Gary Dean Jones ….Ended this life’s adventure on 9/16/2022 at age 89
Gary was born on October 21, 1932, in Hastings NE to Walter and Iva Maude
Armstrong Jones near the beginning of The Great Depression. He graduated in the
Hastings High School class of 1950. He attended the University of Nebraska after
winning a full U.S. Navy Scholarship, was president of TKE Fraternity, president of Pi
Tau Sigma Engineering Honorary, and graduated with a degree in Mechanical
Engineering in 1955. He served as a Naval officer as third in command of the USS
Currier (DE700) based in San Diego, CA. He proudly served in the Navy, active duty
and reserves for 18 years. He was selected for the rank of Commander.
Gary began his Engineering career with GE in 1958 in their Cincinnati, Ohio, Jet Engine Business and was involved in solving production problems on their break-through J79 engine used on the F-104, F-4 Phantom, B-58 Hustler, and Convair’s 880 airliner. They were the leading and fastest aircraft of that era. He also did supersonic wind tunnel testing on the J-93 engine for the B-70 last big supersonic bomber. He then worked for GE Ordinance Department on the Polaris Missile Guidance System in Pittsfield MA. This was the secret underwater submarine launched long-range missile that has kept us safe for 60 years.
In Louisville, he was selected to attend GE’s famous Creative Engineering Program
where he was required to produce an invention each week to solve a real problem for a GE business. He graduated at the top of the program. He headed Product Design Engineering in GE’s Refrigerator Business and was General Manager Engineering of Dishwasher and Home Laundry Businesses. He led the creation of many industry-leading products and had eleven patents.
In 1979, he became Vice President of world-wide Engineering & Technology for Singer in New Jersey and New York City, and then Thermador, and Harman International in Los Angeles. He enjoyed many years of business travel to Europe, Asia, and South America with manufacturing operations in 14 countries. He considered his greatest business accomplishment was to lead and inspire his teams to creatively invent and develop highly successful leading edge products that benefitted and eased the lives of multi-millions of customers while also keeping costs affordable and substantially reducing energy consumption.
In retirement in fantastic California, he was very active in Thousand Oaks CA volunteer activities and was elected Man-of-the-Year in 2005. He was an officer in the outstanding Thousand Oaks Rotary and Senior Concerns Board. He created the
concept, designed and built (MJ operated) several highly profitable, upscale, successful charity thrift stores, and led, did basic lay-out, and supervised construction of major expansion of Senior Concerns Alzheimer’s Day Center.
Gary and MJ returned to Louisville in 2006 where he became chairman of congregation at Hurstbourne Christian Church, led and supervised construction of a beautiful, major church expansion. He was currently a member of Middletown Christian Church’s exceptional “Seekers Class”. His book “The America of My Youth” was about his experiences growing up on the Great Plains of Nebraska during The Great Depression and WW-II and the 1935-1955 period. This experience and his Naval service gave him great pride in and love for this country! Gary was an Eagle Scout and a Boy Scout Adult Leader. He loved camping, hiking, canoeing in America’s beautiful ocean-spanning majesty. He loved tennis and the senior group at Louisville Indoor Racquet Club and was happy to have played 66 years.
Gary married his dream girl, Mary Jane, and it was “the second time around” for both of them. He considered that and building their amazing family, together, as his greatest life accomplishment. They greatly loved and were very proud of their large, wonderful family including seven terrific children with families, twelve awesome grandchildren, and four sweet great-grands. The many friendships developed in Nebraska, Short Hills NJ, Thousand Oaks CA, Louisville, and around the world were priceless and some have lasted a lifetime. They had over 49 wonderful years together and she was his best friend and devoted life partner. They had fun being together and laughed often. Gary always said he was the luckiest guy he ever knew (even after he had ten cancers, heart failure, kidney failure, and Parkinson’s) and said, “God has been so very good to me!”
He ended this life’s adventure with his bucket list empty and his wonderful memory
banks full. He rode life’s great roller coaster with all its steep drops, sharp turns, scary loops and thrills, to the end of the line holding tight to his beloved MJ!
Gary is survived by his wife, MJ Jones, and children: Sarah (Allen) Olson - Burlington NC; Linda (Mike) Ricci - Collegeville PA; Pam (RW) Groom - Nashville; Sandra (Troy) Holt - Portland OR; Jack Miller - Cleveland; and Kim (Rod) Burgess - Ft. Collins CO. Grandchildren: Lauren (Jason) Elstad, Matt Ricci, Austin Burgess, Brett (Angela) Ricci, Taylor Groom, Sydney Lopez, Anna Groom, Mackenzie Burgess, Chance Miller, Maggie Miller, Juliet Jones and Abigail Jones.
Great grandchildren: Stanley and Jayden Elstad, Violet, and Danica Rivera
His brother: Noel Jones, of San Diego and nephews Evan and Lenny Jones
He was predeceased by his son, Brad (Mandy) Jones, Nashville.
In lieu of flowers the family asks that contributions be made to the Wounded Warrior Project.
A Celebration of Life service will be held at Middletown Christian Church (500 N Watterson Trail, Louisville, KY 40243) on Sunday, October 16, 2022 at 2:00 pm.
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