Second World War veteran and consummate community volunteer Lloyd Jones passed away last week at the age of 96.
Neil Jones said his father passed while in Delta Hospital in the early hours last Friday morning.
“He had a fall a few months ago and he had been in and out of hospital for the last while,” said Neil of last year’s Citizen of the Year. “The night before they pushed the beds together at Mountain View Manor and mom was beside him and it was beautiful. Dad was at peace, out of pain and mom was beside him. You couldn’t have had a better ending.”
Neil said as the family gathered on Friday afternoon in the backyard of his home the Canadian Forces Snowbirds flew over in preparation for Saturday’s Boundary Bay Airshow.
“We got a fly-over right over the backyard. I guess he arranged that,” said Neil.
Williams Lloyd Jones was born in Winnipeg on Feb. 18, 1923 to parents Blodwen and Frederick, and moved to Swift Current, Saskatchewan where as a young man he was active in sports, including basketball, baseball, curling and hockey. After completing high school he rode the rails to the West Coast where he worked in logging camps on Vancouver Island.
After the war broke out, he joined the army and signed with The Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders, serving as a rifleman, Bren gunner and dispatch rider in France, Belgium and Holland.
At the close of the war, he returned to Winnipeg where he met the love of his life, Kathleen, who was a nurse at the military hospital.
He worked various jobs in Manitoba and then in Moose Jaw and Regina before relocating the family to Tsawwassen in 1967.
It was here in South Delta where he and Kathleen became active with numerous organizations.
He spent more than two decades volunteering with Delta’s community police stations, was active with the Masonic Lodge and served as president of the Tsawwassen Shrine Club, among many other community activities. He was also a long-time member and eventual president of the Tsawwassen Legion.
Tsawwassen Legion president Bill Belsey said Jones was one of the most highly respected members of the Legion.
“When Lloyd spoke, everyone listened. He participated in so many things. He would snap us all into shape if we did something wrong,” said Belsey. “He supported the Legion and so many other causes. If you didn’t know Lloyd, you didn’t know this community.”
Belsey said when the Legion held its poppy campaign, Jones raised almost equal to what was raised by the rest of the members.
“He had so many contacts that there was a line-up wanting to buy poppies from him,” Belsey recalled. “The rest of us could be out there and boxes all over the place and Lloyd would bring in just as much.”
Jones represented the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders at the 50th anniversary of D-Day with Kathleen by his side in what the family described as “a trip of a lifetime.”
In 2010, he was selected to carry the Olympic Torch through Tsawwassen and despite it being against the rules, insisted on wearing a poppy on his jacket.
In 2012, he received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal and in 2018, was presented with the Sovereign Medal of Volunteerism as well, later that year, received a Quilt of Valour.
Then in late 2018, Jones was named Delta’s Citizen of the Year, receiving the honour in front of a standing ovation at the 67th annual Hats Off to Excellence gala.
Jones was his usual witty and humble self as he accepted the honour.
“I thought they were going to ask me to sing tonight,” Jones said. “I was singing at a function just the other today. When I started to sing my favourite song, Are You Lonesome Tonight, several ladies in the audience started taking off their clothes and I said my name is Lloyd Jones, not Tom Jones.
“I really, really appreciate being here. I always take the attitude when I go visit people in the hospital, which I do quite frequently, just to go up to someone and say you look pretty. Just to get a smile. That’s all you need.”
Jones then broke out into song to the delight of the crowd.
“This award means that people are thankful for what I do. I don’t go around making a big deal of things. I just do what I think is right. I love helping people my whole life,” he told the Optimist later that night.
Jones leaves behind his wife Kathleen of 72 years, children Owen (Wendy), Brenda (Don), D’Arcy (Linda), Peggy (Larry), Neil (Marlene), Julie (Don), Todd (Connie), 15 grandchildren and 21 great grandchildren.
A celebration of life, open to the public, will be held on Sept. 1 from 2 to 5 p.m. at Tsawwassen Springs. The celebration will include a military service, presentations from Legion Command and the Delta Police Pipe Band.