William Vernon Jones

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Visitation Schedule
Roller-Burns Funeral Home
725 N. Panther Ave
Yellville, AR  72687
Saturday, September 21, 2019
1:00 PM to service
Service Schedule
Funeral Service
Roller-Burns Funeral Home Chapel
725 N. Panther Ave
Yellville, AR  72687
Saturday, September 21, 2019
2:00 PM
Memorial Contributions
St. Judes Children's Hospital
PO Box 1000, Dept. 142
Memphis, TN  38105

American Heart Association
108 East Sunbridge Dr.
Fayetteville, AR  72703

William Vernon Jones

of Yellville, AR

January 25, 1935 - September 14, 2019

William Vernon Jones, age 84, passed away Saturday, September 14, 2019 at his home in Yellville.

Vernon was born in Flippin, Arkansas to the late Troy and Beulah (Rose) Jones. After graduating high school in Yellville he went on to receive his BS in Engineering Physics at the University of Tulsa in 1963. He continued his studies and received a PhD in Physics from the Louisiana State University, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in 1967. He received Professor Emeritus in 1988 from the Louisiana State University. Following his career at LSU he joined NASA and for more than 30 years he was Senior Scientist for the Suborbital Research where he performed all of the suborbital program scientist functions, with a focus on ballooning and cosmic ray research

He is survived by three daughters: Rebecca Melancon (Paul) of Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Donna Jones of Yellville, Arkansas; and Sharon Rivet (Jim) of Baton Rouge, Louisiana; two brothers: Lyle Jones (Bernice) of Yakima, Washington; Carl Jones (Ann) of Yellville, Arkansas; and one sister, Guyla Hudson (Jim) of Grand Junction, Colorado. He is also survived by 11 grandchildren, 27 great grandchildren and one great-great granddaughter.

Other than his parents he was preceded in death by his wife Freda (Daniel) Jones, one grandson, Huston Conner Lorio; four sisters: Ruby Ply, Lucille Hammack, Mae Clark and Ginger Mason, and two brothers: Leroy and Lloyd Jones.

A funeral service will be held 2:00 pm, Saturday, September 21, 2019 with a visitation one hour prior to the service at Roller-Burns Funeral Home Chapel in Yellville, Arkansas.

The family request in lieu of flowers, please make memorial donations to St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital 262 Danny Thomas Place, Memphis, TN 38105, or the American Heart Association, 108 East Sunbridge Dr. Fayetteville, AR 72703.

Memories of Vernon and words of comfort for his family may be shared at www.rollerfuneralhomes.com/yellville.

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20 Condolence(s)
Kevin MacKeown
Hong Kong,
Thursday, May 6, 2021

A gentleman.
I lived in his back yard (835 1/2 Iris) for two years when I was at LSU, and saw him daily. He and Freda were very helpful to a foreign neophyte to US life. Saw him many times later at cosmic ray conferences, and always enjoyed his company.

Oscar Pruet
Daphne, AL
Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Dr. Jones was my thesis advisor at LSU. He was a kind man and along with John Wefel, gave me the encouragement I needed to graduate. I am saddened to learn of his passing.

Jonathan Ormes
Littleton, CO
Saturday, October 5, 2019

I am long overdue to write my memories of Vernon. It may be so late that these words will go unread, but it is important for me to write them. I have had great difficulty trying to find the way to express my sadness at his loss. We first met as young scientists just getting started in our careers, both maybe in our early 30s. He had written a program that I wanted to use to simulate the response of a detector we were building. He graciously shared the program with me and then I invited him to spend a sabbatical at Goddard Space Flight Center with me. He came and I found a friend with broad interests in science outside of the program we were collaborating on. He was trying to search for astrophysical neutrinos. We wrote proposals together, none of which came to flight status. We went to International Cosmic Ray Conferences. He invited me to LSU as we explored what science could be done on the shuttle first and later on the space station. I remember one particular dinner when he introduced me to Crawfish touffe. I was a northerner being taught the delights of southern food and culture by Vernon, and glad for it.

