Our father, Bud (James Ray) Jones, was welcomed into this world by his parents James Dewey Jones and Iva Viola (Harbour) Jones on July 1, 1925 in Roscoe, Texas. At a very early age he’d received the nickname “Bud,” because his older brother Walter Carroll could not pronounce his name. Bub, short for brother, turned into Bud, and he was known as Bud Jones for the rest of his life.
Bud was a very intelligent young man and graduated Roscoe school systems in a total of 10 years. After graduation in 1942, he joined the U.S. Navy at the ripe age of 17. He was stationed at Wake Island during World War II. He always smiled when telling us about the time he and some other young sailors sneaked out to go skinny dipping and had a brief encounter with First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt, who ensured they didn’t get in trouble for their antics. He was honorably discharged in June 1946 and shortly after headed north to Montana to visit his uncles Ted and JB Harbour. He worked for various ranchers and farmers in the area. One night, a young lady by the name of Ruby Fay Geisler spotted Bud at a rodeo and said she knew he was the one. They were married on August 6, 1949.
Bud and Ruby enjoyed dancing to all the local bands around Flat Willow, Winnett, Harlowton, Roundup and Billings. They had the envy of all the locals because their garden was always the best looking one in the neighborhood. If you drove by their house, you would often see them spending time in their yard and gardening together. Dad also enjoyed fishing with his grandkids and friends, boating in the local lakes, and camping. Bud was a sweet and kind man, but had the fastest belt in the west when shenanigans went too far.
Bud was a strong man with a good work ethic. He led the family legacy to be good, honest and hardworking people. He was a problem solver and would always try and leave people in a better spot. he lived by the motto of “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” He had many jobs throughout his years, always working with purpose and intent. He held positions at Grandpa Pete’s farm on Big Wall Road, Conoco Refinery, and Nebraska Feeding Company. During his retirement he also worked for Musselshell County, owned a shoe repair shop, helped lamb out at Sieben Ranch, and lent his expertise at the Miller Ranch until his wife became ill in 2009.
After Ruby passed away on April 22, 2010, he still lived on his own. The family had a huge celebration for his 90th birthday over the Harlowton 4th of July Rodeo in 2015. Dad moved into the Wheatland County Memorial Nursing Home on November 17, 2015. He entered on his own, so he would have the freedom he desired. He had an electric golf cart that he could go get the mail in or go to the community garden to raise some vegetables. When he couldn’t do that anymore, the nursing home staff made sure he had a spot where he could at least grow a few tomatoes. Not one time did he ever complain about the food or the people who looked after him.
Our deepest appreciation goes out to all the wonderful people at Wheatland Memorial for the terrific care they gave our father. He had a peaceful death on June 11, 2020. He would have been 95 on July 1st.
He is survived by his children, Steve and Penny Jones, Carla Jones, James Ray II and Laura Jones, and Tammy and Wes Schenk; sister Lucy Mullins; his grandchildren, Mike and DeDe Jones, Michelle Nelson Montalto and John Montalto, Stephen and Stephanie Jones, Jeremy Jones and Paula McDougal, Teal Darkenwald and Dave Lovelace, Maya and Cesar Sanchez, Bryson and Brittany Jones, Kellen Jones and Ginger Michel, Taryn and Jeremiah Russ, Will Schenk and Angela Alaers, Clay and Sheila Schenk, 17 great grandkids, and 9 great great grandkids.
He was preceded in death by our mother, Ruby Fay Giesler Jones, his parents James and Iva Viola Jones, his brother Walter, and his sister Nola. He was also preceded in death by all of his aunts and uncles.
No services are planned. A memorial party will be held sometime in the future. Perkins Funeral Home is assisting the family.
Friends are asked to make memorials to the Harlowton American Lutheran Church, Wheatland Memorial Healthcare or to the charity of their choice and they may be left with the Perkins Funeral Home, PO Box 313 Harlowton, MT 59036. Condolences for the family may be posted on-line at www.perkinsfuneralandcremation.com