Our Jones Family Connection - DeRand Jones' 1967 Christmas Letter

DeRand Jones (1927-2002): Renaissance Man

An online source says, "A renaissance man or polymath is a person who is skilled in multiple fields or multiple disciplines, and who has a broad base of knowledge." DeRand Jones was my generation's maternal uncle, and I think it's fair to describe him as a "renaissance man". By that I mean that he was a multi-talented, very active man with many interests and high levels of competency in just about any endeavor in which he became involved, including being a private pilot.

Elsewhere in this blog
I provide/will provide a biographical sketch of this remarkable man. However, the purpose of this page is simply to share his 1967 Christmas letter, a practice he used for many years to keep in touch with his many widespread friends and family. Immediately below is the cover page (click to enlarge it and/or this photo of him with his plane).


His Jones lineage:
The furthest back I've been able to trace our Jones line is Lewis Jones, and following is a simplified descendancy chart from Lewis to DeRand's generation:

Lewis Jones (1791-1871)

Dr. William M Jones (1831-1892)

Fleetwood Churchill Jones (1857-1937)

Rev. Carleton D Jones (1895-1967)

Fleeta Claire, Paul Wesley, DeRand and Virginia Lee (Ginger) Jones
Claire, Paul and Ginger were/are the parents of my generation. DeRand, who was twice married, had no children.


The text below, which accompanied the cover letter above, is one of the Christmas letters collected by DeRand's former secretary, later sent to his widow, Gail Anderson Jones, then given to his nephew, my brother Cory Dunn - and finally, relayed to me. I think it provides an interesting perspective on this family member's life, some of his interests (there were several others) - and a look at part of our family history. He was, at the time, Superintendent of Schools in Marcellus, Michigan, and a bachelor, since he and his first wife had divorced.

Dear Friends,

As usual, my Christmas news letter is titled by topics for sake of efficiency. This is to enable you to read just those portions that may interest you. The time saved not reading the rest is to be spent writing back to me the news of your particular world.

Family: As you know my father, Rev. Carleton D. Jones, passed away last February. Later, his Book and Bible Store in Detroit was sold. My stepmother, Ranee, (Indian word for "Queen") ran it for awhile until it could be sold.

In July I brought her here to Marcellus [Michigan] so that Robert Howe, High School Principal, and former driver education teacher, could teach her to drive the nearly new [Ford] Falcon Dad left. We also received help from Art Park, teacher from Sutton Bay, instructing in our summer school in aviation. Marion Pyle, neighbor, teacher, and friend, helped too. We made progress but didn't quite get to the license, which she will get in Nova Scotia.

The Detroit riots [which were part of the 60's civil rights struggle] started the day after I took Ranee back to her house [in Detroit] to pack to move to Nova Scotia. Some of the "activities" were rather close to her. This hindered the packing to move. She left her home to move in with church friends, the Eulers, exceptionally fine people, till things quieted down. Then Art Park, E. D. Collom, (college student son of the Colloms, very close friends of mine) and myself with a truck and rented U Haul truck went to Detroit, loaded everything, (in the rain) and started out at 8:20 P.M. for Nova Scotia, over 1500 miles distant. Ranee was not yet an able enough driver, so the 3 of us by turns drove the truck with trailer and the car with Ranee.

We drove all night and through the next day, stayed in a motel at Rievere De loop (north of Quebec City) one night. We drove all the next day. Got to Oxford, Nova Scotia at 7 P.M. Saturday night. We unloaded in the rain into a house not yet ready, but was supposed to have been. Only one room was finished. We 3 men slept on the floor on the mattress, Ranee stayed with her parents.

Sometime in the night Ranee's father woke us. He had taken Ranee to the hospital, ill. Turned out to be intestinal flu. About 7 A.M. as we were leaving, E. D. got it, too. Art Park and I shortly later began to feel funny. later, we knew we had it, too. We stopped by the hospital to see Ranee and to get medicine. Our purpose in being in Nova Scotia was to take Ranee to care for her parents. We didn't wish to put ourselves on them to be cared for, so we launched out, 1500 miles, with sleeping bag on an air-mattress in the back of the covered pickup truck, trailer behind, and stopping at every gas station - but not for gas.

We stayed in a motel overnight on a hill overlooking Quebec City. It was beautiful. Next day, weak, still affected by Intestinal flu, but some better, we visited Expo [the Worlds Fair in Montreal] from john to john. We got back rather tired and sore In every muscle from driving that truck. The kind of friends that will help you out through a deal like the above are real friends!!

