Robert J. ‘Bob’ Jones, 88, helicopter pilot who served two tours in Vietnam

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Robert J. 'Bob' Jones
Robert J. ‘Bob’ Jones

WILMINGTON — Robert J. ‘Bob’ Jones, 88, died peacefully in Wilmington, N.C., on Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2017.

Bob is survived by his beloved wife, Yvonne E. Jones of Wilmington, N.C.; sister, Elizabeth Barnett of Port Jefferson, N.Y.; brother-in-law, Jack Ellis (Diane) of Huntsville, Ala.; sister-in-law, Linda (Mel) Hyder of Tulsa, Okla.; sons, David Jones of Ontario, Canada, Robert-Scott Jones and Charles Jones of Wilmington, N.C.; grandsons, Zachary Jones and Jacob Jones of Toronto, Canada, and Kenzo Batista Jones of Frutal, Brazil; many beloved nieces and nephews; and his faithful companion, ‘Grey Cat.’

Bob was preceded in death by his sister, Edna Caldwell, and her husband, Singer Caldwell; older brother, Sylvester (Sonny) Jones; and brother-in-law, Darrel Ellis (Margie) of Houston, Texas.

Bob was born on July 19, 1928, in Glen Cove, N.Y., to the late Charles and Josephine Jones. A graduate of Mineola High School, N.Y., Bob attended Hofstra University and Rutgers University, and was a graduate of Hampton Institute and the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College (CGSC).

Bob enlisted the U.S. Army in 1951 and served 22 years, retiring as lieutenant colonel in 1973. He rose to the rank of first sergeant in the Army Signal Corps, and served with distinction as a commissioned officer commanding units with the Field Artillery and Army Aviation. Bob served two tours of combat duty in Vietnam as a helicopter pilot with the 1st Air Cavalry Division’s aerial rocket artillery.

Following his military retirement, Bob served as a senior Army instructor (JROTC) in Brunswick County, N.C., from 1973 to 1977; and Pender County, N.C. from 1977 to 1997.

Bob was a Rotarian in Burgaw, N.C., serving as club president and Paul Harris Fellow, and a member of the SENCLAND chapter of the Military Officers Association (MOAA), serving as chapter president and secretary. Bob was conferred the Order of the Long Leaf Pine in 2013 in honor of his active civic life and contributions. Bob was a member of St. Matthew’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, Wilmington.

The family would like to thank the many caregivers over the years for their patience and dedication while Bob was in the hospital, and later in hospice, particularly his physicians Dr. Jonathan Hines and Dr. Mary Rudyk, and the Rev. Dr. Samuel Zumwalt of St. Matthew’s Evangelical Church.

A celebration of life service will be held at 11:11 a.m., March 11, at St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church, Wilmington. Casual attire is suggested.

In lieu of flowers, the family kindly requests donations be made to St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church, Building Fund, 612 South College Road, Wilmington, NC 28403; or to the SENCLAND MOAA JROTC Scholarship Fund, P.O. Box 382, Wrightsville Beach, NC 28480.