Edna James Studley of Laurel passed peacefully at home on Feb. 27, 2021. Edna was born and raised on the family farm in Laurel, the sixth of nine children of the late Raymond and Laura (Wilkerson) James.

She graduated from Laurel High School in 1955 and immediately following, began work at DuPont in Seaford. In 1957 the lady married the gentleman when Edna married Don Studley. The love of her life, Edna and Don celebrated 35 years of marriage until his passing in 1992. They enjoyed entertaining and traveling, and packed wonderful memories into those 35 years. 

Edna was quite the lady. The epitome of grace and understated elegance, she never knew that she lit up a room when she walked in. Nor that a fresh breeze wafted through the room with the subtle fragrance of Estée Lauder. Her smile was infectious. She gave freely of herself and demonstrated unconditional love to her family and friends. She had the best of friends – life-long friends who were more like family than friends. Among her family, she was a matriarch. Frequent gatherings with her siblings were complete with fried chicken, dominoes, and lots of love and laughter. 

Edna had a work ethic that was unrivaled. She could work most people under the table well into her eighties. She was not a complainer – never. She was quick to smile, slow to pass judgment, humble, and the best Nana ever. She was a wonderful homemaker and the consummate hostess. We still remember the punchbowl that she filled with different flavors of ice cream for a family gathering – an entire punchbowl! She could mix up a freezer of ice cream at the drop of a hat. She was a wonderful cook and loved to entertain, which included the many bridge clubs that she played in. She was a charter member of one club that met for over 50 years. I don’t believe she played a bridge game that she didn’t like. She was fiercely competitive, and I never saw her lose a game of checkers… to anyone. She wouldn’t even throw a game to one of her granddaughters. She was fun and fun-loving. You always knew where you stood with Edna. She was genuine. Her love of children was unmatched. She personified the adage of faith, family, and friends.

She could parallel park a car on the first try every time. She was athletic and could hit a ball out of the park. She enjoyed water skiing in her younger years, catching, steaming, and eating crabs, and anything that her granddaughters were into. 

Her career at DuPont would span 37 years and 10 months. The friendships she made through the company were numerous and life-lasting. Even though many friends were transferred to other locales, they remained close and stayed in touch. After her retirement in 1993 she began piano lessons, as she said to keep her fingers nimble since she wouldn’t be typing much anymore.

Edna was a member of Centenary Church for over 60 years and was active in the UMW (United Methodist Women) in her younger years. She was an assistant Girl Scout leader in Donna’s formative years and was the Cookie Nana for her granddaughter’s Troop 664. She volunteered in the HOST program at school, helping young students with their reading. She so enjoyed those interactions with children.  Everyone knew her as “Nana.”

In addition to her parents, Edna is predeceased by her brothers Emory and Minos James, sister Betty Elliott, and two sisters, both named Anna Mae, who died in their childhoods, husband Don Studley, daughter Cynthia Ellen Studley, and great-grandchildren Alexander Paul and Elia Claire Taylor.

She is survived by her daughter Donna Gordy, granddaughters Ashley Taylor (Paul), and Christine Justice (Tyler), and great-grandchildren Ethan and Owen Taylor, and Elizabeth and Cora Justice, siblings Alene James, Marie Adams, and Howard James (Peg), and many nieces and nephews whom she thought the world of.

We will miss Edna, mom, Nana, and Aunt Edna. She touched our hearts very deeply and left her indelible mark on our lives. We are better for having had such a positive role model, and we will honor her memory for the rest of our lives.

We are grateful to Vitas Hospice, for her caring and compassionate team of Stacie, Lori, Polly, Christine, and Lisa. And to her loving caregiver, Carol, who was such a help in our time of need. You were our angels when we needed you. Without all of you, we could not have honored mom’s wish of remaining at home.

Due to COVID-19, the family will have a private gathering when we can safely do so. If you would like to make a donation in Edna’s memory, may we suggest the Centenary Food Pantry, 200 W. Market St., Laurel, DE 19956, as mom hated the thought of anyone going hungry, especially children, Centenary Church, at the same address, or Ronald McDonald House of DE, 1901 Rockland Rd., Wilmington, DE 19803.