Local Folks: Laura Phillips Edgecombe

Local Folks: Laura Phillips Edgecombe
Gator fans Adam and Laura Edgecombe.

October 13 is a special day for Laura Phillips Edgecombe. It’s the day that, 14 years ago, she and her husband went on their first date. It’s also the day that, 11 years ago, they wed in Fletcher Park.

Edgecombe is a third-generation Jaxson who grew up in Mandarin, husband Adam, a first-generation from the San Jose area. This Bishop Kenny girl and Bolles boy both ended up at the University of Florida, but they didn’t get together until afterwards.

The couple currently lives just south of San Marco in Miramar. Their son, Holden, is now a high school junior at his dad’s alma mater. Two dogs complete the Edgecombe family: Poppi, a black and tan Coonhound, and Georgia, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

Edgecombe finds safety and security in family. Spending time with them has been instilled in her from a young age.

“A lot of grace can be given for just being you,” she said.

She holds dear memories of going to her grandparents’ house regularly, seeing her aunts and uncles frequently and attending formal family reunions annually. Respect for and bonds with family are things that brought she and Adam together, and they delight in scheduling with them dinners, barbeques and weekend days that lead into night.

Edgecombe also considers friends “incredibly important.” Growing up in the same city and attending the same college, she and Adam have many mutual friends. One of them, who grew up with Adam, married Laura’s sister. That made the group even tighter and is a testament to what a small world Jacksonville can be.

Laura Edgecombe with her friend and co-chair of the 2023 Cowford Ball, Sarah Foster.
Laura Edgecombe with her friend and co-chair of the 2023 Cowford Ball, Sarah Foster.

“We all ended up in the same space, which is great,” she said.

It’s one of the reasons she and her husband love their neighborhood. Many of the friends they’ve retained since childhood live close by today. Oftentimes, they can be found dining together at Taverna, Oceana or bb’s. Fall finds the Florida Gators fans watching college football.

Edgecombe admits she might like books even more than she likes the Gators.

“When we go on vacation, I am known to read five books in three days,” she said.

Her favorite genre is historical fiction – stories that portray real life but are fictionalized, ones that speak to the history of a space or tell a story to help her imagine a time in history.

“Every now and again, a love story’s fun as well,” she said.

Print media is Edgecombe’s preference over digital or audio.

“I very much believe in print media, like hardcore. So, I love The Resident! I get excited when it shows up in the mailbox. It sits on my desk, and I read the entire thing, always,” she said.

Pre-COVID, the Edgecombes vacationed annually in Whistler, Canada, a glacial mountain. Since the pandemic, they tend to stay closer to home: the Keys for coastal activities, Tennessee and Illinois to visit extended family members. Locally, Edgecombe’s bliss involves ten toes in the sand and hot sun on her face.

“The beach is our go-to place. We love our natural resources,” she said.

Workwise, Edgecombe holds the title of Principal, Downtown Public Spaces, but she has been actively engaged in bettering Jacksonville’s downtown space in one capacity or another for over a decade. She sees clearly the untapped potential of Jacksonville’s downtown core, and it comes naturally to her to take up their causes.

“I remember stories from my grandparents and from my parents about downtown,” she said.

In addition to working for the betterment of Jacksonville, Edgecombe volunteers toward that end. One of the numerous ways she serves the community outside of her job is as co-chair of a parks and recreation subcommittee for Mayor Deegan. Another is as board member and liaison for JAX Chamber Downtown Council. All of that is in addition to her role on Epping’s board of governors.

Adam and Laura Edgecombe
Adam and Laura Edgecombe

Edgecombe knew to expect questions in her Local Folks interview about what she does with her time. In discussing it with her husband, he quipped, “Tell them you nap.” She admitted that she often does that in her downtime, the little that’s left in a day.

“Time is so precious. It really is,” Edgecombe said.

So, she does with hers what brings her the most joy.

By Mary Wanser
Resident Community News

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