A life remembered

Jones always had kind words

Jones always had kind words

February 06, 2005|by MARLO BARNHART

Editor's note: Each Sunday, The Herald-Mail will run "A Life Remembered." The story will take a look back - through the eyes of family, friends, co-workers and others - at a member of the community who died recently. Today's "A Life Remembered" is about Cyrus Francis Jones, who died Jan. 27 at the age of 88. His obituary appeared in the Jan. 31 editions of The Morning Herald and The Daily Mail.

When they were youngsters growing up in Baltimore, Kenneth Jones said that his older brother, Cyrus, became fascinated with amateur ham radio operation and set up a station in their home.

"One day, I came home to find that lightning had struck the antenna on our roof and set the house on fire," Kenneth recalled.

That incident failed to discourage Cyrus from what would become a lifelong avocation. And throughout his 88 years, he would show equal loyalty to all of the activities and the people in his life.


Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., Cyrus was raised in Baltimore, graduating from the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy in 1939.

Kenneth, now a minister who lives in Gaithersburg, Md., with his wife, Larocca, said he used to help Cyrus with his studies when he was training to be a pharmacist.

"I would hold leaves in my hands and he would identify them by smelling or tasting them," Kenneth said. "Now, all pharmacists do is count pills."

Another strong memory of his brother was Cyrus' trait of never having a nasty word to say about anyone.

"And he never turned anyone down when they asked for his help," Kenneth said.

During World War II, Cyrus served with the U.S. Army Air Corps. Because of his knowledge of ham radio and electronics, he was assigned to teach radar and communications to pilots and navigators, said Joanne Jones, his wife of 37 years.

His military service completed, Cy moved to Hagerstown, where he worked for a time as a pharmacist at Washington County Hospital, Joanne said. Later, he was employed at Eakles Drug Store on Washington Avenue before buying Schindel's Pharmacy in 1968, one year after he and Joanne were married.

"When we bought Schindel's, we decided to close up at 7 p.m., and then we started closing at 6 p.m.," Joanne said. "We had time to do things then."

It was around that time that Joanne, who had been active in the Potomac Playmakers for some time, decided that two performers in the family were better than one.

"I pulled him right into it," she said.

Over the years, Joanne and Cyrus performed in numerous Potomac Playmakers productions, many together. In 1979, the couple was cast in "Kiss Me Kate," a musical based on Shakespeare's "Taming of the Shrew."

"I was Kate, the star of the show," Joanne said, showing off newspaper clippings of the performance. Cyrus took on two parts in the play-within-a-play presentation.

"Look at these pictures of Cy - he had great legs," Joanne said.

Once his Playmaker performance days were over, Cy and Joanne both were active behind the scenes, often taking ticket orders in their home, she said.

Cy also was a founding member and lifetime member of the Antietam Radio Relay Association with the radio call numbers W3EHA. He spent a fair amount of time involved in the hobby that he had enjoyed since childhood.

Cyrus Francis Jones died Jan. 27 at the age of 88. For a number of years, he had been struggling with Alzheimer's disease, which first showed up about seven years ago, his wife said.

"I was holding Cy's hand," Joanne said. "He died quietly while I was with him."

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