JONES, CLAUDE ROBERT November 25, 1923 - August 6, 2018 He and his late, beloved wife, Margaret, were married 71 years and raised four children. Claude was born in Chicago and received his formal music training at the Calumet Conservatory of Music. As a teen he successfully lobbied the Chicago school board to become the first African-American in the ROTC at Fenger High School. After serving in the army in WWII, he began his professional career first, in a few different trios, then as a solo act for the rest of his career. He also did session work – as a regular presence on piano during recording sessions at famed Chicago music label Chess Records in the early 1950s and with many of the R&B artists of the day, including Betty Everett and Curtis Mayfield. Having studied photography at Ray Vogue Studio and at the prestigious Art Institute of Chicago, he applied his talents doing professional photography and taking lots of family photos, films and videos. In Toronto, he played the Waldorf Astoria, Cafe de Copains, the jazz series at The Ontario Science Centre, the King Edward Hotel and other venues. In Chicago, he designed and opened the piano bar of the first Playboy Club in the late 1950s. Claude was predeceased by his wife, Margaret, and sister, Edith Perry. He's survived by his four children (Jeanie, Bobby, Peggy and Jeff), eight grandchildren (Dana, Courtney, Morgan, David, Evan, Alexis, Jayme and Toby) and seven great-grandchildren (Micaela, Gabriella, Tristan, Breckin, Damion, Gabriel and Jacob). Memorial is scheduled for Wed. Aug 15 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at The Simple Alternative Centre, 1535 S. Gateway Rd., Mississauga, ON. In lieu of flowers, donations to McCall Centre for Continuing Care in his memory would be much appreciated.
Published by Toronto Star on Aug. 12, 2018.