Ed Jerome, former Edgartown School principal and longtime Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby president, died on Sept. 18 after a beautiful morning spent with friends at the derby headquarters and quahaugging off the shores of Sengekontacket Pond. He was 71 and died of natural causes.

Born in Absecon, N.J., Ed was a star high school athlete and developed his love of fishing in waters off the coast of New Jersey. He taught at Holy Spirit High School where he was also the football and baseball coach. He was a principal in Gilmanton, N.H. before being named principal of the Edgartown School from 1979 to 2005. He worked closely with town officials to construct a new, state-of-the-art elementary school, creating the best possible environment for children to thrive and succeed. Under his leadership, the Edgartown School was awarded the National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence by the U.S. Department of Education.

The following year, he was awarded the National Distinguished Principal Award in recognition of his leadership. Ed established traditions that continue today, including the Edgartown School Memorial Day March to the Sea, the seventh grade annual ski trip to Gunstock, N.H. and the eighth grade trip to Washington D.C. In addition to his involvement locally, he helped shape education policy as a member of the board of directors of both the Massachusetts and National Elementary School Principals Associations. For more than a quarter of a century, he was professionally committed to making schools an excellent place for children to learn, teachers to teach and parents to work as partners in the process of educating their children.

His love of teaching also took place on the water. A lifelong fisherman and most recently owner/captain of Wayfarer Charters, he was an educator for the Mass Maritime Academy, teaching the 100-ton masters course from 2011 to 2018. As a charter boat captain, he spent countless hours on the water teaching young children and families the art and lessons of fishing, rarely coming back to port with an empty net.

Shortly after Ed moved to the Vineyard, he began volunteering for the Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby. In 1979, he was instrumental in saving the tournament and as president, helping it grow to the event that it is today. In keeping with his commitment to children, he was the driving force in establishing the derby scholarship program for graduating high school seniors, working closely with renowned artist Ray Ellis to fund the scholarship program.

Ed was a loving and devoted husband to Maryanne and father to Joseph and Nicholas. Always wanting the best for his family, he showed them the world, taking numerous family vacations, most recently to Ireland and Scotland this spring. He loved spending time in the kitchen cooking his favorite Italian dishes for a seemingly endless table of invited guests. He enjoyed time on the golf courses of the Island and at the helm of his beloved boat, The Wayfarer. He loved a good movie, his faithful dog Bodhi and his friends, too numerous to count.

He is survived by his loving spouse, Maryanne (Langley) and son Nicholas. He was predeceased by his son Joseph. In addition, he is survived by his sister JoAnn Elco and her husband Pete of Brigantine, N.J.; and numerous other relatives.

Funeral services were held in Edgartown.

In remembrance, donations can be made to the Joseph Jerome Memorial Fund, P.O. Box 2232, Edgartown, MA 02539, or the MV Derby Scholarship Program P.O. Box 2101, Edgartown, MA 02539.