William Shepard “Bill” Jones, age 95, of Westminster-Canterbury, Winchester, VA, passed away on January 20, 2020 following a long and eventful life.
Bill led the epitome of a 20th century life. Born on a farm in Tallmadge, Ohio, in 1924, it was a time when the cows in the barn got electricity before the farmhouse did. Bill enjoyed school and participated in theatre productions, band and sports, but recorded later that “as an athlete I was a fair musician.”
After completing one semester at Antioch College, he was drafted into the Army of the United States in December 1942. He fought with the 94th Division, 301st Infantry Regiment, Company F as a Company Messenger (Radio Man) PFC in the Battle of the Bulge, winning several commendations, including the Bronze Star for “Maintaining company communications and training replacements under continuous fire in campaigns from Moselle to Saar and across to Breakout for the Rhine.”
He also managed to get one 3 day pass to Paris, and by sheer luck ended up in the Paris USO, getting to meet Noel Coward, Maurice Chevalier, and share a quick dance with Marlene Dietrich on stage.
After the war, he returned to Antioch and graduated with a degree in Chemistry in 1949. That same year, he accepted one of the first Fulbright Scholarships to study Industrial Chemistry in Birmingham, England and enjoy side trips to Scotland, Switzerland, Norway & quick champagne flights from London to Paris and back.
Upon returning to the U.S., Bill embarked on a varied series of jobs and careers, from managing communications from Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union for the CIA, to inventing and briefly producing a skin moisturizer; running the Tent & Parachute Division for ILC, the same company that made space suits for NASA during the Apollo years.
He owned and operated a bicycle shop in West Chester, PA, for two years in the mid-1970s; and later, realizing he would have to put two kids through college, he worked for the Department of Energy managing several coal to hybrid-fuels projects for the Department of Energy until his retirement in 1988.
He met the love of his life, Suzanne R. Peter, at the American Chemical Society National Meeting of 1954 in NYC. He brought her a glass of beer, and they were married seven months later. Within a few years, they had two children, William Peter Jones (Carol, Tim, Dylan & Scott) and his “favorite” (yet only) daughter, Robin (Roberta) D. Jones.
Bill wrote his memoirs in the ’90s, Recollections, which were edited and published by his daughter in 2009.
After his retirement, he volunteered his time, energy and good humor to maintaining the Fox Hollow Trail on Skyline Drive, and also tending various gardens at Blandy’s Arboretum. He was an official Volunteer and Guide at Great Falls National Park, and also helped maintain property west of Great Falls that belonged to The Nature Conservancy.
Bill & Sue moved to Westminster-Canterbury Winchester in 1998, where Bill greatly enjoyed assisting Teresa Livingston with her wildflower garden and working on several walking trails on the property. He gave Tuesday morning Nature Walks for many years. He was also Chairman of the SVWC Buildings & Grounds Committee, and presided over the purchase and installation of the flag pole that sits at the end of the guest parking lot. He maintained many friendships with the B&G Crew and many other SVWC employees and residents.In his last years, One never left his room without hearing him say “I love you.”
A service honoring his memory was January 25, 2020 at the Westminster Canterbury Chapel. A reception followed in The Abbey.In lieu of flowers, feel free to donate to: SVWC Fellowship Fund The Nature Conservancy: nature.org