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Robert (Bob) Randall Jones, age 97, of Idaho Falls, Idaho, passed away peacefully January 26, 2023, surrounded by his four children.
He was born July 25, 1925, in Lorenzo, Idaho, to Joseph Thomas Jones and Verna Leone Randall Jones. Bob grew up and attended schools in Rexburg, Idaho. His father and mother died in 1940 and 1941 leaving five children, ages 7 to 18. They continued to live together in the family home until each got married.
Bob graduated from Madison High School in 1943 and enlisted in the Army Air Corps. He trained as a fighter pilot, receiving his pilot wings and officer commission at age 19. At war's end he returned home to his siblings and enrolled in Rick's College where he met Barbara Berrett. She was the youngest of fifteen children, her parents had also died when she was a young girl. After graduation they were married in the Idaho Falls Temple on October 8, 1947. They moved to Idaho Falls where they lived and raised their four children, Diane, Peggy, Christine, and Robert Jr. (Bobby).
With the dedicated support of Barbara, Bob had a very busy life centered around raising their family, church service, and two simultaneous occupations. He worked at the Idaho National Laboratory working on various nuclear programs for 37 years. His work included reactor operator and senior criticality safety engineer. He retired in 1991.
His part-time occupation as a commercial pilot and flight instructor was remarkable and extensive. It covered a span of 68 years, over 20,000 flight hours, and continued until age 88 because of the requests for his pilot services. He engaged in various commercial flight operations for the Idaho Falls Airport, fixed base operators, and several government agencies for over 50 years.
Bob gave flight instruction in numerous types and models of airplanes to over 1,000 pilots. Many were prominent professional people from the local area, around the United States, and some foreign countries. He gave flight instruction to four generations of the Bob Hoff family. The Federal Aviation Administration presented Bob the General Aviation Flight Instructor of the Year National Award for the western United States in 1991. He received the Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award in 2003. In 2013, he received the George Palmer Putnam Award for the support of the 99s, the International Organization of Women Pilots. He received many safe pilot awards and was never involved in an accident.
Bob met many wonderful friends and neighbors who he and Barbara remained close to throughout their lives. They traveled the world together and shared many traditions as families. He enjoyed the outdoors, skiing, camping, and hiking. He took great enjoyment from following BYU sports, and it was one thing he continued to do until late in life. He very much cherished his close association with his family and relatives, especially his children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.
Bob was an active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints all of his life. He had a strong testimony which served him well. He enjoyed sharing it with others and served as a missionary. He served as ward and stake clerks, stake high counselor, bishop counselor, bishop, and had many other callings.
Bob was preceded in death by his wife Barbara and his parents; his sister Cleo (Gerald) Johnson, brother Clyde Jones, brother J. T. (Carol) Jones, and sister Eileen (Bob) Powell, an infant sister Phyllis; and two half-sisters Mabel Valentine and Alberta Muir.
Bob is survived by his four children Diane Jones, Peggy (Dean) Lowe, Christine Walterscheid, and Robert Randall Jones Jr., six grandchildren, ten great grandchildren, and two great-great grandchildren. He is survived by his sister-in-law, Helen Jones.
The family would like to thank Lincoln Court for their wonderful care of our father. We would also like to thank Hands of Hope Hospice.
Funeral services will be held at 11 AM Friday, February 3, at the Idaho Falls LDS Grandview Ward Chapel, 1450 Mountain View Lane, with Bishop Ken Knoch officiating. The family will visit with friends from 6:30 PM to 7:30 PM Thursday at Wood Funeral Home, 273 N Ridge Avenue and from 10 AM to 10:45 AM Friday prior to service at the church. Interment will be in Annis-Little Butte Cemetery.
Condolences may be sent to the family online at www.woodfuneralhome.com.
We love you, Dad. Now you are flying without wings.