Willa Jones passed away late Monday night after a valiant fight with lung cancer. She was born in Rector, Arkansas to Ernest and Gladys Gatewood. She graduated from Rector High School in 1941 and later moved to Kennett, Missouri where she met W. S. Jones, Jr. On June 7, 1947 Bill and Willa were wed; they lived a wonderful married life together on Clipper Street, building a new house there in the late fifties.
Willa was a shining light and driving force -- an icon of a self-assured and strong Southern woman. She proudly wore her Arkansas and Missouri roots. She loved the house that she and Bill built; she kept the yard and flowerbeds in first-rate condition.
Willa loved bridge. She was a lifelong player who enjoyed sharing her love of the game by teaching generations to understand and love the game as well.
She was an active member of the First United Methodist Church, having served on the board. Willa was an esteemed member of PEO Chapter HU, serving in a leadership capacity for many years.
She was self-taught in many arts and crafts, achieving extraordinary levels of expertise. Her needlework was exceptional. Her hand-made quilts won awards. She excelled in needlepoint, petit point, smocking, knitting and embroidery. She made silk flowers, Christmas tree ornaments, dollhouses and furnishings - all of professional quality and workmanship. She collected dolls and made them as well. She especially enjoyed sewing christening dresses for her baby dolls.
The Dunklin County Museum was a venture dear to her heart. She served as Treasurer until she became too ill to continue serving.
Willa Jones never saw a stranger; she enjoyed conversations with any and all she met. She had a very quick mind, a strong opinion on most subjects and a willingness to express her views on the topic at hand.
She was a proud and protective wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother.
Willa Jones was truly one of a kind, a true friend and will be missed. Life will be less exciting and colorful without her.
Willa Dean Jones is survived by her sons, W. S. Jones III (Sid) and his wife Michele, Colonel W. R. Jones (Rusty) and his wife Carol of South Riding, Virginia; two grandsons W. S. Jones IV (BJ) of Northridge, California, and Jefferey Todd Jones and his wife Kathryn Coughlin Jones of Leesburg, Virginia; and two great grandchildren Carson Alexander Jones and Caroline Elizabeth Jones. She also leaves behind a dear friend and virtual sister, Wanda McAnally.
Visitation will be from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. today, Wednesday, June 30 at the McDaniel Funeral Home in Kennett.
Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday, July 1, at the McDaniel Funeral Home Chapel with the Rev. Richard Combs, Rev. Paul Lanning and James Powell oficiating.
Burial will follow at the Oak Ridge Cemetery in Kennett.
Pallbearers are Tommy Allgood, Charles Brown, Charlie Brown, Johnny Dalton, Lanny Geary and Stephen Sokoloff.
Honorary pallbearers are Wanda McAnally, Sandra Brown, John Hall Dalton, Carolyn Hilburn, Buzz Howard, Olene Lemonds, Jane Rogers, Bobby Ross, Janet Scherer, Harold Treasure and Pat Stapleton.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations In Memory of Willa Jones be made to the Dunklin County Museum, 122 College Street, Kennett, Mo. 63857.