Ken Jones, 87, of Lee’s Summit, Missouri, passed away peacefully at home after a courageous two-year battle with leukemia on November 29, 2021, surrounded by his loving family. Ken was born on December 28, 1933, the youngest son of 11 children, to parents J.C. Jones Sr. and Verdie (Bond) Jones in Buena Vista, Tennessee.
As a young man, Ken enlisted in the United States Marine Reserves for six years and continued to serve active-duty Army for two years before being honorably discharged from his military duties. During that time, he met and married his first wife and from that union they were blessed with two beautiful children. He loved throwing spirals with a football to them in the backyard. For nine months when they were exactly five years apart, he called them his Five and Dime Store. Ken was a hard-working man and did his best to balance his home and work life. He bought a step van and converted it into a camper so the family could take a trip to New Orleans. To make this trip tolerable to his then teenage daughter, Ken installed a 45 rpm record player, enabling the playing of Paul Revere and the Raider’s Let Me on repeat. Unlike their usual family visit vacations, the trip was unique and full of great memories.
A truly self-made man, Ken worked for years as a radiator repairman at Mansell Brothers Radiator & Air Conditioning until becoming its owner in the mid 1980’s. This was a key turning point for Ken as it paved the way to financial comfort and security for the rest of his days.
Life would take the happiest turn yet for Ken when 34 years ago he walked into a tanning salon and met future wife Patricia (Bjorndahl) Olson. He had found his soulmate, the love of his life, and in 1989 their fairy tale courtship culminated in marriage. Pat’s two children from a previous marriage and grandchildren “adopted” him readily.
Moving into their first of two homes at Lake Lotawana, Ken, an avid handyman and fixer upper for years, enjoyed working on one project after another. Summers were full of barbecues, boat and motorcycle rides and fishing with the grandkids. In 1999, Ken and Pat had had enough of the cold Missouri winters and became snowbirds, dividing their time between Missouri and N. Fort Myers, Florida. In 2020 they resumed living in Missouri full time.
Sundays were extra special—a houseful of grandchildren, good food and watching the Kansas City Chiefs, with Ken donning his Patrick Mahomes jersey provided they were on a winning streak. Having never lost the kid in himself, he was the best grandpa a kid could ask for. His strong love of family was equally extended to friends, doing anything he could for them but then having a very hard time accepting their help in return. It was only toward the end of his illness that Pat was able to convince him to hire others to do things that had become too difficult.
Ken was preceded in death by his parents J.C. and Verdie Jones, son Greg Jones and nine siblings.
He is survived by his wife of 32 years Patricia Jones, daughter Barb (Dennis) Freeman, son Tim (Cathy) Olson and daughter Kris (Larry) Hadley; nine grandchildren Jason, Josh, Justin, Levi, Max, Jackson, Tessa, Alex and Anna; and five great-grandchildren Marion, Avery, Colton, Hunter and Renna. Ken will be truly missed by them and so many other family and friends.
Contributions in Ken’s memory to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital to ease the burden of families whose children are fighting cancer are welcomed. A Celebration of Life is planned for Ken in the late Spring of 2022.