Richard Michael Jones III, beloved husband, father and grandfather, passed away on Saturday, May 21 surrounded by his loving family, after suffering a stroke. Richard was born on March 30, 1941 in New Haven, the son of Richard Michael Jones II and Mary Petroskey Jones. He graduated from Notre Dame High School, the University of South Carolina, and earned a PhD in History from the City University of New York, writing a 400 page thesis on whaling in Stonington that has been used for exhibits at the Mystic Aquarium.
Richard worked for several years as an adjunct professor of history and then for thirty years at Amtrak, ten in the track division, where he eventually became foreman, and then for twenty years as a conductor. Coworkers nicknamed him “The Professor” because of his PhD, although he was always very unassuming about his education with his friends on the railroad, where he was extremely well-liked. Family members recall his incredible work ethic on the job, often leaving the house at all hours of the night on very little sleep in order to put four children through Catholic school and college.
Richard met his beloved wife Martha while working a summer job at a golf course in Delaware, where she was attending nursing school. They moved to the Westerly area so Richard could research his PhD in Stonington, and they both fell in love with the Westerly beaches. Summer days were spent at the beach as often as possible, usually Watch Hill. He would drop his family off at one end of the beach and then park the car in town and walk back to them, his tall frame and modest walk visible almost the whole length of the beach, even on crowded days.
When it wasn’t beach season, he would take his family hiking or to a lake or pond almost every weekend when they were growing up, or on one of their many annual vacations. After retirement he volunteered for the Audubon Society and the Nature Conservancy, cleaning local trails so that others could enjoy them.
Listeners to WCNI New London will surely know Richard from his Sunday radio show, “Dr. J: The World’s Oldest Teenager” where he would play an incredible range of music, from indie, country, early rock n’roll, blues, folk, and everything in-between. His favorite group was The Rolling Stones, who he once referred to in a film review (he also wrote film reviews) as “the musical geniuses of the 20th century.”
In addition to his many other interests, hobbies and talents he was an avid sports fan, first and foremost of the New York Football Giants, as well as the Boston Celtics, (who he saw win several championships in person), the San Francisco Giants, the Boston Red Sox, and Anyone playing against the Yankees. He was also a proud “yellow dog Democrat”, who would often write letters to the editor at The Westerly Sun in support of the liberal and progressive causes he believed in, always diligently supported with citations, statistics, and quotes from reputable sources.
The Jones family would like to thank Doctor Harwood, Doctor Dotolo, and especially Doctor Marzilli for their wonderful care of Richard in his later years. They would also like to thank the Westerly Ambulance Corps and the staffs at Westerly Hospital and Rhode Island Hospital for their kind and compassionate care of Richard on his final day.
His family will receive relatives and friends on Thursday, May 26, from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Buckler-Johnston Funeral Home at 121 Main Street in Westerly, RI. There will be a Mass of Christian Burial for Richard at 10 a.m. on Friday, May 27th at St. Pius X Church 44 Elm St, Westerly, RI followed by a procession and burial at Palmer Cemetery, located at 9 Stanton Lane, Preston, CT. Reception details to follow. In lieu of flowers the family ask that donations be made in Richard’s name to the Nature Conservancy https://www.nature.org/en-us/ and to WCNI, New London https://wcniradio.org/ .
For online condolences, please visit www.buckler-johnston.com
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