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1929 J. Richard 2024

J. Richard Jones

July 16, 1929 — April 24, 2024

Orem

On Wednesday, April 24, 2024, James Richard Jones was recruited to join the Paradisical All-Sports Team, the Celestial Gardening Association, and the Society of I’m Healthy. I’m Happy. I’m Terrific as I Can Be. Terms of his contract: WORK and JOY!

 

Richard made his earthly debut on July 16, 1929, in Fillmore, Utah, to Hyrum Pidding and Martha Kirkham Jones. He was the third of five sons – Lhomond, Elwood, Richard, Weston, and Roland. All joined the heavenly ranks before Richard, thus making his return all the sweeter.

 

Although Richard was richly blessed with physical, mental, and spiritual gifts, he magnified them through diligent work. Indeed, the one word that best epitomizes Richard is “work”. Richard nurtured a strong work ethic his entire life. As a young man, he peddled his bicycle all over Spanish Fork delivering newspapers – a daily lung-burning experience. He often worked 16-hour days at the Del Monte canning factory making $0.75 an hour until overtime kicked in after eight hours. The $1.10 an hour made the overtime worth it. 

 

Richard played as hard as he worked. He crafted home-made rubber guns using strips of car tires for bullets, and he learned not to play with fire after shooting a blob of burning glue into his brother’s eye. The “eye of fire” taught the young boy Richard that sincere prayer can be answered immediately with divine inspiration: “Run cold water over the glue.” The glue hardened, Richard peeled it off his brother’s eye, and no permanent damage resulted. 

 

Participating in sports developed Richard’s prowess on the court – basketball, tennis, racquetball, badminton, you name it. At a height of 6 feet 3 inches and lean as a lodge pole pine, he earned the nickname of the “Splendid Splinter from Spanish Fork” while playing on its high school basketball team. 

 

The Splendid Splinter went on to play for Brigham Young University where his translucent white skin earned him the nickname “Spook”. Coach Stan Watts used “Spook” to defensively shut-down the opposing team’s offensive threat. During Richard’s senior year, BYU won the 1951 National Invitational Tournament. In time, Richard was inducted into BYU’s Hall of Fame. Prior to the NIT championship game, Coach Watts read a telegram from President George Albert Smith: “From the top of the Rockies I send my love and blessing. Many thousands share my pride in your record. I have faith in your abilities. Play clean, play hard, play fair, play to win. God bless you.”

 

Following college, Richard continued to work hard in developing his talents by enrolling in the army. During a furlough to the home front, his romance of Annie Joy Pinegar began in earnest resulting in a letter-based courtship that culminated in marriage on June 2, 1953. Seven children blessed their marriage fulfilling Richard’s desire for a basketball team (five girls) and two cheerleaders (two sons). Here is the roster: Linda Sue (James Melvin Beagles), Michael Richard (Jana Call), Mary Lee (Stephen Rowley), Julie Ann (Doug Duerden), Melody (Brent Bandley), Jared Pinegar (Kristin Packer), and Leilani (James Howard).

 

Richard developed his mind and intellect by earning a Master’s Degree at BYU and an Education Doctorate at the University of Northern Colorado. During his 30-year career at Brigham Young University, it was rumored that he would give students an “A” in the class if they could beat him at the skill sport being taught. Takers did not earn an “A” this way, but they did get schooled! Richard’s career at BYU provided a 2-year sabbatical at the Church College of Hawaii (1969-1971) where he was basketball coach and teacher.

 

Richard’s righteous desires to acquire a home with a large yard, many fruit trees, and a big garden were answered when he moved his family to Orem, Utah, in 1972. This home and yard became his stomping grounds and literal Garden of Eden until his passing. Many have enjoyed his beautiful yard with varied flowers, trees, bushes, and neatly kept lawn. Harvests from his garden have produced delightful meals and sweet home-made grape juice. The fruits of his labors pleased his eyes and gladdened his heart as well as those of family and friends.

 

By works Richard demonstrated his faith in Jesus Christ and His gospel. He served to the best of his abilities whether the assignment was Scout Master, home teacher, Bishop or missionary. Richard and Annie served 18 months at the Jerusalem Center in Israel, and 18 months in the Washington DC North mission. His example at home emphasized family and personal prayer, father’s blessings, paying tithing, blessings of healing, service to others, repentance, and work.

 

Richard aged gracefully and maintained great health throughout his life; however, “old age” proved to be stiff competition resulting in Richard’s inability to walk the last year of his life. This was humbling given Richard’s lifetime of vigorous activity. Not being able to walk, Richard spent most of his time in a comfortable recliner. Many games of Shut-the-Box, Roll for It, and cards were played by Richard, his children, and grandchildren. Richard’s patented lines of “I am winning!”, “You are a good sport.”, “I won.” and “Shut the box!” were often heard while he smiled brightly at his competition. 

 

Richard’s legacy is best defined by the characteristics and attributes he developed throughout his life and how his example influenced and blessed his posterity (27 grandchildren and 44 great grandchildren) to live righteously. He was kind and listened to others. He was part of the solution and not part of the problem. He avoided contention. He chose to control his emotions and not let others affect him. He believed. He was positive in thought and word. He was generous and helpful. Like the Savior, it could be said that he went about doing good.

 

Like the telegram from the Prophet to the BYU basketball team prior to the NIT championship game, a telegram from Richard beyond the veil would likely read:

 

“From the Courts of Paradise, I send my love and blessing. Many thousands share my pride in your good lives. I have faith in your abilities. Play clean, play hard, play fair, play to win. God bless you.

 

PS: There is a joy divine in work pursued with worthy goal!”

 

A celebration of Richard Jones’ life will be held on Saturday, May 18, 2024, at 11 am at 950 South 50 East, Orem, Utah. Prior to the celebration service at the same location, come share your stories and memories of Richard with his family and friends from 9:30 – 10:30 am. A wake will be held Friday, May 17, 2024, from 6 – 8 pm, at Sunberg-Olpin Mortuary, 495 South State Street, Orem, Utah.

 



Condolences may be expressed to the family on this page.

For those unable to attend the services they will be streamed starting at 11 a.m. on Saturday, May 18, 2024 via Facebook Live at the following link:https://www.facebook.com/sundbergolpinfuneralhome
To send flowers to the family in memory of J. Richard Jones, please visit our flower store.
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Celebration of Life

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LDS Church - 950 South 50 East

950 South 50 East, Orem, UT 84058

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