Neil C. Jones age 74, passed away at the Red Wing Health Center on December 16, 2014. Neil was born February 3, 1940 to Calvert and Ethel Jones in Bertha, MN. He grew up the eldest of five and joined the Navy at the age of 17 where he was stationed in Hawaii. After serving his country, he took employment in his related field. He worked as a Marine Mechanic Chief, Deck Hand and onto Tugboat Pilot and Captain in the St. Paul, MN Harbor. Neil served as a Tugboat Captain until age 65 when he retired from Upper River Services. He was a respected Captain of the upper Mississippi and was interviewed for local television during high water conditions and published in local newspapers as being the “John Wayne of the Mississippi.” After retirement, Neil continued to volunteer to help drive the elderly, shovel walks, fix or start cars, and carry groceries or anything else anyone needed. He was a true Johnny on the spot to anyone, anywhere.
Neil was married twice, the first marriage to Shirley Yaw and was blessed with two children, Robin and Scott Jones. He later married Gwendolyn Ehlers on December 31, 1979. Gwendolyn had five children from previous marriages, which increased his children to 7. Neil was a great husband; father, brother, uncle and friend. Neil’s laugh was loud and strong, He also had the highest sense of ethics, morals, and integrity.
Neil enjoyed reading western novels and listening to country western music. He enjoyed boating, camping, fishing and hunted whitetail deer occasionally. He loved grilling thick juicy steaks cooked medium rare or rare. He enjoyed spending time in the garage fixing vehicles, snowmobiles or anything that was broken. He was patient and a good teacher to others. He also loved sharing dinner and a beer or whiskey with friends and family. Like John Wayne, he was a true man’s man. He was loved by all and lived a rich life. He will be deeply missed by family and friends.
“All you need is a roof over your head, food on your table, and love in your home.” – Neil Jones –
Neil is survived by his wife, Gwendolyn Marie Jones, his children Robin Kunkel, Scott Jones, Steve (Beth) Walen, Leann (Greg) Polski, David Jones, Kristen (Rick) Blue and James (Manuela) Michaels, his brothers Bert (Debbie) Jones and Jack (Sherri) Jones, 16 grandchildren, and 3 great grandchildren.
Neil was preceded in death by his parents Ethel and Calvert Jones, sisters Rodell Jones and Darlene Lutz.