Ernest Wayne Jones
Ernest Wayne Jones, a Jacksboro native, died last Monday, October 23, 2017 in San Antonio, Texas.
Ernest was born in Wichita Falls, Texas in the home of his paternal grandparents, Henry Ernest Jones and Lela Pippin Jones. He grew up in Jacksboro among a large extended family. His ancestors have been in Jack County since the 1800s and it has always been “home.”
Ernest was preceded in death by his parents, Henry Ernest Jones and Thelma Ramzy Jones Hickerson and by his sister, Flora Dean Jones, who died in infancy. He was also preceded in death by many grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins.
While his heart was always in Texas, financial considerations dictated that he attend OU. This worked out well for him as Ernest met his wife, Ruth Jacobs, while they were both attending the University of Oklahoma. He is survived by his loving widow, Ruth, after 59 years of marriage. He is also survived by his dear brother, Derrell Jones and sister-in-law, Judy Colvin Jones. He is survived by his daughter Stacey Jones Anderson and husband, Patrick Anderson (who was more like a son than a son-in-law) and his daughter, Linda Jones. He is survived by his grandchildren who love him so dearly. And he is survived by his uncle Bobbie Ramzy and his aunt Vera Ramzy Doshier and well as numerous cousins and so very many dear friends.
Ernest began working as soon as possible. He delivered papers as so many young boys do. Then worked at the Ice House during the school year and as a roughneck in the summers. His connections allowed him to get roughneck work before he was old enough and it paid quite well. While attending the University of Oklahoma, he worked summers as a Derrick Hand. Likely still the most dangerous job on the rig and especially so in the 1950s.
During the Vietnam era, Ernest spent approximately 8 months in the Army, stateside, doing active duty and approximately 8 years in the Army Reserves. He was fortunate not to have experienced any combat, but served his country with pride.
After leaving college, he tried out a few jobs. He worked moving furniture, sold burial plots, sold mobile homes, and worked for his uncle Bo, at Bo Jones Enterprises among other pursuits. He was always looking to work and often had more than one job. He also learned to fly and got his pilot’s license. He eventually went back to the oilfield. He started back in the oil field as a ‘Mud Engineer’ working for NL Baroid, living in several different areas along the Gulf of Mexico in Louisiana. Soon those flying lessons paid off and he was also working as a pilot delivering chemicals offshore in a seaplane. Many wonderful memories were made with the family with Ernest flying both regular and seaplanes. He worked in small towns like Morgan City and Franklin, Louisiana to larger cities like Lake Charles and New Orleans. Not spending too much time in one place during these years, but those years are packed with wonderful memories. The larger cities were later and while he was working as a Sales Rep.
He had his last transfer in 1976 to Oklahoma City with the promotion to Regional Manager (one of just a few) for North Central US. He delighted in the success in this position. His region was the first to hit the million dollar mark and he was honored many times as having the highest producing region. Exxon would eventually buy out the division Ernest worked for and Exxon was Ernest’s last employer. He took early retirement in his fifties from Exxon when it was offered.
Early retirement allowed Ernest the ability to delve into entrepreneurial endeavors. Ernest started a few businesses with varying degrees of success. The first of which was a bust but with his experience in treating chemicals and connections he was able to build a very successful chemical treating business, O.G.&C., INC. along with a profitable consulting business. In addition to these and other business pursuits, Ernest purchased property in Stratford, OK for a sod farm, got heavily into the ostrich business and thoroughbred horse breeding. Horse racing was one of his favorites and while making money was always an objective it brought more joy than dollars.
Work, in any form, was a passion for Ernest. In the early days of the newlyweds’ lives together Ernest was working for Lee Way as a furniture mover and selling burial plots door-to-door in the evenings. He was asked once decades later “Which job did you most hate or dislike?” Ernest’s quick answer was that he’d never had a job he didn’t like. And in response to “I’m sure you didn’t like selling those burial plots door to door!” his answer was that”It wasn’t his favorite job but it made some extra money and it helped me learn to sell.”
When Ernest was forced to close his business and move to San Antonio to be near his daughters, it was likely the most difficult thing he’d ever had to do. Still, he never stopped wanting to work, wanting to make money and always wanting to continue living. If you can ever know this of another person, I would say Ernest lived his life without regrets, without looking backwards, without looking too far forward. While it was awful for him to have his independence stripped away bit by bit, he never quit living with whatever he had left. Up until his last moments, he was walking everyone’s legs off, looking for things to fix, and laughing with his great belly laugh. Even without any communication ability, if someone laughed he was so ready to laugh along and he could really crack himself up too. That laugh will be sorely missed by his loved ones and those who spent time with him during those difficult years realize what an inspiration that was.
Ernest donated his brain for research on Frontotemporal Dementia. In lieu of flowers please consider a donation to BluefieldProject.org. His ashes will be buried at Cottonwood Cemetery at a later date.