Robert L. “Bob” Jones

September 14th

Robert L. Jones (March 28, 1927 – September 13, 2011)

Robert LaVerne Jones was born March 28, 1927 to Clark Robert and Ethel Mae (Pinkerton) Jones in Peru, Indiana. He graduated from Peru High School early (end of 1944) after receiving a nomination to the Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland. Due to the winding down of WWII, he was not able to attend the Academy as only one appointment was allowed to go (he was the 2nd) so he enlisted into the Navy and served one year (1945-1946). He then entered Indiana University and was able to graduate in 1949 with the class he originally would have been with if not for the Navy.

At Indiana University he majored in statistics, a fairly recent course of study, and worked with one of the earliest computers on campus. While there he met Jeanne O’Harra, a fellow student, when her father picked him, a hitchhiking veteran, up on the road to Bloomington. They were married at the beginning of their senior year (August 29, 1948).

Upon graduating, Bob worked as a bank examiner, covering the states of Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin and Michigan. He and his wife first lived in Peru, Indiana where their first child, Mark was born. A short time later they moved to Fort Wayne, Indiana where their second child, Rebecca was born.

After receiving an offer to work as a loan officer in a small bank in Syracuse, Indiana and with a small family that needed him to be home more, he accepted the position and they moved to Syracuse. They build a home expecting to stay a long time, and had two more children, Pamela and Wendy.

Two years after the birth of their last child in 1956, Bob contracted the dreaded disease of polio and would battle its effects for a long time.

In 1958 he accepted a position as branch manager of a bank in Rolling Prairie (IN), LaPorte County, and became very active in the community. Bob later was promoted to a Vice President position and worked at the main bank in Michigan City. He and his wife separated then divorced in 1964. Bob had heard that the State Bank of Syracuse, where he had previously worked, was for sale. Along with several friends, Bob bought that bank, and later Albion National Bank, and moved back to Syracuse. He remarried in 1965 to the love of his life who he had met while living in Rolling Prairie, his beloved Rosalyn Rice.

In 1973 they built their beautiful home on Lake Wawasee where they lived until his death. Bob was President of the State Bank of Syracuse until 1976 then, after a short stint as a bookstore owner, became a full-time college professor in the Business School at Western Michigan University, in Kalamazoo. He had taught part-time over many years at various university branches (IU-South Bend; Purdue Northwest; IU at Gary; and IU at East Chicago). Bob had continued his education while working full-time at the bank in Rolling Prairie and later in Syracuse, receiving a Master’s Degree in Business (1962) and later a Doctorate of Business (1978), both from his adored University of Notre Dame.

Bob was an avid fan of Notre Dame and had season’s tickets to its football and basketball games. He and Rose never missed a game if possible and attended until two years ago when health issues intruded. In 40 years he missed only 2 Notre Dame football games.

He loved good music, especially classical and musicals. He was a church choir director at various churches with 40+ years at Calvary United Methodist Church, in Syracuse. He also sang in various choruses including Goshen College choir and in several plays at the former Enchanted Hills Playhouse. He and his wife were season ticket holders of IU Opera and IU football in Bloomington, and also Wagon Wheel Playhouse. At one time he directed the choir at the Indiana State Prison in Michigan City and served as treasurer of the Michigan Symphony Orchestra.

Bob traveled around the country as an expert witness in at least 50 different cases and as a consultant based on his banking expertise.

Bob and Rose loved to travel, especially by freighter and train, and visited Spain, Ireland, Germany, Macedonia, Hawaii and most of the US, even trips on the Mississippi and Delta Queens. They visited their daughter in England, Scotland and Japan; their last trip was a cruise in Alaska. He took his mother and Aunt Evelyn on many of those trips.

Surviving are his wife, Rosalyn, 4 children, Mark (Sue) Jones, Alpena, MI; Becky (Howard) Rogers, Middletown, IN; Pamela (Jef) Davidson, Bloomington, IN; and Wendy (Takehito) Nakanishi, Takamatsu, Japan. Also 15 grandchildren and 22 great grandchildren, a brother, Jim, Richmond, VA, and several cousins, nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his parents and his 1st wife.

Visitation will be Friday, September 16, 2011 from 6-9 PM at the Calvary United Methodist Church in Syracuse. Services will be Saturday, September 17, 2011 at 11:00 AM with 1 hour of visitation prior to the service. Pastor David Herr will officiate the service. Burial will follow at the Syracuse Cemetery with military honors. Memorial contributions may be made to the Calvary United Methodist Church, or the Syracuse Public Library. Online condolences may be sent to eastlundfuneralhome.

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