Ray Neil Jones, 79, of Pocatello, Idaho, passed away peacefully on February 24, 2020. He was born in Malad City, Idaho, on July 4, 1940, to Neil and Edna Jones. Ray is survived by his wonderful wife, Rosie, daughters Teresa (Dave) Taresh, Jodi (Donn) Eldridge; son, Justin (Sandy) Jones; stepsons Shane (Linda) Bird, Scott (Cody) Bird; ﬁve grandchildren, and one great-grandchild; sister Janice (Jim) Petersen. Ray was raised in Malad City and experienced a happy childhood. He helped on the farm with his Dad and drove a tractor from an age which should not be revealed. He loved ﬁshing, hunting, and the outdoors even as a kid. While attending Malad High School as a mighty Dragon, Ray was involved Future Farmers of America, Trades and Industry, track, football, basketball, and baseball teams. Baseball was his favorite sport to play. He was a pitcher. Edna, Ray’s mom, tells the story of one time in a close game he pitched, the batter hit the ball right to him and he taunted the batter as he ran, saying “run, run… when he threw the ball to the 1st base, it was missed and the batter was on base. That was the winning run for the other team in that close game. Edna was very unhappy with that outcome. He excelled in sports and his family was his biggest fan club. Ray was elected “Most Preferred Man” and also won the distinction of “Biggest Flirt” during his senior year. His nickname in the yearbook is “Casanova” and his quote is “Romeo has nothing on me.” As the life of the party, he enjoyed many friendships. Ray was fortunate to have a number of cousins and friends in the Malad area and was close to them throughout his life. Ray’s ancestors on both the Jones and Edwards’ sides were some of the earliest settlers in the Malad area. He always loved to return to Malad and was a threat to every ﬁsh, deer, elk, duck, pheasant and goose, not only in the Malad Valley but throughout the whole State of Idaho. After high school Ray attended Idaho State University in the Automotive Department. He worked for Chevron Oil as a station manager at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, later at Island Park, Idaho, and for many years in Pocatello, Idaho. He was not afraid to work long hours and assume diﬃcult projects. He was known for his integrity and work ethic. Ray joined the United States Navy 1962. He was stationed out of Portsmouth, Virginia, and Charleston, South Carolina, where he served on nuclear powered submarines. While in the Navy, Ray traveled throughout the world and even spent months submerged under the ice cap at the North Pole. He was honorably discharged after his four years. After the Navy, Ray purchased his own Chevron gas station in Chubbuck, Idaho. Eventually after many years he sold the station and went to work in the oil fields as a hydraulic mechanic. Eventually Ray settled in for the last part of his working career at Sun Power as a mechanic. He drove and sponsored in the stock car derby on Friday nights at the Pocatello Speed Track. The Black Shadow was a winner often. He was such a troublemaker and loved to go fast, often crunching his stock car in the process. He loved cars and speed! He loved speed so much that he swore he paid for the freeway with his tickets over the years between American Falls and Pocatello. Maybe that’s why they raised the speed limit?! He also was quite the pool player who loved the excitement and competition of the game. He often would come home with his winnings- a vacuum, a car, all kinds of miscellaneous items of value.
Ray and Rosie were amazing life partners. They laughed, loved and talked about everything. Even though Ray was a man of very few words, he found in Rosie the place he could share freely. We fondly called Rosie “Nurse Rachet” as she gently and efficiently managed Ray’s care in every detail and made sure he was the best he could be in his condition. Ray was blessed by family and friends who loved him dearly. Still the life of the party and sometimes a bit mischievous, Ray would get that twinkle in his eye and that smile on his face and oh boy, watch out. One day that twinkle brought the bright idea of shooting a broken branch out of the Russian Olive Tree that was just out of his reach. It worked. Ray Jones loved fire. Sometimes his love of fire would get a little out of control as he practiced his fire cleanup skills. He burned up part of the fence, the horse trailer and even had at one fire burning occasion the Reservation Fire Department came to visit. Of course, being the perfect host with the water hose in one hand and an Oly in the other, ask if they would like to join him. Ray’s friends were always welcome at the Michaud Creek home which he built with the help of many. He would tend to his yard and garden every night after work through the summers there on Michaud.
As a Grandpa, Ray loved his grandkids. He didn't always say a lot, but what was said was always with lots of love. Whenever the grandkids were around in the summer you could often find them trailing outside in the garden behind Grandpa. Later, Ray enjoyed watching the wildlife come and go from the property. He would watch the sunrise against the mountains of Trail Creek from the kitchen table or the sunsets from the living room couch across the Michaud Flat where the view was always stunning, never disappointing. Besides his family, all of this was his pride and joy. Once retired Ray continued to hunt and fish, but mostly fish always trying to catch the big one at the American Falls Reservoir. He loved to take drives, see the wildlife, check on the turkeys and he loved the peacefulness. We are absolutely sure that Ray is still fishing in heaven and just maybe he’ll catch that big one.
Graveside services will be held Friday, February 28, 2020 at 1pm in the Restlawn Memorial Gardens, Pocatello. Arrangements are under the direction of the Cornelison Funeral Home, 431 N. 15th Ave., Pocatello. Condolences may be sent to the family online at www.cornelisonfh.com
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