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Ranee, since then, has been in and out of the hospital. She has not yet gotten completely on her feet in Oxford. Her parents are with her. This is her childhood home area. For those who know her, her address is just Rhoda V. Jones, Oxford, Nova Scotia.

I was to visit her Thanksgiving, but severe icing weather prevented flying. I'll get there later.

Last summer I flew the [Piper] Tri Pacer to Paradise, California to visit my brother, Paul, (Sherriff Sgt.) and his family. It's been quite a while since I saw him. From there I went to Seattle to visit my sister Claire, (medical secretary) and Aunt Grace - Uncle Fred, and family. Not only were the visits pleasant, but I like Seattle very much. I've always considered it my home town. Going to, from or through Chicago area I often visit my sister, Virginia, (a nurse) in Hammond [Indiana].

Flying: This year I earned my instrument rating. (January) In June I got my commercial license. In September I passed the 1000 hour mark. In November the written test part of the instructors rating was passed. Flight test yet to go. At present I'm taking occasional instruction in aerobatic flying from the instructor and flight base operator at Three Rivers, Dick Mathews. He's really good! I've received a few hours instruction in complex aircraft and need a bit more.

At present I'm teaching 2 evening classes. One is ground school for the Private Pilot license, the other in Instrument Pilot Ground School. I rather enjoy this, as you may have guessed by now.

Trip-wise: Flew to Atlantic City with Hazen Abbott to National Superintendent meeting in February. I flew to Tennessee recruiting teachers, later to EI Paso, Texas across New Mexico, hired two teachers, visited Robert Goodnow at Austin on the way home, saw Lee Allison in Alabama on next hop. As mentioned before, flew to California, then up over Crater lake, (really beautiful) en route to Seattle, then home. From Seattle flew to Port Angeles to visit cousin Mary Ann and family. I believe it was Aunt Grace's first ride. She did O.K. and It wasn't too hard prying her hand off the door handle after we landed. Aunt Grace partly raised me and means a lot to me, and I wonder if she would have flown for anyone else.

Thanksgiving, Art Park and I couldn't fly to Nova Scotia because of icing conditions, but plane was all packed and ready to go, so we flew to Texas and played 4 games of chess with Robert Goodnow. Temperature was 85. Really enjoyed that trip and visit. He has a nice family.

Christmas, Mike Holmes, Carl Reuter, and I expect to fly to the Bahamas for 4 days sun and stuff.

Made many short hops within 200 miles here and they're not listed above, added a Mark III radio. This gives me 2 VOR receivers, 2 communication transceivers, an A.D.F., and also use citizen band occasionally. It's a well equipped Tri Pacer!!

- [Page] 3 -

Guns: Received an air pistol, couple of old nickel plates, a few zip guns and other guns, knives and cartridges, from my brother.

He confiscated these in the course of his sheriffing. They make good collector items. My collection is about 50 guns now, not counting zip guns and non-shooting items. In competition, I've won only a local medal. Haven't done much in competition lately. Intend to later.

The rifle club of the students is just now re-starting. We were held up when we had to store the new bleachers for the new gym under construction In the place we shoot. Now that's cleared and shooting has resumed. This club has about 20 rifles, most of which are 22s on loan from the Federal Government.

Hunting: Better you hadn't asked! Didn't even see a deer. Saw a coyote (again) but he was faster than I was. Couldn't get a shot. The one I got last year paid off well in bounty money. Didn't do any other hunting this year.

School: The new high school is finished; or should be by the time you get this. Various odds and ends are to be finished in December. We have had the normal problems and adjustments with a new building. Dedication and open house to be January 7, 2 P.M. We occupied it while it was still being finished. This is not an experience I recommend to anyone, but was expedient for us this year.

Both the administrative and teaching staff were greatly expanded this year. Teaching loads are averaging 25 which is normal. Salaries went up to $5,700. base with $8,333. maximum for teachers.

We are now deeply involved in furnace change-over, electrical work, fire alarm re-building, inter-com systems, and general remodeling of the 1939-50 building (so far so named because of the dates the 2 parts were built). This project will run over $35,000.

The paving of our roads and parking lots was finally finished in October, almost too late for weather, and after many difficulties. It sure improves the campus for 2 of our 4 schools.

My office remains in the 1957 building. I didn't go over to the new high school. We did carpet my office with scraps left over from our new library. This is rubber based very nice carpet.

Only new bus we bought was the addition of one kindergarten bus. Our fleet is in good shape, thanks to our mechanic and new garage.


Merry Christmas



Please refer to the disclaimer on the index page of this blog for a statement regarding the accuracy of - and documentation for - the information presented in this blog.

Last revised 1/20/2011


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