Cover photo for Edward "Jay" Tracey's Obituary

Edward "Jay" Tracey

June 21, 1953 — December 3, 2023

Charleston, SC

Edward "Jay" Tracey

Writing an obituary for someone bigger than life is a daunting task.  For all involved in this endeavor of love, we know Jay Tracey was bigger than life.

Born to Edward and Helen (Davis) Tracey on the summer solstice, June 21, 1953, in Zanesville, OH. Jay was born on the day that brings more light into the Western Hemisphere than any other day of the year. Jay's spirit was filled with light and he chose to shine that light into many dark corners. Jay illuminated pathways others could not see. Summer solstice also happens to be the longest day of the year, which  also seems fitting if you were on the receiving end of one of Jay’s many long-winded stories! If you were lucky enough to go down Jay’s memory lane, you would meet those who helped shape him. Teachers, coaches, athletes, musicians, Generals, sports heroes, astronauts, family, best friends, dogs, cats, hall monitors, crossing guards…  The stories and the characters kept coming and in the end, you felt like you knew these mentors also and you were grateful for the journey he shared.

This man that Charleston knew as a Realtor, Broker, and Business Owner was also tender, compassionate, and had a great sense of humor. Jay was a man of great integrity and kindness. He deeply felt the plight of those less fortunate, while recognizing great strength in places most others overlooked. If you were blessed to be in his inner circle, you knew you were seen by Jay.  As a Leader, Jay didn’t just guide, he didn’t just teach, he poured his knowledge into people. He earned respect, he earned trust, two things that Jay held in the highest regard. He was gifted with a brilliant mind and with it he made it a point to create a thriving business that lives on even in his absence. Must get in a foxhole? Trust that Jay was the man you wanted there with you as he was five steps ahead of the rest. Courageous, loyal, analytical, and resourceful, Jay was a master strategist and a fierce defender.

From Ohio (Go Bucks!), to Minnesota, to North Dakota, to South Carolina, Jay made his mark. A high school basketball champion, a marathon runner, an avid fisherman, and an outdoor enthusiast. Jay was adventurous and determined to succeed. While most of us think of a vacation as a sunny beach, Jay's idea of vacation was to be dropped off in Quantico at Northwestern Ontario. Jay would then hike, canoe, and live off the land .  This vacation took nearly 2 weeks, and Jay more than survived, he thrived.  Jay took this vacation twice which is a true testament to his warrior spirit.

People of faith captured Jay’s attention and his recognition which is seen in his choice of friends.  Jay had a quiet faith that showed through his acts of kindness and acts of service, which were countless. He gifted a car to a cancer patient, he walked the beach to ensure baby turtles had a fighting chance to make it to the sea, he Adopted a Highway, he brought home animals that didn’t have anywhere else to go. There are far too many kindnesses shared to be named here and probably many that only he knew about. He was nurturing, loving, and filled with grace.

Jay also had an endearing love of music and had a great appreciation for the work of George Harrison.  He spent countless hours listening to his enormous vinyl collection. Jay enjoyed trading, buying, selling, and gifting music. His knowledge of musicians, instruments, methods of recording, turntables, and speakers, was extensive and inspiring. Jay lived his life in such a way that even at 70 years of age, he had friendships from childhood that he was grateful for and actively participated in. Time goes by and we grow distant, but for Jay, time went by and he wanted those he cared for so deeply, to remain. Jay savored life in such a way that we all feel eternally grateful for the wisdom he imparted, the love he shared, and the joy he brought to every one of us.  We look forward to the day when we are reunited and we are betting there’s going to be a really good story waiting for us when we get there.

Jay is preceded in death by his parents, Ed and Helen Tracey. He leaves his brother Kevin Tracey (Kim), a man who was more than a brother, he was a cherished friend, whom Jay adored.

He is survived by his beloved wife, Cheryl Rose Stepka-Tracey, for whom he had unwavering admiration and enduring love. Jay is also survived by their children, David Larsen, Kindra Larsen (Steve Dallman) , Jolene Oldsberg, Teresa Larsen-Brenke (Jeff), and Rob Larsen (Shawn). He was a proud ‘Papa Jay’ to their 11 grandchildren: Isaac Schultz, Sam Oldsberg, Jack Schultz, Genevieve Oldsberg, Olivia Brenke, Victoria Brenke, Nicolina Antz, Audra Larsen, Ella Larsen, Joseph Brenke, and Kailea Larsen. He is survived by countless friends, both old and new.

Expressions of sympathy may be viewed or submitted online at

Arrangements have been entrusted to McAlister-Smith Funeral Home, 347 Folly Road, Charleston, SC 29412, (843) 614-8494.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Edward "Jay" Tracey, please visit our flower store.

Past Services

Memorial Service

Friday, December 15, 2023

Starts at 11:00 am (Eastern time)

James Island Presbyterian Church

1632 Ft. Johnson Road, James Island, SC 29412

Friday, December 15, 2023 - 11:00am followed by reception in the church Fellowship Hall, James Island Presbyterian Church

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