Delmer O. Jones
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August 11, 1922 - October 18, 2013
Delmer Orin Jones, born August 11, 1922, passed away at his home in Grand Junction, CO on October 18, 2013.
The last of four sons of William M. and Ethel (Christie) Jones, he was born in Newcastle, WY. Del spent his youth there and in Frankfort, KS. His family then moved to Rifle, CO where he learned the trade of auto mechanics from James B. "Shorty" Johnson. The "boss's daughter", Frances Johnson of Grand Junction CO, was the love of his life and they married on October 19, 1942. They joined Del's parents in Richmond, CA where Del worked in the Kaiser shipyards helping turn out Liberty ships.
Del served in WWII, in the Amphibious Engineers of the US Army from 1943-1945, stationed in the Pacific Theater. He took part in the New Guinea Campaign, Bismarck Archipelago Campaign, Luzon Campaign and Papuan Campaign. He received the Philippine Liberation Ribbon with two bronze stars and the Asiatic Pacific Ribbon with four bronze stars. A fall from one of the Army's huge amphibious truck, called "Ducks" left him with a severe back injury. Several surgeries left him with a gimpy leg, but with the war over Del came home, took up flying and quickly became trained and certified as an aircraft mechanic.
He and his wife, Frances, were a large part of the post-war private aviation movement running several fixed base operations in Northern CA from 1949-1971; the longest on Coddingtown Airport in Santa Rosa CA.
In search of a new challenge, Del and Fran returned to Grand Junction, CO, where they operated the Marsales, Inc. Honda motorcycle dealership for ten years. Del sponsored a team in local motorcycle racing and was an active member of the business community. Del and Fran left Marsales and retired into RVing and travelled the US for the next 25 years.
Del challenged the world around him with an infectious smile and mischievous wit. He reinvented himself as needed and never failed to make the most of the life he'd been given. He was a Husband, Father, Grandfather, Great-Grandfather, Great-Great-Grandfather, pilot, mechanic, entrepreneur, sportsman, and traveler.
Del was preceded in death by his parents; brothers, Marvin and Elmer; his identical twin, Dale, and his beloved wife, Frances (2009). He died the day before their 71st anniversary.
Surviving him are his children, Dennis Jones, Petaluma, CA; Cherie (Dan) Mannion, Duncans Mills, CA; Ellen (Jim) Law, Anthony (Donna) Jones, and G. Scott Jones all of Grand Junction CO. Also, saying goodbye are 13 grandchildren, 28 great-grandchildren and three great-great-grandchildren.
Private interment November 8 at the Western Colorado VA Cemetery with a memorial celebration to follow at a later date.
Published in The Daily Sentinel on Nov. 5, 2013