On the occasion of your retirement I wrote the following about our research together.

Of course, I recall the collaborations we worked together on, calorimeters heavy and light. HEAO was never a hero, but the work you did at LSU on simulations pioneered the use of computers to see how experiments would respond. We had to learn how backscatter worked, but simulations are de rigueur for experiments today. For me the culmination of this power was realized in Fermi (aka GLAST) which finally found the smoking gun for the cosmic ray source of course we already knew it so it was little surprise a proof that relied on computer modeling to see the smoke from the gun.

I was at GSFC but spent a year at NASA Headquarters managing the High Energy Astrophysics Program in X-rays, gamma-rays and cosmic rays. I was trying to get support for a cosmic ray mission. I decided working at Headquarters wasnt for me, but I knew who could do the job; Vernon Jones. He was so welcoming and friendly to everyone. I convinced him and others to give him a try at this job he did so well for the next 30 years. I could see that Vernons talents were well matched; they only thing you had to do was be careful about shaking his hand. He was strong! He was also very supportive of my research program and that of the people who took over from me. Thank you Vernon, for your support.

Vernon had a student from Korea at LSU and asked us to find a research project for her. She turned out to be an excellent experimentalist. She and Vernon were respectful colleagues as she developed her own career.

Vernon had talents beyond science. He taught me how to wire my homes electricity without killing myself. He bought and remodeled a home on Capital Hill in DC after settling in at Headquarters. I remember him telling me about being robbed by a guy coming in through his roof or a skylight or something.

I adopted some one of Vernons southern sayings. When we were planning something we agreed to do, wed do it God willin and the crick dont rise. The crick did rise on many of our projects, but because of Vernons patience and long dedication to cosmic ray research, it often went down and we could get across.

So many memories. Vernon, you are greatly missed by this friend.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Tetsuya Yoishida
Sagamihara, Kanagawa, MD
Sunday, September 22, 2019

I am deeply saddened to hear the loss of Vernon.
My deepest condolences go to the whole family.

He was a leader of world-wide scientific ballooning community. He helped us when we started the BESS experiment, and kept encouraging us for more than 15 years. During these 10 years, he gave me many valuable advices when I met difficulties on our scientific ballooning.
May his soul rest in peace.

Christina Klimesh (Grand daughter of Ruby (Jones) Ply)
Belgrade, MT
Saturday, September 21, 2019

I have several found memories of Uncle Vernon. One of my favorites is from middle school we were studying the solar system, My teacher didn’t seem to believe me when I Said I had an uncle that worked for NASA. I called uncle Vernon and he sent me a whole kit of solar 🌠system posters and other props. When I brought them to school my teacher was so impressed I got extra 😂

Rest In Peace sweet Uncle. You will be missed.

Eun-Suk Deo, PhD
University of Maryland, MD
Saturday, September 21, 2019

Vernon was instrumental in both advancing ballooning capabilities and advocating and supporting cosmic ray research. His vision and leadership in the cosmic ray community was a primary force for progress in the field for the past three decades. it is a huge loss to the community. To say he will be missed is such an understatement.

Robert (Bob) Craig
Yakima, WA
Friday, September 20, 2019

Lou Annis Kelley
Mountain Home, AR
Friday, September 20, 2019

My heartfelt sympathy to the family.

Martin Israel
St. Louis, MO
Friday, September 20, 2019

Vernon was a vital force for high-energy astrophysics at NASA Headquarters. The successes of cosmic-ray astrophysics over many years are directly attributable to his unwavering support and guidance. He was also a strong advocate of the high-altitude balloon program, and a leader in developing new technology for that program. His departure is a loss for astrophysics.

Steve Garber
Washington, DC
Thursday, September 19, 2019

I met Vernon when I began working at NASA HQ in 1993. He was always so kind and friendly and I enjoyed seeing him in the halls ever since. A few years ago, he was walking with a cane after a stroke but gave me a very strong handshake, which seemed reflective of his positivity, upbeat nature, physical determination, and clear mind. He really leaves us with fond memories.

