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Jones celebrate milestone

Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune

Bill and Bea Jones are celebrating their 75th wedding anniversary.


Keeping up with the Joneses is an idiom meaning comparison to one’s neighbor as far as the accumulation of material things. It originally came from a comic strip of the same name published 1913 to 1938, according to Google.

Bill and Bea Jones have travelled a remarkable path anyone would envy. They will celebrate their 75th wedding anniversary today, Dec.23. Considered the Diamond Anniversary, it is a time for rejoicing and celebrating the couple for their long marriage.

Wed at 18, Bill Jones took Beatrice Mitchel before a Justice of the Peace in Harrisburg, Arkansas on Dec. 23, 1945.

At age 16, Bill tried to enlist in the US Navy to serve in World War II. However, after 58 days of basic training, the Navy discovered his true age and dismissed him. Just two years later the young couple were wed and, in February of 1946, they relocated to Salinas.

“The Lord blessed us with two sons,” said Bill.

They named their boys Stephen and Phillip.

In 1949, Bill embarked on a 39-year career in the propane business, hiring on with Van Horn Butane, which is now Suburban Propane. At the time he retired as regional manager, his 15-man territory stretched from central Porterville to Sonoma.

After their sons were in school, Bea worked a variety of jobs including women’s wear at J.C. Penny and providing secretarial services for the Salinas, Auburn and Fresno unified school districts. She also worked for a time at the now defunct Emporium Stores. She retired in 1989 as a real estate broker for Nancy Nelson Realty in Clovis.

They are very proud of their family.

Both of their sons, and one grandson, followed in Bill’s footsteps in the propane business.

Tragedy struck the family when, at age 41, Steve had a massive heart attack and died. He had worked for 23 years as area manager for a propane company in Auberry. His wife Kathy Jones still lives there, said Bill.

Phillip retired as regional manager for a propane business after 43 years.

Their granddaughter, Krista, runs a licensed day-care in Chowchilla. She and husband Jeff have two sons, Steven, 16 and Bryden 12.

Their granddaughter Samantha is the manager of the Hallmark Gold Store in River Park. She has a daughter, Tallulah, age 14.

Their grandson Nick is a heavy equipment operator and mechanic. He and his wife Megan, a nurse, also live in Auberry. Their grandson Ben works for Sierra Propane. He and his wife Nicole and their two children Kennedy, 4 and Benton, 3, live in Madera.

“We are so blessed our family lives in the local area,” said Bill.

The couple have an active social life through their church.

“In 1950, Bea and I gave our hearts to the Lord,” he said.

Until Feb. 7 when the pandemic hit, they served as greeters and held other positions in the ministries at the Madera Baptist Church on Golden State Boulevard near Madera Community Hospital.

“We are praying 2021 will be a much better year and we can be with our families again,” said Bill. “We want to return to worship and fellowship with our church family and friends.”

“God has given us a beautiful long life together and we give him thanks,” Bill said.



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