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Santa Barbara News-Press : JONES, Henry O.


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JONES, Henry O.

June 16, 2013 12:53 AM

Henry O. Jones, born in Santa Barbara on November 7, 1920, was one of 10 children born to Eugenia Genik, native of Ukraine, and London-born Charles Arthur Jones. He passed away peacefully on June 7, 2013 with his immediate family and loving companion of many years at his side.

As a proud Goleta Valley boy, he helped tend the family's lima beans, walnuts, lemons and alfalfa at the Jones family farm near present day Fairview Ave and Calle Real. One of his earliest childhood memories was recalling the 1925 earthquake, sitting in a bean field and noticing the horses starting to run away as the earth shook. They weren't found for about two weeks, having run about 1/2 mile from the family farm to the current site of the Elks Lodge at Kellogg and Calle Real. Henry attended Goleta Union School and La Cumbre Junior High School before graduating from Santa Barbara High School as a member of the Class of 1938.

He joined the Air Force cadets in April 1942 and went through nine months of training in Texas, including time at the San Antonio Air Cadet Station (SAACC), Randolph Field, and finally Ellington Field in Houston, where upon graduating he earned his "wings." In 1943 he was sent to Moses Lake, WA, where he started learning to fly the B-17s - the "Big Ones." After that it was on to B-24s in Boise, then crew training in Scotts Bluff, NE; and finally overseas training cadre in Casper, WY. In late 1943 he flew the B-24 from Topeka to England via Palm Beach, Trinidad, Belem and Natal, Brazil before crossing the South Atlantic to Dakar, Senegal, then north to Marrakech then to Newquay, Lands End, England, where in early 1944 he became a B-24 bomber pilot for the 702nd Squadron 445th Group based in Tibenham, Norfolk. He piloted 34 missions over Europe, receiving the Distinguished Flying Cross and an Air Medal with six clusters, ETO (European Theater Operations). Of the original 21 crews in the 702nd Squadron, only four crews (10 people each) survived intact. Henry narrowly escaped death several times, and always said it was a miracle that he and the five other siblings in uniform during the war all returned home safely.

During his career years back in Santa Barbara, he worked as a lineman and appliance repairman for 35 years at Southern California Edison. He was an active member of the Santa Barbara Ski Club in the 1950s, acting as president for a year.

During his working years he built the family home in the foothills overlooking Santa Barbara and the Pacific Ocean. He enjoyed tending to his avocados, swimming in the pool and playing volleyball.

He made several five-day backpacking trips with family into the Tuolumne Meadows/High Country region of Yosemite down into Yosemite Valley (complete with grand memories of chasing bears out of camp each night), took his family back east in 1967 on a six-week discovery of North America, and then to Hawaii in 1973.

Many a colorful story can be told about his love of the great outdoors with camping, fishing and backpacking excursions in the back country of Santa Barbara, often taking his young nephews along for an adventure. He also loved renting a small plane and flying friends and family over the Santa Ynez Mountains and Lake Cachuma in order to enjoy breakfast at the Buckhorn Cafe in New Cuyama.

Once retired, he lived near Greenfield, MO for several years, building his dream house on 160 acres of rangeland. He came back home to Santa Barbara to spend his last 25 years, and was active in Santa Barbara Adult Education classes, submitting beautifully-written and impassioned editorials to the Santa Barbara News-Press, traveling to Asia, Europe, Alaska and the Caribbean as well as throughout North America, and spending time with his family and friends.

He was a very familiar face even in his final years at Farmer Boy Restaurant in Santa Barbara where he often congregated with friends and family over morning coffee and breakfast. At Farmer Boy, Henry sometimes gave the waitresses a hard time when his bacon and eggs weren't brought out immediately!!! Ralph, the owner, made sure he always said "HELLO" to him when he walked in.

Henry and his companion Patty enjoyed canning 40 quarts of home-made applesauce every year from the trees in his orchard, allowing him to eat applesauce every day all winter. He also enjoyed orange juice from his orange trees, along with eating home-grown avocados, grapes, tangerines, cherimoyas, peaches, figs, lemons, plums and guavas. Henry loved looking out the window from his favorite chair, watching wild rabbits and quail as well as the mountains overlooking his fruit trees.

The family wishes to thank Patty Olson for her unwavering love for Henry in his last 13 years of life. Her incredible presence in good times and bad times was a blessing to him as well as his family, and she will always be considered a part of the Jones family. Likewise, long-time caregiver Joshua de Leon made it possible for dad to remain at home where he wanted to be. His loyalty and dependability were extraordinary.

The family would also like to thank Dr. Michael Bernstein from Sansum and Lawrence Spann from the Coumadin clinic for their years of excellent care for Henry. Henry will never have to say he feels "LOUSY" again.

Henry is survived by son Ronald Jones (Dennis) of Solvang, daughter Leslie Jones (John) of San Luis Obispo, loving companion Patty Olson, lovely sister Muriel Siry, caregiver Joshua, friend since childhood Bob, friends Marshall and Barbara, Dolores and Malcolm, Hank, Jo and Jennie all of Santa Barbara, numerous nieces, nephews and extended family members, and the mother of his children Ellen-Irene Montgomery of Santa Barbara. He was preceded in death by son Warren Jones, his parents, seven brothers (Phillip, William, Charles, Constant, David, Eugene, and Malcolm), sister Winifred (Winnie) and numerous other family members and friends.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Hospice Serenity House at 930 Miramonte Ave. in Santa Barbara. His family would like to thank Serenity House for the dignity, quality care and compassion they provided Henry in his final days. The family also wishes to acknowledge the love and support of so many who cherished and befriended him during his long, wonderful life journey.

Please join us for a "Celebration of Life" gathering to be held at Stow Park Grove (580 N la Patera Ln., Goleta, CA) on Sunday, July 28th at 11 a.m.


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