Ralph Vineyard Jones

Ralph Vineyard Jones, born August 4, 1932, departed this life July 17, 2011. A Celebration of Ralph’s Life will be held on Wednesday July 20, 2011 at 6:00 p.m. in the Trinity Chapel of Smith Funeral & Cremation Service with Di Andreasen officiating. The family will receive friends from 5:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. Wednesday prior to the service. Ralph came from humble beginnings as the son of a sharecropper and one of twelve children. The Jones family farmed the Bacon property on the Little Tennessee river during the 30's, 40's and 50's. Ralph went to Vonore High School and graduated from the class of 1951. He was the FFA president and captain of the football team. After graduating Ralph left the farm for a 10 year career in the Air Force. He served during the Korean War years. Ralph was a radar observer/operator in Japan, Sacramento, Seattle, and Beaver Lodge Alberta. After his military career Ralph worked as an air traffic controller for 35 years before retiring in 1986. During his career as an air traffic controller Ralph worked in Casper, Wyoming, Charlotte, NC and finally in Knoxville, TN. Ralph had a life-long love of aviation that started in the Air Force. He inspired and guided both his son and grandson to become Air Force pilots. But most importantly Ralph guided and mentored his family with love and support to be successful. He was a shining beacon of success coming from such modest beginnings that always inspired those around him. Survivors include, wife of 55 years, Bobbie Lee Jones; daughter, Teresa Jarvis-McDonald; son, Lt Col Scott Jones, USAFR; grandchildren, Capt Jacob Robbins, USAFR; Jenny Li Jarvis, Gracie Jones and Lillie Jones. Memorial donations may be made to Volunteer State Veterans Honor Guard, PO Box 20041, Knoxville, TN 37940. Smith Funeral & Cremation Service, 983-1000, www.smithmortuary.com.