John Jones, aka “Dad; Grandad; JJ; Jonesy” was born at home in Wigan Road, Westhoughton on the 7th August, 1945 just prior to the end of WW II. His father, also named John, served his country in WW II, courtesy of His Majesty’s British Royal Navy. Sadly, he died when his son was still a young boy, but John and his older brother Clifford, were brought up single-handedly by their mother, Ethel, with whom which, John as the younger, was particularly close to.
“Adventure” called out its name, however, and at the ripe old age of 17, John followed in his father’s footsteps in joining the Royal Navy.
After Wigan Road, the family moved to Southfield Drive where, unbeknown to John, his future wife and her family had recently moved in across the road, and it wasn’t long before Diane began to catch the apple of John’s eye. The stars all alligned!
While on shore leave from the Royal Navy, John was stood up for a date and found himself in the White Lion Pub, clearly at a loss as to what the rest of the evening would bring. The landlord however, encouraged John to join a party that was going on upstairs and John thereby found himself surrounded in a room of girls from the local sewing factory which at the time was located right behind the pub.
One of the girls was Diane, who just happened to have an empty glass in her hand. In true “Officer & Gentleman style” and looking rather handsome in Her Majesty’s Royal Navy uniform, John took the plunge and offered Diane a drink. Needless to say they talked all night with John telling Diane that he’d seen her many times on Southfield Drive and would she mind if he and she could start courting.
So much chatting was going on that they both lost all track of time and Diane’s older brother Dennis, was sent forth by their Mother to go and find her “before something happens”. The very next day, the feeling being very mutual, they managed a romantic walk with a few snatched moments before John had to leave back to Portsmouth. They both promised to write as John embarked on a 12-month posting to the Middle East, thereby cementing their relationship, which culminated in their engagement upon his return in 1964.
They continued to write as John travelled the world as a submariner visiting many far-off places, including South Africa, America, Australia, South Asia, culminating in an epic sail under the North Pole of the Arctic Ice.
By 1967 the 2-year posting was looming on the horizon, so they decided to marry with a date set for the 4th February, leaving just 6 weeks to arrange. 6 months later they set off for Singapore, flying out from RAF Brize Norton Airbase. Coming from a small northern town in England, this would be the adventure of a lifetime and although they missed their families dearly, they made the moment a challenge, and making good friends along the way.
Many years later, they were able to revisit their old stomping grounds, even the house they lived in was still standing! That particular trip brought back many happy memories.
Following their return to England they lived in Portsmouth for a while before heading up to Helensburgh, Scotland. By 1971 as John’s time in the Royal Navy was coming to an end, Diane moved back to Westhoughton while John finished his remaining time in Portsmouth.
In the Summer of 1972 following the arrival of their much longed-for Gwyneth, John decided it was time to look for a new career opportunity. He did a course in joinery and after his second daughter Gwenda arrived in 1975, he was working as a maintenance joiner. His skills could also be seen around the home, as he had the ability to turn his hands to most anything, having all manner of hobbies and interests, breeding tropical fish and wildlife for example, bookbinding, an allotment for growing fruits and vegetables, all to be consumed in the family meal times.
He produced his own wine and brewed his own beer, although that was swiftly abandoned when his young daughters thought it would be a lovely addition to their tea parties! John also enjoyed cookery and would get up early to spend the whole day in the kitchen where he would be found marinating, preparing, and creating deliciously exotic dishes for his family, while waiting eagerly for their approval and appreciative words. Woe-betide anyone who didn’t like the first mouthful!
Over many years he was a perfectionist at the art of “rock sanding”, having a great sense of humor while loving his comedy – “Monty Python”; “Black Adder”; “I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue”; and more recently “Brassic” which appealed to his native sense of humor. After completing a course in Radio and taped TV Engineering while buying his first computer – an Apple MAC 2 – in his own words, he had “found his niche”.
He began working for RIVA – thanks to Ian for that – and later INTECH – not only revelling in the technical side of the work, but he also enjoyed the joy of going to work, the people he worked with, the daily banter, which he was so frustrated with the first pandemic and then with his failing health which prevented him going to the places he really enjoyed.
Although John had travelled the world, he was always partial to the odd road trip and while on holiday in Kippford one time, he suggested a family day out to John O’ Groats. After one 800-mile round trip however, with a short detour to the Isle of Mo for the obligatry tea-stop, the estimated time of arrival back of 9:00 pm went somewhat out the window never to be suggested again!
John loved his family and he was never more proud than when his daughters became married, managing to get both of them off in the same year, which in the grand scheme of things, was quite a bonus. Both daughters had chosen their partners well, and they didn’t need to worry. Furthermore, he now had someone to share his love of comedy which would be Marcus, and his passion for computers with Steve.
John was totally smitten when his grandchildren arrived, Fern, Aaron, and Willow. Through the eyes of his grandchildren, he likely had flashbacks to his own daughters and would often let Marcus know the trials and tribulations of raising daughters! He loved the simpler things in life, ie his family and his work. Not being bothered with, or about material pleasures, and as such was a nightmare to buy for. He was not one to pass judgment or have strong words to say for anyone – “except, as he would opine” – the French!
At times he could be a mite impatient, especially when teaching his daughters math, and fully expected everyone to have his same knowledge of computers!
But he was a good man, a tried and true gentleman with a good heart. He cared about each and every one of you here today, and for those of you who can’t be here in person because of the effects of Covid, he would be astounded at the kind and thoughtful things said about him, and especially the love shown to he and his family.
We thank each and every one of you for taking time from your busy schedules to come and celebrate with us the love, life, and times of a true father and friend. AMEN!
Craster on the North East coast of Britain a little north of Newcastle… August 26 2016 … Diane; John; Gwenda; Steve; Aaron (7 years old at the time – now 12 and taller than his Mom!); and yours truly taking up the rear … The rest of their family live in New Zealand, the older daughter, Gwyneth; husband Marcus; and daughters Fern and Willow