Lewis Dale Jones, 73, passed peacefully shortly before midnight on Thursday, June 13. The official cause will not be cancer. But there is no denying that the effects of cancer, and the side effects and impact of cancer treatments last fall and into winter, hastened his end. Ultimately it was too much for his damaged, frail body to overcome. Though I’m angry at the world — as we likely all are in times of such premature loss, or any loss, I suppose — I am at peace knowing that he is no longer suffering, and that the last words I heard from him were, “Love you guys.” The last words I spoke to him: “Love ya, dad.” He was in and out of it those last six days I spent with him; in his eyes as we said our final goodbyes, I saw a shimmer of knowing.
The rest of his obit follows.
Lew will remain forever the eternally faithful, loving, and beloved husband to Linda Noble Jones; plans were underway to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary on September 20 of this year. Among the humblest and most caring men you’d ever be likely to meet, he did boast of, and take tremendous pride in, the accomplishments of his two sons and their wives, Brian Noble Jones (Erin Ciarimboli) of Athens, Georgia, and Keith Allen Jones (Jolene Truchan Jones) of Hubbard, Ohio. His sons consider themselves blessed to have had him as a role model in their lives.
Nothing ever made Lew as happy as time spent with his granddaughter and grandson, Kaylin and Brocktyn. He was their Papa Lewie and imbued in them a passion for fishing and time outdoors. They brought immeasurable joy to his final years, and eased the pain of old age.
His only sibling, a younger sister, Virginia (Eugene) Sheridan of Greenville, Pennsylvania, survives him. To her and their family, he was fondly referred to as Dale. He always valued his family and looked forward to fishing trips with Gene.
If you were blessed to have known him, you knew that Lew endured lifelong challenges with chronic pain. He rarely complained about it, but it was evident. Those close to him, perhaps, had the best understanding of the acute pain he endured on a daily basis. But it rarely phased him, and he rarely allowed it to impede him. His sons will forever cherish childhood memories of playing catch in the yard with him, even if for a few minutes, all his body could spare. He gave his family all he had, and more. Despite the pain, it didn’t slow him down if there were fish to be caught, arrowheads to be sought, or a garden to be tended. It’s impossible to count the precious hours Lew spent with his sons and grandchildren in pursuit of the big catch, and we are forever grateful for every last moment we had with him.
From his father he inherited this passion and acumen for fishing as well as gardening and arrowhead hunting. The two grew closer together in their later years, bonding during fishing trips to Pymatuning and Shenango, and the occasional weekend around the Allegheny National Forest.
Perhaps Lew excelled most at working crossword puzzles, a passion he shared with his son, Brian, and niece, Susan E. Mullin. When he completed The New York Times Sunday puzzle, we’d be certain to hear of it to share in his deserved glory. Lew was an avid lifelong reader, no doubt a secret to his crossword success.
And if you knew Lew, you knew how much he loved the Pittsburgh Steelers. He taught his sons a number of choice phrases to describe the Steelers when a play went south — only a few of them appropriate here! Years ago, he held both Steelers and Pitt football season tickets and spent many frenzied weekends with his dear brother-in-law, Charles S. Mullin, cheering on their favorite teams. He loved Charlie as a brother, and relished the time their families spent together camping, fishing, and beachcombing for shark teeth in Myrtle Beach.
Lew had an active church life for many years in Hubbard, Ohio, and, later, in Brookfield, Ohio. He loved his fellows in Christ.
Lew was born September 16, 1945, to Lewis Arnold Jones and Ethel Kardos Jones of Wheatland, Pennsylvania. He graduated proudly from Farrell High School (Pennsylvania) in 1963 and matriculated to Slippery Rock State College (Pennsylvania), earning first his Bachelor’s in 1967 and immediately joined the faculty of Sharpsville Area School District (Pennsylvania). He then earned his Master’s degree from the Teachers College at Slippery Rock in 1970.
His career as an English teacher spanned 32 years; he begrudgingly retired in 1997. His family fondly recalls the countless times former students would approach Mr. Jones out and around the Shenango Valley to offer their gratitude for his teaching style, knowledge, passion, and grace in front of the classroom. He was stern but forgiving and understanding, and regularly referred to as “the best teacher I ever had.” We warmly echo this sentiment.
Lew was preceded in death by his parents; his loving sister-in-law, Judith A. Mullin; his niece and fishing pal, Susan E. Mullin; and his classmate, best friend, and lifelong golfing partner, George Kahl. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Family House, 5245 Centre Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15232, or to Brookfield United Methodist Church, 6591 Grove Street, Brookfield, OH 44403. Or, true to Lew’s spirit, take a moment to appreciate our natural world around us and take a loved one for a walk — or for a round of golf or a few hours by the shore. Be kind to each other, as he was.
Now, let’s get back to writing the obituary for cancer. pelotonia.org/noble
Some team members will contribute periodically throughout the season as we ramp up to Pelotonia weekend in August.