Harry B. Jones


Harry B. Jones died peacefully in his sleep at the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital on May 21, 2012 with his wife of 54 years, Aase Jones, and his beloved Yorkshire terrier, “Spookie,” at his bedside. He was 80.

Harry was born in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, January 14, 1932. He grew up in the coal-mining town of Edwardsville and in Stroudsburg, Penn., during the depression years, but moved with his family to Hartford, Conn., during the late 1930s, and later to Wethersfield Conn.

At Bulkely High School in Hartford he excelled in math and science, later studied mechanical engineering at Hillyer College and the University of Hartford and pursued a career in the field of construction supervision on major projects, including the building of Thayer Hall at West Point Military Academy, the Yankee Atomic Power plant in Rowe and the new science building at the University of Connecticut, Storrs, where in 1957 he met his future wife, a foreign student from Norway. They were married in Elkton, Maryland, in 1958, much to the chagrin of his wife’s parents in Norway, who later came to love and accept the American who had married their only daughter.

Harry was employed by Combustion Engineering in Windsor, Conn., in design and development and later transferred to the Kreisinger Development Laboratory where his ideas on how to handle coal slurry and decentrifuge the mix earned him two patents which were later applied at the Mohave Power Station in Laughlin, Nevada, where he was Assistant Superintendent for the three-year project. The family, now with two daughters, Suzanne and Siri, moved to Kingman, Arizona.

Assignments abroad took the family next to Iran, where Harry was the resident mechanical engineer for the Karaj Power Station outside Tehran. Harry later transferred to General Electric and other foreign assignments followed in Jakarta, Indonesia, Kunsan, Korea, Guam, and Cairo, Egypt.

In between foreign assignments Harry was a troubleshooter on domestic power plant projects that took him from California to Texas, Oregon, Washington state and Cartersville, Georgia.

Harry was a clever and complex man, with many interests. He was an avid philatelist and following his marriage concentrated exclusively on collecting Norwegian stamps. He was a member of the American Philatelic Society, the Scandinavian Collectors Club of Southern California and the New England Scandinavian Collector’s Club and cherished his many philatelic associations. He was a fine golfer, a long-time member of Mink Meadows Golf Club and played with the “noonies” at Mink Meadows Golf Club with great enthusiasm for many years. On foreign assignments he played golf on some exciting courses, including the Mena House Oberoi course in the shadow of the Giza Pyramids. Travels between assignments took the family to Beirut, Greece, and Spain.

Harry was a 33rd degree Mason, enjoyed fishing and hunting in his younger days, with trips to North Kaibab on the North rim of the Grand Canyon for deer, elk near Flagstaff, and javelina at Three Bar in southern Arizona.

In 1977, the family built a summer house in Vineyard Haven to which the family moved semi-permanently for one year and then later decided that life on the Vineyard was just the right thing after years of living out of a suitcase. Although adventurous and exciting, overseas assignments in third-world countries could be both dangerous and stressful.

The job of Assistant Construction supervisor for the 40-unit Elderly Housing Hillside Village complex came along and he later took on the management of the construction of eight units of sweat-equity affordable houses built under the auspices of the Housing Assistance Corporation with Farmer’s Home Administration loans secured for qualified applicants.

He concluded his career in the field of construction by establishing his own little business, doing small projects, building additions, working for himself and building single-handed a two-car garage at his house in Vineyard Haven. He retired to play golf and work on his stamp collection in his later years and was happy to stay at home with his beloved Yorkie, Spookie, and welcome old friends from his traveling days to the Vineyard.

He leaves his wife Aase; daughters Suzanne Kennedy and her husband, Thomas, of Vineyard Haven and Siri Jones of Queen Creek, Arizona; grandson Christopher Selchow of Minneapolis; and, of course, Spookie. Rupert, the rogue rooster who adopted us and lived in the rhododendron bush and in the backyard for 2½; years, also gave him great joy.

A celebration of his life will be held at a later date to be announced. Donations in his memory may be made to the charity of one’s choice or to the Animal Shelter of Martha’s Vineyard in Edgartown, the SPCA, or the Humane Society of the United States.