T. Robert (Bob) JonesDecember 24, 1924 ~ April 18, 2017 (age 92)
T. Robert (Bob) Jones died peacefully on April 18, 2017, at the age of 92 years. He was surrounded by his wife of 71 years, Dorothy Marshall Jones, and much of his family.
Bob was born in Utopia, Texas, on October 24, 1924 to Robert Newton and Ada LaValle Jones. He grew up surrounded by the large Jones family in Utopia, San Antonio, and Harlingen, where he spent most of his youth. In the summers he could be found with aunts and uncles on ranches near Utopia, Alpine, and Pampa.
He was a kind, smart, generous man who was very loyal to all he loved. His curiosity of how the world worked led him down several paths. When he was 13 years old, his father allowed him to travel alone from Harlingen to upstate New York, where he got a summer job at the Chautaugua Institute. At the end of the summer, he traveled to Brooklyn to visit his mother and grandmother. Completing his freshman year at Harlingen High School, he transferred to Texas Military Institute in San Antonio, where he enjoyed the company of his aunt Edelene Gaddis and her family. From there, he enrolled at Rice Institute where he studied mechanical engineering and joined the Naval ROTC program. The school was on a war-time schedule and he graduated three years later in May 1945, immediately reporting to duty as a commissioned Naval officer.
During a brief leave in October of that year, he returned to Houston to marry his college sweetheart Dottie Jones. They continued together to San Diego where he was the Deck Officer for the U.S. S. Edmonds, in charge of all mechanical systems on the ship as it came out of dry dock after major repairs. At the conclusion of WWII in the Pacific, they returned to Harlingen where they joined the First United Methodist Church, and he took over his father’s business interests and founded the R. N. Jones Agency, offering commercial and personal insurance. He worked at the agency until it was sold in 2015, continuing to go to the office until very recently.
In Harlingen, he and Dottie had two daughters, Cynthia and Marilyn. When Marilyn was six weeks old, Bob was called up for active duty by the Navy to serve as navigator for a fleet of destroyers in the Korean War. His family joined him two years later when he was stationed for a year in Hawaii at Pearl Harbor. During this period, he participated in the search for caches of Russian torpedoes on islands in the South Pacific. He led the landing crew that questioned the locals, who, for the most part, had never seen a Westerner before the encounter. Upon release from his military duty, the family took an extensive road trip to visit family and many of the National Parks in the western U. S., then resettled in Harlingen. Bob continued to serve in the Navy Reserves and retired at the rank of Commander.
In addition to running the insurance agency, Bob farmed in the Lyford area, growing cotton and grain. In association with his farming, he was one of the founders of the Tri-County Gin Cooperative. He was very involved in the community serving for 11 years as the chairman of the board for the Harlingen Port Authority, and on the boards of Harlingen Independent School District, Boys Scouts, and Harlingen Chamber of Commerce, where he was treasurer. For several years, he was the County Chair for the Republican Party. He was a dedicated member of the Harlingen Lions Club.
Bob and Dottie were life-long supporters of Rice University and avid fans of Rice sports teams. Bob was honored to serve on the Rice Board of Governors for four years in the 1990s, and continued afterwards as a Trustee Advisor.
Bob and a group of friends, including Jack Skaggs and John Kuppinger, traveled the back roads of Tamaulipas and Nuevo Leon camping in the mountains and along the beach, going as far as Real de Catorce in San Luis Potosí. Many lively tales came from those trips, some possibly credible. Bob and Dottie enjoyed traveling together and with friends through Europe, South America, and the U.S., and enjoyed many weekends on South Padre Island, where they could often be found enjoying the sunset at Scampi’s.
Bob is predeceased by his parents, step-mother Vera Thompson Jones, and his brother-in-law John P. Marshall. He is survived by his wife Dottie, his daughter Cynthia Jones Brown and her husband Sid Brown, and his daughter Marilyn Marshall Jones and her husband Brad Morris. He is also survived by five grandchildren, Catherine Granville (Steve), Derreck Brown (Maggie), Justin Brown, Calvin Morris, and Christopher Morris, and four great-grandchildren, Kai Granville, Margot Granville, Mackenna Brown, and Dakota Brown.
The family will hold private graveside services. In lieu of flowers, please contribute to any charity of your choice.