Gary L. Jones died on 7-24-03 at a Port Angeles Hospital at the age of 57. A Sequim resident he died from complications of diabetes related kidney disease. Jones was a reporter in the Sequim bureau of the Peninsula Daily News from June 2000 until his illness.
He was born to Gerald H. and Beatrice G. Jones on 8-13-1945 in Winfield, KS but was only one when the family moved to Southern California where his father worked as a trainer of thoroughbred race and show horses.
He attended various schools in the Northwest including Centralia, Grand Mound, Tenino, Evaline, Pt. Townsend and Winlock where he graduated in 1963 and already become a sports reporter for 2 weekly newspapers, the Winlock News and L.C. News and as an intern at the Longview Daily News.
He attended Centralia Community College and also performed as a lead singer with local rock groups before enlisting in the Air Force in 1966. Following basic training at Lackland Air Force Base, he was assigned to the 68th Bomb Wing of the Strategic Air Command at Seymour-Johnson Air Force Base in Goldsboro, NC. He served 1 year as a clerk typist, but became an informational specialist in his second year and was honored as Airman of the Month twice and Airman of the quarter for his efforts in the wings information office. Jones was one of 10 people selected from the Air Force in the fall of 1967 to attend radio and t.v. broadcasting school at Ft. Benjamin-Harrison in Indianapolis, IN. Following graduation, he was assigned as a broadcast specialist with the American Forces Radio and TV Service outlet at Cigli Air Base in Izmir, Turkey for 1.5 years. Following his honorable discharge from the Air Force in 1969, Jones became a sports writer for the Daily Olympian newspaper in Olympia, where he remained until March of 1975.
He worked 1 year as an assistant sports information director at Ore. State University and became sports editor of the Herald-Journal in Logan, UT.
In 1978, Jones moved to Las Vegas and worked 1 year as a sports reporter and desk editor with the Sun, before moving back to Southern CA to become a sports reporter for the newly formed Daily News of Los Angeles. For 10.5 years he covered University of Southern California football, USC, Pepperdine and Loyola Marymount basketball, all major track and field events, motor sports, the Olympic Games, Pan American Games, World University Games and 5 US Olympic Festivals. He served as President of the Southern Calif. Track and Field Writers Assoc. for 4 yrs. and was president of Track and Field Writers of America in 1983-1984.
After leaving the Daily News, Jones worked 5 months at the Tri-City Herald in Kennwick, before becoming the Editor of The Morton Journal in March of 1991. Under his leadership, the Journal won several Washington newspaper Publisher Assoc. awards and swept first and second for top story of the year in 1992 for non-daily newspapers in the Society of Professional Journalism's Excellence in Journalism Awards for the 6 state region.
His series on brain cancer affecting 4 young girls in the Onalaska area was officially accepted by Columbia University as an entry in the 1992 Pulitzer Prize competition.
In 1994, Jones went to work as the crime and fire beat reporter for the Mercury-Register in Oroville, CA where he covered the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta for 55 newspapers in the Donrey Media Group.
The day after his return from Atlanta, Jones witnessed a burning U.S. Air Force U-2 spy plane crash into the Mercury-Register parking lot, destroying the building and killing a customer and the pilot.
In March 1997 Jones moved to Merced, CA to cover city government, the reuse of Castle Air Force Base and night public safety. He remained there until moving to Sequim.
Jones was preceded in death by his father in 1963, his mother in 1994, a sister Diane Lewis in 1998.
He is survived by 2 nieces in Minnesota and aunt and uncle in Oklahoma.
Graveside services will be held at the Winlock Cemetery on Thursday, July 31 at 3:00 p.m.
Services are under the direction of Cattermole Funeral Home in Winlock.