Willie "Ralph" JONES

Willie "Ralph" Jones passed away on December 29, 2012 at the Kaiser Hospital in Santa Rosa. Ralph was born on November 10, 1931 in Big Sandy, Texas to Jasper Leroy and Willie Mae Jones. Ralph had an older brother Dewey and two younger brothers Dwight and Billy. They were raised in various farming locations in east Texas. Ralph soon left the family at age 13 to work on the railroads, then at age 14 enlisted in the Marine Corp. He worked in the motor pool and then ran the horse stables at Port Chicago in the East Bay. In 1948 he was discharged and worked in various jobs. One of those jobs allowed him to meet up with a Golden Glove boxing champion in Houston where he was taught to box. He won 15 of 16 matches. Ralph eventually became the Pacific Division Marine Corp heavy weight champion. In 1952 during the Korean War, Ralph re-enlisted in the Marines. While stationed at the supply center in San Francisco he took a weekend off and traveled to Guerneville where he met his future wife Gloria while her family was vacationing at the Russian River. After only two months, they were married on September 7, 1952. After just six months together following their wedding, Ralph was shipped to Korea for a fourteen month tour of duty with the Marines. Ralph and Gloria were stationed at the Marine Corp supply depot in Barstow, CA when in 1955 their son Ralph John was born. After Ralph's discharge from 11 years of service with the Marines, the young family moved to Ventura where their daughter Leigh Andra was born in 1960. Gloria's cousin Glenn (at age 5) joined the family in 1962 after his mother Carmen, Gloria's aunt, passed away. The family moved to Sonoma County in 1963 where they resided ever since. Soon after the move to Sonoma County, Ralph became a realtor. This was his calling. He was personable, intelligent, and a caring advocate for his clients. He stayed in Sonoma County as a realtor owning and operating his own office and Century 21 franchises for over 40 years. During his career, Ralph was the President of the Sonoma County Board of Realtors in 1976, President of the Cotati Chamber of Commerce in 1985-86, taught in the evenings at SRJC, and was an advisor to the management department at Sonoma State University, and held many other volunteer posts as well. During 1980 he was awarded the Cotati Citizen of the Year. Also in 1980 he was awarded the Realtor of the Year for his service to the community. In 1989 Ralph co-founded the Homeless Prevention Group of Cotati, Rohnert Park and Penngrove. In 1998, he received the Rohnert Park Citizen of the Year award. His efforts to give back to the community he loved were tireless. A past president of the Sonoma County Board of Realtors, Mike Kelly, said of Ralph "when working with Ralph on a sale you could always count on him to demonstrate fairness with strong integrity. He was a classy guy". Ralph loved spending time with family and friends. He enjoyed cards, golf, bowling, hunting and fishing. He was at home in the outdoors. You could often find him with a chainsaw in his hands helping to cut up fallen trees for firewood. He became known as "chainsaw Grandpa". After 55 years of marriage, Gloria passed away in May 2008 from the effects of Parkinson's disease. Ralph had suffered from a major stroke a couple years earlier and lost most of his speech. During their remaining years together she was the spokesperson and he was the get-it-done guy. Ralph is survived by his brother Billy Jones of Durham, CA, son John (Ardys) Jones of Santa Rosa, daughter Leigh Townsend of Rohnert Park, son Glenn (Marianne) Hinchee of Rohnert Park. He is also survived by his grandchildren who were blessed by his love and strength and include Chris Jones (Jenny) of Windsor, Steven Jones (Kristy) of Santa Rosa, Chase (Kristi) Townsend (Sergeant, USMC stationed at Camp Pendelton), Elise Castro-Jones (Daniel) of Santa Rosa, Ryan Townsend of Santa Rosa, Scott and Devyn Hinchee of Rohnert Park, Michael Dressel of Kansas, Jennifer Williams of Petaluma, and 10 great-grand children. Ralph's love and compassion will be missed by the local community and his family that adored him. We are at peace though knowing that he is home with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. On Saturday, January 5, 2013 at 1:00 p.m. a memorial service will be held at New Hope Church at 183 East Cotati Avenue, Cotati following a private graveside service at Santa Rosa Memorial Park. Donations can be made in Ralph's honor to the Redwood Gospel Mission, PO Box 493, Santa Rosa, CA 95402. Daniels Chapel of the Roses Funeral and Cremation Services 525-3730

Funeral Home

Daniels Chapel of the Roses
1225 Sonoma Avenue Santa Rosa, CA 95402
(707) 525-3730

Published Online in the Press Democrat from Jan. 3 to Jan. 6, 2013