James C. Ling
Simi Valley, CA
Wednesday, September 18, 2019

James C. Ling, Simi Valley, California.

It is extremely painful and sad for me to learn the passing of my dear friend Vernon Jones last Saturday (9/14). Looking back, my six memorable years (1989-1992 & 1997-2000) working with him as a visiting scientist at NASA Headquarters to help managing the Cosmic-ray physics and Heliophysics research programs were certainly the highlight of my 45-years career here at JPL & NASA. Its also hard to believe that our 30-year friendship all started with a lunch meeting here at the JPL cafeteria back in 1989 when he extended an invitation for me to join him at HQ. Who would have thought that his kind invitation that day had also changed the trajectory of my career, which I am truly grateful, from being a research scientist in my early years to serve as a research manager for the last two decades here at JPL.

I will always remember Vernon as a kind, friendly, and energetic colleague and friend who was loved by everyone in the science community who knew and worked with him. He will be missed terribly.

"Aunt" Grace Haggart
Lakeview, AR
Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Vernon was an amazing man. When the family would gather for the reunion he was so happy. He once sat with me and told me the name of the many many children who were dashing about. He was a brilliant kind soul, who will be missed.
Peace and Blessings to the rest of the family.
"Aunt" Grace (Stay 'n Play)

Igor Moskalenko
Stanford, CA
Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Ill write my thoughts as if I would be talking to Vernon. However, whatever I say is not a true reflection of my feelings which are much deeper. Vernon, you are a great man and a True Scientist. I am happy our lifetimes overlap and we were in this world at the same time. We first met at the turn of 21st century and had many insightful discussions since then, but I wish we had many more. After good people go away, you suddenly realize that the universe around them was full of sense as if they converted the empty and cold space into a warm and very meaningful environment. They leave a piece of this warmth and personality with us even after they left. Vernon, you lived a fulfilling and interesting life, inventing and helping to invent to others. I always felt your encouragement and favor to what I am doing in science and that helped a lot. We lost you and this is a huge loss, but we keep the results of your work, your work that you made the main meaning of your life. You will be remembered by generations of scientists. Rest in peace. I wish I could come to the service, but will be very far away on that day. Anyway, I hope your spirit could read my deep feelings without words.

Linda Sue Moreau
Little Rock, AR
Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Carl, sorry to hear about the loss of your brother. Prayers for comfort.

Ravi Rau
Baton Rouge, LA
Tuesday, September 17, 2019

I am saddened to hear of Vernon's passing away. He was a dear friend and colleague, already senior to me in the LSU physics department when I joined in 1974. He was helpful to me as I settled in and in the years since till he left LSU for NASA. His ready smile and cheerfulness I will always remember. He served both LSU and NASA with great distinction. I will remember him fondly. Ravi

Judy Dove
, MD
Tuesday, September 17, 2019

My thoughts and prayers are with you. Vernon was a highly valuable, caring and respected person – A GREAT HUMAN BEING! The effects of his passing are already being felt by his NASA colleagues. It was truly a joy to work with Vernon! Rest in Peace my friend!

Susan Keddie
Fredericksburg, VA
Tuesday, September 17, 2019

As a NASA contractor supporting the Peer Review process, I had the pleasure and the privilege of working with Vernon on and off for many years. His dedication to the job always impressed me. But mostly I will remember his smile and his humor. He was a real gentleman. I am so sorry to hear of his passing. I hope that fond memories bring comfort to all who are missing him.

Marla Harrington
Ellicott City, MD
Tuesday, September 17, 2019

May you be comforted by all of your fond memories of Vernon. He was always a gentleman, scholar, and beloved co-worker. An true inspiration to all. His love of science was infectious. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

Colleen Hartman
Alexandria, VA
Monday, September 16, 2019

Vernon had the NASA “can do” attitude, putting science first at every turn and never, ever giving up, all the while being the nicest gentleman I’ve ever had the privilege of knowing. I will miss you Vernon. Rest in peace.