William “Bill” Francis Foster Jones, 86, of rural Liberal, Missouri passed away suddenly on August 1, 2015 as a result of an auto/train accident near Liberal. Bill, as he was fondly called, was born on September 23, 1928 to Wilbur Lee Jones and Ethel Lasley Jones on the family farm northwest of Liberal.
Bill was a country boy who had an infectious grin and never met a stranger. He could strike up a conversation with anyone anywhere. To the dismay of his family he was even known to pick up a hitchhiker on occasion just because he felt badly for them.
Bill attended a rural school in Vernon County until 4th grade at which time his family moved back to Barton County and he attended the rural Lone Star School. While attending Lone Star he had one of his aunts, Lucille Lasley Blackman for a teacher. Bill graduated from Liberal High School in 1946. During his high school years he had the pleasure of having his uncle Bob Lasley as his agriculture teacher. He and Bob had a life-long admiration for each other and each would seek advice from time to time, from each other.
Bill was drafted into the Army in January, 1951, leaving Barton County with several other county boys who became life-long friends. He also spent time in Germany, again making life-long friends.
On May 9, 1953 he married Ruby Ruth Hininger and to this union two daughters were born, Leann and Laura. This union later ended in divorce. On April 3, 1971, Bill and Marjorie Bunton Crockett were married in Joplin, Missouri
Bill was a true steward of the land. He was constantly building terraces, grassed waterways and diversions to prevent soil erosion. He served on the very first Barton County Soil and Water Conservation District board when it was organized in 1960. One of the highlights of his stewardship was being named Barton County Conservation Farmer of the Year in 1996. He shared this honor with his granddaughter, Valerie, as she was a first place winner of the Conservation FFA Essay Contest that same year.
Bill farmed his whole life and the last two days of his life were spent in the hay field baling small square bales. He also worked 36 years for the Mackie Clemons Coal Company as a dirt hauler, oiler on the dragline, and lastly draglines operator.
He was a member of the Liberal Christian Church where he served as a deacon and on the church board.
He is survived by his lovely wife, Marjorie, of 44 years; his daughters, Leann (Bruce) Barker, Liberal, and Laura Scarlato, Richmond, Texas; three granddaughters, Valerie (David Biggs) Barker, Kari (Joe) Meadows, and Remington Scarlato; a grandson, Tanner Scarlato; one great-granddaughter, Kasyn Meadows. Bill is also survived by one sister, Norma Fox, Edmond, Oklahoma; step-children, Tom & Wilma Crockett, Liberal, Louise & Denny Egbert, Shawnee Mission, Kansas; Kathy & Mike Conduff, Denton, Texas. Also several nieces and nephews, step-grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents and a sister, Lucille Jones.
Bill will be greatly missed and was admired and loved by many.
Funeral services will be held at 10:00 a.m. Wednesday, August 5th at First Christian Church of Liberal. Burial will be in Worsley Cemetery southwest of Bronaugh.
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