Robert Maynard Jones died on March 16, 2010, in Springfield, Ore., surrounded by family and, as he said, without regrets.
Robert was first diagnosed with gall bladder cancer in 2006 and fought back hard against the disease for four years. He lasted longer than most, but he ultimately lost the battle shortly after the final recurrence in January. He died surrounded by friends and family.
Robert was born April 19, 1951, in Oregon City, Ore., the second child of Tommy and Eleanor Jones. He grew up there and graduated from Oregon City High School in 1969. He graduated from Portland State University with a bachelor’s degree in Russian, and later returned to earn a master’s in business administration.
In 1978 he moved to Hood River with his wife, Bonnie, which is where his children, Wesley and Nora, were born. He became active in community theater and local government, and made many good friends and meaningful contributions in the community over the years.
He loved restoring old houses and took pride in turning a run-down house on Cascade Avenue into a beautiful home. But mostly he was proud of the fact that the home was always filled with kids, friends, activities and laughter.
In the mid-1990s Robert finally put his Russian degree to use, and moved to central Russia to help out during a time of turmoil and transition in that country. That soon led to several other great work opportunities around the world, which brought him to India, Britain, Israel, France, Australia and all over the U.S.
He eventually made his way back home and worked in Oregon for the last eight years of his life, most recently at Fiserv. He and Bonnie divorced in 1997.
In 2002, he met the love of his life, John Lee, and happily settled onto “The Farm” in Springfield. He and John spent many hours working on The Farm and took pride in building a pond with two waterfalls, growing great vegetables and berries, and tending to sheep, llamas and goats. The two of them turned a storage shed into a wonderful guest house so family and friends could come and enjoy the farm life with them.
Shortly before he died, Robert got a loom and was so proud of the blankets he wove from the wool of the farm’s sheep. One of his few regrets was that he couldn’t finish just a few more blankets.
When they weren’t working outside, John and Robert had many adventures traveling to new and interesting places around the world together.
Robert was very proud of his children and was pleased they had grown up to be such wonderful adults. He was happy he was going to be a father-in-law when Nora and Jeff announced their engagement.
He liked that Wesley and childhood family friend Lea Sanders-Wilcox reconnected after 25 years. He was always interested in what was going on his kids’ lives and loved phone calls just to check in and catch up, or playing an excellent host during weekend visits to the farm.
The last week of Robert’s life was both happy and sad. He accepted the fact that he was dying, but was angry that it had to happen so soon. He was able to spend time talking about his life and what he wanted to happen after he passed.
Being a person who was used to always being in charge, he gave out lots of assignments. There were lots of stories told and much laughter among the tears. He wanted it to be known that he was surrounded by love and family and friends. He died holding John’s hand.
Robert is survived by his partner, John Lee, of Springfield; his mother, Eleanor Jones, of Gladstone; his daughter, Nora Jones, and her finance, Jeff Ryan, of Portland; his son, Wesley Jones, of Portland; his sister, Kay Hopkins, and her husband, Charlie, of Milwaukie; his ex-wife, Bonnie Hinton, and her husband, David, of Hermiston; best friend Terry Vann, of Olympia; as well as nephews, great-nieces, cousins and lots of friends.
A celebration will be held at the McMenamin’s Edgefield, 2126 S.W. Halsey, Troutdale, on April 18. The gathering starts at noon with the tribute to Robert beginning at 1 p.m. Per Robert’s instructions, it will be a party and not a funeral, with beer, laughter and jeans.
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