Celebrating the life of Wendell William "Bud" Jones
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Major Wendell William “Bud” Jones, USMC, ret., 84, of Fayetteville, Georgia began his greatest flight home to the Lord on January 19, 2017.
Bud was born on February 2, 1932 in Canton, Ohio to Wendell and Catherine Jones. After a year of college, he “joined the Marines”. Basic training was at Parris Island but soon Bud had an opportunity to enter flight school. His test grades were very high and he had the best “eye/hand coordination” in his class – a must for good pilots. He became a commissioned officer in 1953 and received his wings in March 1955.
As a Marine fighter pilot, Bud flew the C-45, F6F Hellcat, PBY2, SNJ Texan, F9F, FJ4 Fury – his favorite, TV-2 Shooting Star, F-8 Crusader and T-28. He was based at Pensacola, Coronado Beach and Kingsville, Texas, to name a few. He trained off the USS Lexington and made 49 catapult launches off the USS Bennington.
As a Captain for Eastern Airlines for 32 years, Bud flew the 727, DC-9, L-1011 and 757 among others. He was based in Chicago, Washington D.C., Atlanta and at the Miami Headquarters. Bud was a pilot’s pilot. He grew up with the airlines. Once, over the Gulf of Mexico, he had a fire in the cockpit. With nowhere to land, he managed to put out the fire and continue on to Mexico and no passengers were aware of any problems. Flying was the greatest job he always loved.
In 1971, Bud moved his family to Peachtree City, Georgia. PTC was a new, young city with not much money so Bud joined the “all volunteer” fire department. If there was a fire, calls would be made by sister Leech and everyone would race to the fire under volunteer captain, brother Leech. Bud soon had to resign due to a demanding flight schedule. At that time, there was only one paid Police Captain and one paid Deputy – the total police force of PTC. In 1973/74, Bud was elected to the Peachtree City city council to serve in 1975 and 1976. In 1976 Bud became Mayor Pro Tem of PTC under Mayor Howard Morgan.
With Eastern, Bud flew across the U.S., Canada, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Mexico and South America. In Canada, he saw the aurora borealis. He opened new routes for Eastern to many major cities, taking the first flight in. He flew members of the Kennedy family but, his favorite person was “Miss Lillian”, President Carter’s mother. She was gracious, unassuming and a pleasure to be with. After Eastern closed in 1991, Bud flew for NASA and did some test flights for Bill Gates. He also did some contract flying across Africa.
In retirement, Bud moved to Savannah and won tennis tournaments with good friend and doubles partner, Ned Smith. As member of a foursome, he won golf tournaments. Twice he had a “hole in one” – 22 years apart. Bud also volunteered for the Savannah Department of Family and Children Services on a child advocacy panel.
Moving back to Fayette County with his wife, Jean, Bud volunteered at Fayette Senior Services by delivering “Meals on Wheels” originally out of the old building behind Melear’s on GA 85 and then to the current building at the courthouse complex. He volunteered in the Food Pantry at St. Gabriel and also did odd jobs at the church.
Bud’s greatest devotion was to his wife, Jean, and to his sons and family. Bud is survived by his beloved wife of 18 years, Jean, his sons – Mark (Terri) Jones, Brad (Barb) Jones, and Brian Jones; his grandchildren – Nicki (Shane) Gillispie, Jacki (Jason) Woodward, Mandi (Erik) Willenzheimer, Michael Jones, Taelor Jones and Kilea Jones; his great-grandchildren – Gavin Gillispie, Averi Gillispie, Jaxon Woodward and Jayci Woodward and also by Bud’s previous wife, Mary Jane.
Funeral Mass at St. Gabriel Catholic Church, 152 Antioch Rd., Fayetteville, with Father Richard Vu, celebrant, on Wednesday, January 25 at 11:00 am with a reception to follow in the parish hall.
A Funeral Mass will be held at St. Gabriel Catholic Church, 152 Antioch Rd., Fayetteville, with Father Richard Vu, celebrant, on Wednesday, January 25, 2017 at 11:00 AM with a reception to follow in the parish hall. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to St. Jude Children's Hospital, https://www.stjude.org/, Fayette County Animal Shelter at 1262 Highway 74 South in Peachtree City, http://www.fayettecountyga.gov/animal_control/, or St. Gabriel Catholic Church Building Fund, at 152 Antioch Rd., Fayetteville, GA 30215, www.stgabrielga.com/
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152 Antioch Road
Fayetteville, Ga 30215