

Valerie (Alvin) Davis
Macedonia, Oh
Dec 14, 2017

Traycie and family, you have our condolences. Will continue to lift you up in prayer!

Edward C Elliott
Des Moines, Wa
Dec 14, 2017

Hey old dude you're a hard act to follow, In my eyes there was nothing you couldn't do and nothing you didn't know. You always had a saying to make a point. My favorite was don't worry a bout the mule going blind. Just hook him up and hold the line. Your principles made you a Pillar in the family and your smile a beacon. Our lives won't be the same with out you. Rest in peace old man.

John Cannon
Lake Forest PARK, WA
Dec 13, 2017

My sincerest condolences to the family of James. May you be comforted by His grace.

Stephanie Scudder
Bellevue, Wa
Dec 12, 2017

Mr. Edwards local grocery store QFC, man of his word, and a giving person. He will be missed. Our prayers go out to his loving family.

Maurice "Pepper" Harding
Seattle, WA
Dec 12, 2017

There is no true way Mary and I can express our sorrow at the loss of our true friend John Lee. Our hearts go out to his wife Caroline, daughter Tracy and all his family and friends.

Teresa Hernandez
Des Moines, WA
Dec 12, 2017

We will so miss John Lee... It hurts my heart that he won't be physically with us anymore, My love and prayers to the family for their loss.


Mary Hill (Leonard) Hart
Hampton, GA
Dec 10, 2017

Carol, Trenton & TrayCie. I personally send my condolences to each of you and your families on behalf of ours - The Hill Family. This has been very difficulty because you are have always been considered FAMILY to us despite the distance or years. I am so very grateful for all that John & Carol have done for us over the years especially in the past year and a half after losing my aunt and sister. You both were ALWAYS there for us. Thank you so much for sharing such an awesome man with us and those whom he had the pleasure of meeting. We love you all and may God continue to bless you with His peace during this time of sorrow.

Deon Edwards
Wildomar, Ca
Dec 10, 2017

I haven't seen uncle James since I was about 10 or 11, but like uncle Abraham, no matter how many years passed, his impression stayed with me. It saddens me that I took "time" for granted, and didn't put forth a serious effort to get back in touch with him as I did other family members. As it stands, I will have to hold dear to the memories I do have of him, and make a conscious effort to hear as many stories as I can about him. To uncle James, I love you yesterday, today, and every day that follows. I ask that you look down on us, and guide us when you can, hold us when we weep, and smile that smile that only YOU have to brighten our days. Rest in paradise.

Shelia Edwards
Tukwila , WA
Dec 10, 2017

I loved my uncle. I remember when he was a teenager at Granny and Papa's house singing and be-bopping around the house. Uncle help me so many times with my cars as I grew up and I have to admit, I liked being one of his 'favorite' nieces. He and my Daddy, Clarence, gave me knowledge about all the problems they had. - Love you Uncle, you will be missed.

Edmond George Edwards Jr
La Mesa, CA
Dec 10, 2017

Uncle Johnnylee & Auntie Carol. My deepest condolences to you Auntie on your great loss. I will always remember the good time I spent with uncle. I thank God I came up for Labor Day, and was able to spend awesome time with uncle in Cle Elum, at the Johnson Brothers Place. I will truly miss you uncle, you were the "Man", awesome personality, always happy, smiling and loving. I remember all the good times spent with you and auntie, and will take you in my heart forever. See you later Uncle Johnnylee!!!

Deanne Erickson
Federal Way, WA
Dec 9, 2017

I am so blessed to be able to say John was my friend! I have a lifetime of memories I will hold close to my heart! 100 mile bicycle ride through the Canadian San Juans, camping, blues festivals, skiing, supper clubs, - just sitting and visiting. I will miss him forever.

Yvette (Jackson) McKee
Edgewood, Wa
Dec 9, 2017

My condolences for my family.

Regena Bethea
Renton, WA
Dec 9, 2017

So proud of your accomplishments as an African American business owner, but more importantly, your role as a husband, father, grandfather, uncle, brother, mentor, and friend to many.

I never saw you without a smile, never known you to compromise your principles, always knew you could be depended on early in the morning or late at night to lend a helping hand to anyone in need. You are missed.

Rest In Peace.

June Beleford
Seattle, WA
Dec 9, 2017

Words cannot express how much "Unc" will be missed.by his numerous nieces and nephews and great nieces and nephews. He was always there for family and never complained when we would run our cars till they would run no more and looked out for replacement bargains. The words I would use to describe him most was respect, integrity, intelligence, humorous, and loved family. Pick a topic and he could match any intellectual.He lived life to the fullest and will be missed dearly. Thank you Uncle for all you've done for the generations of Edwards family. Carol, Trenton and TrayCie hold dearly the memories he left you with, including the silly things...they will make you smile and honor his great sense of humor.

TrayCie Jordan
Spanaway, WA
Dec 8, 2017

This is one of the greatest men of all time. I love you and miss you daddy, and I thank God for the short time we had together.

You lived life to the fullest and gave a piece of your heart to everyone. Rest in peace with the angels.....you are gone now but your memory will live in me and my children forever. I promise you that......save a spot in Heaven for me

I LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!

Beth & Randy Drobny
Bellevue , Wa
Dec 8, 2017

We will miss seeing John’s sweet smile! He was the nicest man and was always willing to help anyone who asked. He loved his family and especially his wife- they were the cutest couple!!

We’re sure he is in Heaven helping and watching over Carolyn.

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