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Joan Ronalds Jones

January 7, 1935 - October 4, 2023

Burial Date October 4, 2023

Funeral Home Layton Funeral Home

Obituary Viewed 1334 times

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Joan Ronalds Jones passed away peacefully in her home in Bedminster, NJ on October 4, 2023 at the age of 88.

Joan was born in Manhattan on January 7, 1935 to Elsa and Hugh N. W. Ronalds .  She was raised in Glen Rock and Ridgewood, NJ, where she demonstrated her early sense of adventure by climbing neighborhood trees.  In her spirited teen years, she reveled in a trip out West to see national parks with her aunt and uncle, and she spent a fantastic summer of waitressing and independence at the shore.  She attended Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, where she studied economics and met her eventual husband, Wilmot Rufus Jones III, with whom she raised seven children.  They would become her life’s dedication.  Taking them to Little League and soccer practices, singing concerts, scouting and student council activities as well as countless graduations gave Joan enormous fulfillment and gave her children confidence and strong direction for achievement.  Over the years, she moved houses many times to live in Chatham and Ridgewood, NJ; Indianapolis; Pittsford, NY; New Canaan, CT; and St. Louis, before coming full circle to New Jersey once more.

One of four named Joan in her elementary school class, she grew to distinguish herself with a commitment to academics that she learned from her parents and passed down to her offspring.  A proud graduate of Cornell in 1956, she was then accepted to The Wharton School before forgoing the latter to support her husband’s studies.  She was a student at Katherine Gibbs School and of the stock market as well, researching exhaustively to help earn and save for her kids’ college bills.  In her 60s, after a more-than-full-time role raising her children, she seriously considered attending law school to follow in her father’s footsteps.  Eventually, she instead joined Bank of America and continued working well beyond retirement age.  While there, she enjoyed seeing others realize that the “old lady” in the office was acing the certification tests that tripped up those decades younger.

This tendency to underestimate Joan was a product of her humility and soon corrected upon getting to know her better.  Her yearbook quotation was “Still waters run deep”, and she was proud to be told that she “had no veneer.”  She was wary of inconveniencing others, yet there was no fiercer advocate for her family’s wellbeing.  She was a rule follower, yet she would be tickled to see others make mischief, as long as no harm was done, of course.

Joan loved the seashore, making long drives to Cape Cod for years, with kids piled in the back seats and the speed limit occasionally observed.  She was a fan of “witnessing history”, always making time to watch political conventions for either party or setting her alarm for the the middle of the night to watch a royal wedding.  She was an avid photographer, even constructing her own darkroom to develop film herself.  Photography later gave way to the simpler pleasure of playing Wordle and comparing scores with her kids.  Besides nurturing her own children, she also raised countless vegetable crops, from her 100 foot long garden in upstate New York in the ’70s, through to tomatoes that sprouted off her condominium deck this year.  From jogging, to baking, to sewing, and more, the pursuits may have varied, but the theme underlying all did not: she tried.

Joan staunchly stuck to her values, even when doing so created challenges that would make others back down.  Center to all of them was a love for her family and a daily effort to look out for what she felt was in its best interests, even at sacrifice of her own.

Joan is survived by her brother, Hugh C. Ronalds of Baltimore, MD; six children, Jennifer R. Jones of Florham Park, NJ, Elizabeth A. Jones of White Salmon, WA, Margaret J. Carpenter of Falls Church, VA, Peter R. Jones of Acton, MA, Stephen M. Jones of Victoria, TX, and Kenneth C. Jones of Kenmore, WA; fifteen grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.  She is preceded in death by her sister, Anne R. Musgrave  and her son, Daniel T. Jones.

Joan will be laid to rest in a private ceremony later this year.  In lieu of flowers, her family would appreciate donations to Meals on Wheels at https: www.mealsonwheelsamerica.org.