There are many sides and periods in a person’s life.
Those of us at The NEWS knew Roy Jones, who died Jan. 3 at the age of 97, as the writer of the Seniors Scene column: detailer of Qualicum Beach Seniors’ Activity Centre events, and a thinker on the lives of seniors.
To his friends at the activity centre, like centre treasurer and one of Jones’ friends, Norah Rawcliffe, he was “a lad from Lancashire” who had “a big heart and loved to give.”
To his daughter, Louise Jones, he was a positive, kind and caring father who liked to sing loudly while doing household chores.
Born in Manchester, England on Aug. 6, 1921, Roy immigrated to Canada in the mid-fifties along with his wife, Sylvia.
“My father had a long career in social work and I recall one particular Christmas Eve when we lived in the Kootenays (I was perhaps nine or 10),” recalls Louise.
“Upon receiving a phone call from the RCMP my dad left the warmth of our house on that cold winter evening to drive somewhere out in the countryside to retrieve two young children in distress. He brought them to our house, where they were fed and bathed and we quickly scrambled to sort out small gifts for them for Christmas morning. It was more than simply a job to my dad.”
Roy and Sylvia moved to the Parksville Qualicum Beach area in 1992, said Louise.
“My parents had always been very social people,” she said. “After my mother died (2002), my father was quite lonely.”
But Roy kept going. He tried various activities including Tai Chi, and eventually found his way to the Qualicum Beach Seniors’ Activity Centre.
“It didn’t take long before the centre became the main focus of his life,” said Louise.
Roy quickly volunteered to work in the centre’s kitchen, became a member of the committee and the centre’s maintenance and utility supply guy, said Rawcliffe.
In fact, the centre (in jest) had made Roy a business card identifying him as “the facilities guy” which he would proudly show off, said Louise.
Jones did a variety of things with and on behalf of the centre, including writing skit scripts for events. “They were so much fun and hilarious,” said Rawcliffe. “He loved to sing at these functions and we all joined in.”
For a number of years, he also wrote a column for The NEWS.
“We, as a family, enjoyed his articles written for the PQB News because they quite clearly portrayed the trials and tribulations of aging,” said Louise.
For Rawcliffe’s part, she said, “I for one felt privileged to know this man of many talents, and be counted as one of his close friends.”
For Louise, she said, “My dad inspired us with his abundant kindness and determination not to let life get him down. As he entered his later senior years, he would always say “age is just a number.”
A celebration of Roy’s life will be held on Feb. 16 at 2 p.m. at the Qualicum Beach Seniors’ Activity Centre (703 Memorial Ave.).