Nothing can prepare one to loss of a parent. I learned my father died late on Thursday night and have been dealing with the grief and moving on since then. My father, Wally Pierce Jones, was one of my biggest fans and influenced me greatly to be the wandering nomad that I have become. His death will undoubtedly also alter the course of my life and shape me in ways I don’t yet know.
Eugene has lost one of its most notable Elders. Wally Jones died at home and was found on May 5 in his bed, appearing to have died peacefully after some recent history of heart trouble.
He was born in Grants Pass to Ellis and Barbara Jones on December 7, 1945. He spent most of his life in Eugene, graduating from Sheldon High School in 1963. He attended the U of O for two years. Wally was one of the first members of the Hoedads Treeplanting Cooperative, and worked with them till its end in 1994. He served as its president in the 80’s and in Hoedads’ final years.
Wally had a passion for skiing and sailing. He spent a lot of time at Mt. Bachelor and other ski areas, often earning his way teaching others to ski. He owned a sailboat, a Lightning, and when he wasn’t painstakingly working on it, he sailed it on Fern Ridge for years, where he was a member of the Eugene Yacht Club. He also was a skilled guitarist and strong singer, and had an unusual ability to remember words of myriad songs. He was a consummate story teller and a master of jokes.
He was involved with the Oregon Country Fair from its early days, and was a charter member, serving on various crews before settling on the Recycling Crew in 1986, which he stayed on till he became semi-retired as an Elder. He also got involved on the Path Planning Committee and was found tromping around at the fair site early on in the season and brainstorming on possibilities.
Wally is survived by two twin daughters, Darcy and Miel, who have spent a lot of time in Security. Darcy Cronin and her kids spent last Country Fair with Wally. Miel Hendrickson will be at this year’s fair, which she had hoped to spend with her father as his SOP. He was partnered for many years with Karen Stingle, who continued to be his friend, neighbor, family, and “best
Above all, Wally was a people person. He was our historian, having participated in so much of our community’s growth. He had an uncanny memory for events, people, places, and the dynamics underpinning it all. We relied on him to keep the stories straight.
Friends and family: Wally’s Wake tonight @ Sam Bond’s 6 p.m.
Come celebrate his life, share stories, and reunite at his favorite watering hole.