EDWARD JOSEPH DAY, son of Michael J. and Elvina (Grinnell) Day, was born 8 July 1903 in East Boston, Massachusetts. His father was a salesman for a fish firm on the Boston waterfront. He was graduated from English High School in Boston and then attended Hotchkiss School in Lakeville, Connecticut to prepare for college. He applied for admission to Harvard College by examination, not common at that time, and of the 1003 men who passed, he was one of 43 men who won a place on the Honor Roll, with an average grade of B or better. In the fall of 1922, he entered Harvard as a member of the Class of 1926. Due to the death of his father, he left school and worked for several years as the manager of an A&P grocery store in Providence, Rhode Island to earn the money to continue his education. In 1931, he was awarded an A.B. degree with honors from Harvard College and was elected a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Society. He was graduated from Episcopal Theological School in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1934 with a B.D. (Bachelor of Divinity) degree and was ordained a deacon in June 1934 by the Rt. Rev. Henry Knox Sherrill, Bishop of Massachusetts. He was married to Lillian Margaret Crocker, daughter of William H. and Mary (Mayer) Crocker of Boston in 1931 in Boston. They had two children.
In the summer of 1934, the Rev. Edward Joseph Day was offered the position of vicar at St. Andrew's Church in Ayer, Massachusetts and its mission in Forge Village (now St. Mark's Church in Westford), as well. He had been recommended by the Episcopal Theological School as a man of unusual scholarship and enthusiasm, with considerable experience in work with young people. This he proved to be and more. He was ordained to the priesthood at St. Andrew's on 19 December 1934 by the Rt. Rev. Henry Knox Sherrill, Bishop of Massachusetts, assisted by our rector, the Rev. Endicott Peabody, Headmaster at Groton School in Groton, Massachusetts. It was the first service of ordination ever held in our parish. Rev. Day was especially interested in the choir and church music, and he persuaded the vestry to replace the second-hand pipe organ in use since 1901 with a new Hammond organ. Many beautiful services of special merit were held during his time at St. Andrew's. At the church in Ayer, with the assistance of a parishioner, he converted a part of the choir room to the right of the chancel into a sacristy, to store vestments and sacred objects used in the services. At the mission in Forge Village, he installed a new altar rail. While serving here, he also taught part time at Groton School.
He accepted the call in the fall of 1938 to become rector of St. Paul's Church in Carondelet, Missouri, a neighborhood in the extreme southeastern portion of the city of St. Louis. In 1941, he was appointed minister-in-charge of St. Paul's Church in Overland, Missouri, a small city to the west of St. Louis. He was commissioned in the U.S. Navy in 1943 and served as chaplain for 30 months aboard a U.S. Coast Guard manned attack transport vessel. He participated in five invasions in both the Atlantic and Pacific theaters, including Salerno, Southern France, Normandy, and Okinawa.
After his discharge from the Navy in 1945, the Rev. Edward Joseph Day joined the faculty at Lenox School, an Episcopal secondary school for boys in Lenox, Massachusetts, and became head of the History Department. During the summer, he read Evening Prayer on Sundays at St. Paul's Church in Otis, Massachusetts, a small wooden church built in 1828 as a mission of Trinity Church in Lenox, Massachusetts that later became a summer chapel for families with second homes the Berkshire region. He gradually became actively engaged in the Diocese of Western Massachusetts and by January 1951 was serving simultaneously as assistant rector at St. Paul's Church in Stockbridge, vicar at Chapel of the Good Shepherd in South Lee, and priest-in-charge at St. George's Church in Lee. He resigned his position at Lenox School at the end of the 1951 school year to become full-time rector at St. George's Church in Lee, Massachusetts.
He became the fourth rector at St. Luke's Church in Worcester, Massachusetts in January 1954. He described his style of ministry as one where parishioners would be encouraged to develop "a friendly concern for other people." In fact, Rev. Day and his wife Lillian were responsible for many outreach and social events during their time at St. Luke's and the resettlement of refugee families became a strong parish tradition. He served at St. Luke's for 17 years, until his retirement in 1971, when he was appointed Rector Emeritus. During his retirement, he also served as assistant rector at St. John's Episcopal Church in Worcester.
The Rev. Edward Joseph Day died 17 January 1994 in Montpelier, Vermont. His funeral service was held at St. Luke's Church in Worcester. He was buried with his wife in Mooreland Cemetery, Paxton, Massachusetts.
1. "Accepts Call As Rector of St. Luke's," Worcester Daily Telegram, Worcester, Massachusetts, 20 November 1953, 1.
2. Alexander, David Nelson The Diocese of Western Massachusetts, 1901-1951 (Springfield, Massachusetts: Printed by the Commonwealth Press, 195?), 84.
3. Bennett, Mrs. Frank Silas History of St. Andrew's Church: Ayer, Groton, Forge Village 1892-1942 (Ayer, Massachusetts: St. Andrew's Church, 1944), 19.
4. Episcopal Clerical Directory 1993 (New York: The Church Hymnal Corporation, 1993), 199.
5. Nunley, Richard From the Blackstone to the Housatonic: A History of the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts - The First Hundred Years (Springfield, Massachusetts: Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts, 2002), 224.
6. "Rev. Edward J. Day, 90; was Worcester minister," Worcester Telegram & Gazette, Worcester, Massachusetts, 19 January 1994, B5.