Jon “J.R.” Jones

September 01, 1935 ‒ November 10, 2012

Cromwell, Indiana, and formerly of Marion, Ohio


Jon Roger Jones, age 77, of Cromwell, Indiana, and formerly of Marion, Ohio, passed away Saturday, November 10, 2012, in Elkhart, Indiana, following complications with pneumonia. Jon had also been suffering from the effects of Alzheimer’s disease.

On September 1, 1935, Jon was born in Marion, Ohio, one of ten children of the late George Emmett and Angie Marie (Owens) Jones. He was raised in Marion and attended Marion Harding High School. Jon left High School before graduating to join the United States Air Force. He was a veteran of the Korean War, having served as a mechanic for the aircraft that was critical to the success of that war while stationed in Okinawa, Japan.

After his honorable discharge from the Air Force, he returned to Marion to propose to his wife of 58 years; Marilyn Southward. The couple had been introduced to each other through their mutual friend and brother-in-law, Richard Prater. The couple was united in marriage on March 14, 1954, and were the parents of five children.

After brief careers at Boeing Aircraft, Kirby Sweepers and the United States Postal Service, Jon began a long career as a brakeman and a conductor for Erie Lackawanna Railroad in Marion, Ohio. He often jokingly referred to himself as a paid traveler because of his frequent work related train trips away from home. Prior to his retirement from Conrail, Jon and Marilyn relocated to Cromwell, Indiana, in the late 1980’s, where they resided on Lake Wawasee. He retired from Conrail in 1995.

After his railroad retirement, Jon became a bus driver for the Lake Wawasee School District. Jon was a perfect fit for that job, as the required interaction with children revealed a kind and comforting figure to them. His personal belongings include a handwritten note in a young child’s scrawl that says; “U R the best bus driver I have ever had”.

At the urging of many students and the Wawasee faculty, Jon enrolled in evening classes at Wawasee High School. Fifty years after becoming a senior at Marion Harding High School, he was proud to graduate with the Class of 2003 at Wawasee High School, Syracuse IN.

It was during this same period of time that Jon became active in Post 223 of the American Legion in Cromwell, Indiana. He served three terms as Post Commander and it was under his leadership that the Post chose under privileged children of the Knightstown Children’s Home as the recipients of their charity. He took great pride in presenting these children with the generosity of the Post.

Jon’s grandchildren will attest to the fact that he enjoyed children and was a source of comfort to them. Always there for his family, Jon never missed an event his grandchildren were involved in, even if he had to drive for hours to be there.

A man of faith, Jon was a member of the Wawasee Lakeside Chapel in Syracuse, Indiana, and formerly he was a member of the Trinity Baptist Church in Marion, Ohio.

Jon will be dearly missed by his wife, Marilyn (Southward) Jones; five children: Cynthia (Randy) Hartman of Marion, OH, Candice (Gregg) Shelton of Smithfield, VA, Jon R. Jones II of Cromwell, IN, Daniel (Jon’na) Jones of Marion, OH, and David (Tanya) Jones of Goshen, IN; nine beloved grandchildren who lovingly referred to him as PePa: Jeremy (Jennifer) Hartman, Jared Hartman, Jeffrey (Amy) Hartman, Jennifer Hartman, Ashley Music, Jessica (Jory) Baugher Matthew Jones, Casey Jones and Sarah Shelton; eight great-grandchildren: Kelsey Hartman, Kyle Hartman, Cana Stiverson, Aidan Hartman, Tristan Hartman, Zeke Hartman, Brynna Hartman and Cason Marks; two brothers: George “Bud” Jones of Uniontown, OH, and James Jones of Mechanicsburg, PA; and numerous nieces and nephews who remember him fondly.

Including his parents, Jon was preceded in death by seven siblings: William, David, Floreine Clark, Kathryn Cafagno, Rosemary Hoehner, Virginia and Jackie.

Jon’s family will greet friends from 1 – 2 p.m. on Saturday, November 24, 2012, at the Denzer-Farison-Hottinger & Snyder Funeral Home, 360 E. Center St., Marion. Services celebrating his life will follow at 2:00 p.m., with Pastor Richard Prater of Fredericktown, OH, officiating. Military honors will be provided by the Marion County United Veterans Council.

For all of his dear friends in Indiana, his family will also be holding a memorial service in his honor at a later date to be announced.

Memorial contributions may be made in care of the American Legion Post 223,1806 S. Huntington St., Syracuse, IN 46567, or the Alzheimer’s Association of Central Ohio, 1379 Dublin Rd, Columbus, OH 43215.

Denzer-Farison-Hottinger & Snyder Funeral Home is honored to have been chosen to serve Jon’s family and your private condolences may be expressed to them by visiting