Bob Jones. That’s an ordinary name. Google lists 10 million results.
When I was a kid growing up in what is now the heart of the DFW Metroplex – it was country back in the 60’s and 70’s – one Bob Jones lived around the corner from our property. His wife Chris and he raised three kids. Their youngest was six years older than me, so we didn’t do a lot together. The two girls had quarter horses, and mom drove them all over everywhere to show Skippa Streak, a Grand National Champion. Bob stayed home to run their family business… and often would bring us the best homemade potato soup you’ll ever taste.
My understanding is his bio went something like this: father died when he was three and his mother raised seven children alone; had a ninth grade education; joined the Navy at 17 and served on Guam at the end of WWII; earned his master’s electrician license on the GI Bill; started a lighting fixtures business; became an early distributor of Casablanca ceiling fans; invested their money well, especially in local real estate; and, accumulated a net worth in the millions. Pretty much a Horatio Alger story thanks to hard work, street smarts and the Midas touch. The greatest generation.
In the last few years, Bob had health issues. They moved 100 miles west of Ft. Worth to the ghost town where Chris grew up, named for her great grandfather… Farmer, Texas. Their home sat atop a hill and looked out on 700 acres they owned. My three siblings and I visited them two Decembers ago. Bob’s sight was just about gone, yet his memory was perfect. He shared quite a few stories about our youth.
Bob Jones died yesterday at the age of 82. I’ll be heading to Ft. Worth for his funeral on Friday. You see, Chris is my late mother’s youngest sister… and Bob Jones was my uncle. It will be an honor and joy to celebrate his extraordinary life.