Mr. Bob Jones, 1924-2017
Father of our classmates Greg, ’67 and Kathy, ‘68


Jones, Robert T. "Bob" passed away on January 20, 2017 in Palm Desert, just two weeks shy of his 93rd birthday. Survivors include his wife, Diane Carson Jones of Palm Desert; daughter and son-in-law, Kathy and Rick Cornelius of Charlottesville, VA; son and daughter -in-law, Gregory Jones and Fay Cunningham of Palmyra, VA; step-son and daughter-in-law, David and Lisa Gambill of Newport Coast; step-daughter, Wendy Sheldon of Beaverton, OR; niece, Judy Mueller and family of Fair Oaks, CA; cousin, John Mathis of Brea; various grandchildren and great grandchildren; and special friend, Norbert Seezer of Weisbaden, Germany. 


Bob was born February 4, 1924 in Los Angeles and was raised in Glendale. As a youth he excelled in track and was a ranking junior tennis player who later instilled the love of tennis in both his daughter and his son. He graduated from Herbert Hoover HS in Glendale, Occidental College in 1948, and the Northwestern Graduate School of Business. 


As a premed student, Bob engaged in anti-malarial activities at Guadacanal, serving in the Navy in the Solomon Islands during WWII. In 1995 he returned to Honiara, Tulagi, and the battle areas where he was based. 


He married Lorraine Mathis of Glendale in 1950 and they had two children, Kathy and Gregory. He had a successful career in the aerospace industry that took him all over the world, working for Beckman Instruments, Hughes Aircraft & North American Aviation in Fullerton. He was VP of European Operations at Rockwell in Paris, France where he lived for two years.


In 1975 he married Diane Carson Gambill of Newport Beach, and was step-father to David and Wendy. While in Newport, he had sailboats "Summer Breeze" and "Sounds of Silence" that he loved to sail to Catalina and pilot in the Christmas boat parade. He served as VP of Sales for Able Computer in Irvine before moving to Palm Desert in 1984. Later, he started his own consulting company, RTJ International. Bob stayed active in tennis, especially at Sunrise Country Club, frustrating opponents with his wicked lefty slice and drop shots.


Bob loved people, loved his steak, loved his family, and loved telling stories. He was always positive, whether falling overboard, getting stuck in a kayak, or popping to the surface while trying to scuba; he always emerged smiling and laughing.


In retirement, Bob served as President of the Canyon Cove Homeowners Assn., a docent at Palm Desert Historical Society, an usher at Indian Wells Tennis Tournament, and was a member of Indian Wells Rotary Club. He was also a member of the Palm Desert Community Presbyterian Church. In 2012 they moved to Segovia and most recently Bob was cared for at Comforts of Home, Palm Desert.


Bob's children wish to thank Cori and her staff of Comforts of Home, and Emily of Serenity Hospice for the outstanding care provided in the last year of his life. Bob will be buried at sea with a family service at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations in his name can be made to the Palm Desert Community Presbyterian Church, or the Indian Wells Rotary Club.


Published in Orange County Register on Jan. 29, 2017.


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