John P. Jones: World War II Hero, Husband, Daddy, Poppy and Grand Poppy Extraordinaire and an all-around darn good guy.
September 20th, John P. Jones passed away at the ripe old age of 100. The folks writing checks at Social Security thought it was about time. Those of us who loved him strangely thought that 100 years wasn’t nearly enough.
John P. Jones, aka “Boots,” was born on December 17, 1918. The youngest child of Josephine and William Jones, brother of Ray, Norm, Eugene, Willie, Josephine, and Fay. He outlived them all because, let’s face it, he pretty much outlived everyone.
Much to his chagrin, he also outlived his beloved wife, Rosemary (nee Hoffman) who he tenderly and meticulously cared for for six years after a stroke left her without the ability to speak or walk. John couldn’t understand what all the fuss was about when folks praised him for caring for her so. As he said “well, she took care of me for almost 50 years. It’s my turn to take care of her!” Truer love the world has never seen.
John narrowly escaped death three times before, once on the day of his birth after suffering burns from the bottom of the pan of hot water they dipped babies into back then, once when he caught the brunt of a grenade in France during WWII, and once at the age of 98 when he was told he had Lymphoma and he was too old to go through surgery to remove it. Never being a fan of anyone telling him what to do, he told him to “take it out!” and he fooled Death all three times. He wanted to live to be one hundred and, by god, he did it.
He was a gymnast who planned on joining the circus until an unfortunate accident broke his ankle and the circus train left without him. But he didn’t wallow in it for long because John wasn’t a wallower. He found himself quite the consolation prize in Rosemary Hoffman. From the start, John was smitten. While in the U.S. Army, he wrote her love letters so beautiful they would make any girl swoon. During WWII, he was sent to Metz, France with the 95th Infantry Division. Never was there anyone more suited for a group called the “Iron Men of Metz” than John. He spent months near death in a British hospital after sacrificing half his left arm and becoming a permanent storage receptacle for a whole bunch of shrapnel he will be buried with. It’s really a shame he was taken out of the war so early. If he had stayed in the game for the long haul, the war surely would have been over by 1944.
Upon his return to America, he married his beloved Rosemary and moved to Elmhurst, where he lived for the next 69 years, remaining in the same house on Bryan Street until the day he died. He worked as a mailman and a landscaper, his physical labor no doubt contributing to his good health.
John is survived by his adoring daughter, Nancy (Richard) Brooke, his loving grand-daughter Natalie (Paul) Soto, two beautiful great-grandchildren, Jack and Dani Soto and his loving caregiver, Ralph Soto, without whom he couldn’t have realized his goal of never having to leave his home.
John’s was a life well-lived. He was a simple guy and he was always content. He never wanted a fancier car, a bigger house, nicer clothes. He was always simply happy with his girls, good music, books, and, every once in a while, a nice, big slice of apple pie.
Visitation at Ahlgrim Funeral Home, 567 S. Spring Rd., Elmhurst from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Tuesday, September 24, 2019. Services 11:00 a.m. Wednesday, September 25, 2019 at the funeral home. Interment Chapel Hill Gardens West Cemetery. Funeral info 630-834-3515 or www.ahlgrim.com. hide