George Oliver Jones

Waterford - George Oliver Jones, formerly of Upper Pattagansett Road, East Lyme, and most recently living at Atria Assisted Living in Waterford, passed away at Lawrence + Memorial Hospital on Friday, April 25, 2014.

George was 94 years old and was predeceased by his wife, Verna, in 2009, and oldest son, Matthew, in 2000.

He was born on Nov. 25, 1919, in Philadelphia, Miss., the son of George Henry and Margaret Elizabeth Dennis Jones. He Married Veronica Barbara Sacharko at Sacred Heart Church in New Britain on Dec. 8, 1945, and moved to East Lyme in 1949.

In 1921, Mr. Jones' family moved to Monroe County, Ark., where he grew up helping his family farm and attending local schools. In 1937, Mr. Jones joined the Navy and spent his 18th birthday in China aboard a Navy supply ship, on which he was able to observe close up the fighting between the Chinese and Japanese. In 1939, he was transferred to Navy Submarine School at the Groton Submarine Base, and remained with the submarine Navy for the rest of his 20 years of service. Mr. Jones served on three submarines during World War II, made seven war patrols in enemy waters, helped sink 17 Japanese ships, including a large I Class Japanese submarine, a destroyer and they also battle-surfaced and sank with their deck guns two patrol boats at different times, bringing back five Japanese sailors as prisoners of war. His commanding officer was awarded the Navy Cross for two of the four war patrols Mr. Jones made on the USS Pogy. His own commendations included the Combat Action Pin, Navy Unit Citation, Good Conduct Medal, China Sea Service Medal, National Defense Medal, American Area Medal, American Defense Medal, Submarine Combat Pin, Asiatic Pacific Medal with four Battle Stars. In more recent years, he received the state Veterans Medal from the secretary of state of Connecticut, as well as a medal and citation from former Gov. Jodi Rell.

Mr. Jones moved his family to East Lyme in 1949, while serving aboard the USS Sea Robin. After the move, he became one of the original members of the Flanders Fire Department and became president of the Flanders School PTO, organizing construction of the school's first playground. In 1953, while serving as an instructor at the Diesel Engineering School on the submarine base, Mr. Jones was the first president of the East Lyme Little League. With all volunteers they built Buecher Park, which was the Little League baseball field in front of what is now the Industrial Park. When the town built new fields to replace Buecher Park, one of the fields was named "George Jones Field" in recognition of his efforts, and he became known around town as the "Father of the East Lyme Little League." In the 1960s, he received an award as East Lyme Citizen of the Year. Mr. Jones retired from the Navy as a chief petty officer in 1956, and worked for the Electric Boat Division of General Dynamics for the next 25 years, retiring in 1981 as a supervisor over a technical group in the nuclear design department. After retiring from Electric Boat, Mr. Jones became a full-time real estate broker of the George Jones Real Estate Agency, retiring in 1993.

He loved going to McCook's Beach in Niantic throughout his life. He frequently brought the family like a typical beach enthusiast when he was younger. In most resent years up to this winter, he still went regularly to watch the people and feed the "gulls." He also became involved with lecturing at East Lyme High School, working closely with the social studies and political science staff, feeling that history should be an essential part every student's education. He also took part in veteran activities at East Lyme Middle School and West Side Middle School in Groton. After over 12 years of research, he finished writing his autobiography. It has now been published and is entitled "JONESY: For God, County, and Something to Eat."

Mr. Jones was a member of Saint Agnes Church, a life member and past commander of Kari Hill Post VFW and district commander, a member of the East Lyme Veterans Council, a life member of Submarine Veterans of WWII, also Submarine Veterans Inc., and the Holland Club, a member and past president of Branch 237 Fleet Reserve Association, and a member of Tinker-Turner Post American Legion.

He is survived by two sons, George H. Jones and his wife, Deona, of Scotsboro, Ala., John P. Jones and his wife, Karen, of Niantic; and a daughter, Barbara J. Mertens of Midland Mich.; and a sister, Margaret Tisdale, of Jackson, Miss. Nine grandchildren, three step-grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren also survive him.

He was predeceased by three brothers, H.E. Jones of Clarendon, Ark., B.T. Jones of Largo Fla.; a sister, Pearl McKoy of Brinkley, Ark.; a granddaughter, Jennifer Jones of Nashua, N.H.; daughter-in-law, Janet Jones of Scotsboro, Ala,; and most recently a son-in-law, James A. Mertens of Midland, Mich.

The funeral service will assemble at 10:15 a.m. Tuesday, April 29, 2014, at the Thomas L. Neilan & Sons Funeral Home, 48 Grand St., Niantic, and proceed to St. Agnes Church, Haigh Avenue, for a Mass of Christian Burial at 11 a.m. Burial with full military honors will follow at the East Lyme Cemetery in Flanders. Calling hours will be from 5 to 7 p.m. Monday, April 28, 2014, at the funeral home of Thomas L. Neilan & Sons, 48 Grand St., Niantic.

Donations may be made in his memory to the East Lyme Veteran's Council, or St. Agnes Church in Niantic.

Condolence messages may be left on Mr. George Jones' memorial page at www.neilanfuneralhome.com.

Funeral Home

Thomas L. Neilan & Sons East Lyme Funeral Home
48 Grand St Niantic, CT 06357
(860) 739-6112

Published in The Day on Apr. 27, 2014