Jones enjoys life, memories of late wife

Published 3:49 pm Monday, June 14, 2010

Come September, Frank Jones will celebrate 90 years on this earth.

“And I like this earth just fine,” he said. “But I have had many years of missing my beautiful wife, Norma Jean, who died of cancer in 1980.”

“I often think if I could have somehow given her half the time I had left,” Jones muses.

Jones and Norma Jean met in 1939 in Indianapolis, while she was a member of his evangelist father’s church choir.

The couple dated for two years and married on Pearl Harbor Day, 1941.

Jones served 34 months in the South Pacific as a Seabee during World War II.

He tells of waiting to be shipped out from his base north of Los Angeles and receiving a call from Norma Jean saying that she wanted to come visit.

“I told her it would be difficult to get here, but she was insistent. When she arrived, I used my 12-hour pass to slip out and meet her. We had 16 days together, staying at the home of my uncle in L.A.”

“Afterward, they put me in the brig, fined me $105 and sentenced me to 50 days of camp confinement,” Jones recalled. “The confinement was waived, because by that time we were in the biggest coconut grove in the world, Fiji, and Guadalcanal Campaign was imminent.”

“It’s not as if those 16 days hindered the war effort,” he said.

No regrets, now just a special memory of Norma Jean he recalls still.

Jones had an early interest in jewelry and watch-making and after the war took a position with Bardach and Grau Inc., a factory that made emblem rings. His proficiency was evident then and later when he spent a year at the Chicago School of Watchmaking.

The school asked him to remain as an instructor, but he dreamed of owning his own business.

Some may remem Valley Jewelers in Homewood, where Frank and Norma Jean established their solid reputation in the community.

“My wife could remember all the customers.”