Charles Edward Jones, BHS 1941
Charlie Jones, 79, of Ventura passed away on Tuesday, June 4, 2002, after a lengthy illness. Charlie was a retired school administrator and teacher, having worked in Ventura County education, starting in 1948. He was best known for his 26 years of distinguished service as both principal and school superintendent of Somis Union School District. He began his career as a teacher at Pleasant Valley School in Camarillo. He then moved to Ventura High School, where he taught math and science and coached basketball. During his career, Charlie was also very involved in the community as a trustee with the Pleasant Valley Parks and Recreation Department, as the 1967 chairman of the Easter Seals Society of VenturaCounty and as a member of Camarillo Noontime Rotary Club.
He was instrumental in the development of the annual Hap Rapp Rotary Track Meet for the boys and girls and managed it for many years. In 1997, he was named a Don by the Pleasant Valley Historical Society for his contributions to the community.
Born in Los Angeles in 1923, Charlie graduated from Burbank High School . He received his bachelor's degree from UCSB and his master's degree from USC. He was an outstanding basketball player, receiving awards for his skill as a member of the UCSB squad and later as a member of the pre-NBA Santa Maria Dukes of the Industrial League. After serving as an ensign in the U.S. Navy during World War II, he called Ventura and Camarillo Home for over 50 years.
Charles Jones is survived by his wife of 52 years, Gloria; daughters, Melissa Giese and her husband, Mike of Winchester, Mass.; Marianne Propst and her husband, Bill of Palos Verdes Estates, Calif.; granddaughters, Alexandra and Caroline Giese; and grandsons, Charlie and Colin Propst.
A memorial service will be held at 4 p.m. Tuesday, June 11, at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 3290 Loma Vista Road, Ventura. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial contributions be made to the A.L.S. Association of Greater Los Angeles, P.O. Box 565, Agoura Hills, CA 91376. Assisting the family with arrangements is Pierce Bros. Griffin Mortuary, 1075 E. Daily Drive, Camarillo, (805) 482-2711.
Somis school superintendent dies - Charles Jones oversaw Somis Union school district for 26 years
Ventura County Star (CA) - Saturday, June 8, 2002
Author: John Mitchell firstname.lastname@example.org
Author: John Mitchell email@example.com
In 1937, Charlie Jones was so good academically that he was able to complete junior high school a half year sooner than the rest of his class, and he planned to enter Burbank High School as a freshman in January 1938.
But Jones also was an outstanding basketball player, something the Burbank coach knew. "So this coach went to Charlie and asked him if he wanted to play in the Christmas tournament," said Harry Lewis, Jones' classmate and teammate at Burbank High. "Charlie said OK, and he played in the tournament," Lewis said Friday from his home in Mission Viejo. "He not only played, he made the all-tournament team. That coach, I remember he got sick worrying that somebody might find out Charlie wasn't even in high school. "But that's how good he was. We'd go two-on-two with other guys all the time and make enough money to go to the Palladium (in Hollywood) on Saturdays." Lewis paused and laughed at the memory. "You know, he was either the best or one of the best basketball players in the state.
"On top of all this, Charlie was such a modest person. He was 6 feet 2 inches, blond, blue-eyed, as handsome as can be, all the girls swooning over him. I remember walking home one day and he was worried, asking me, 'Who am I going to get to go with me to the dance?' I would have had trouble coming up with two girls who wouldn't go with him. I mean, he was the student body president!"
This was the same Charles Jones who eventually would become the superintendent of the Somis Union School District in 1954. And, since the district's office was located in its only school, Somis Elementary School, he also wore the principal's hat. He was in that job for 26 years, during which he dealt with officials from the state and federal governments, the county schools office, his own school board and the staff of the school. He also had the unique experience of knowing the students in his school much better than the superintendent of one of the larger districts could ever hope for.
In all that time, he drew admiration and respect from countless numbers of staff members, students and fellow educators. When some of them heard that he died Tuesday after many years of coping with primary lateral sclerosis, a progressive neuromuscular illness, they offered surprisingly similar tributes. "Charlie was the perfect guy to work for," said Gary Scofield of Oak View, who taught 20 years at the Somis school. "It was a good, close group, a great, small community. Every year we had a teachers/students basketball game, and we always had a great time." It was Jones who hired Scofield in the 1960s.
"I was in sales and desperately wanted to get into education," Scofield said. "I went to talk to Charlie, and he really encouraged me to go for my teaching credentials. He actually hired me when I just had a provisional credential. So I got to work with him. After 20 years, I left and taught at Summit Elementary School in the Ojai School District.I just like small, country schools."
Charles Edward Jones was born Jan. 24, 1923, in Los Angeles to Clarence and Jennie Jones. He, his brother, William, and sisters, Margaret and Marie, were raised in Burbank, which at the time had a population of about 16,000. He played most sports, whether in a sandlot or for an organized team, but his favorite throughout life was basketball.
Fred Linkenhelt of Ojai met Jones at Santa Barbara State College in 1941. "My first impression of him was that he was a kind of a quiet, gentlemanly type of guy, someone that drew people to him," Linkenhelt said. "We went out for freshman basketball, and we lived together with another guy, Skeeter Malcolm, a surfer and all-round athlete. He became a good friend of Charlie's."
After his sophomore year, Jones was drafted into the wartime Navy. He went to officer's school, received a commission and served in the United States for two years. Then it was back to college in Santa Barbara, where he met Gloria Byrnes. "I saw him in a library," Gloria Jones remembered. "I was sitting at a table with friends, and he kept staring at me. I didn't know what he was thinking about. I thought he was very tall and good looking. Finally, he got them to introduce us, and very soon after that he asked me out." They were married in 1945.
Richard Mahlke of Camarillo and John McGarry of Oxnard are retired educators who knew Jones when he led the Somis district. Both remember him as a quiet, gentlemanly person. "But you wanted to really listen when he had something to say, for it was always very, very good," said McGarry.
Charles Jones, who lived his last years in Ventura, is survived by his wife, two daughters and four grandchildren. A memorial service will begin at 4 p.m. Tuesday at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 3290 Loma Vista Road, Ventura.