Margaret Ann Jones was a dazzling, energetic, and radiant woman with a personal relationship with Christ, loving Him with all her heart and soul, and abiding by His word she cared for others the way He does.
She was the soul mate of her beloved husband, Robert “Bob” Jones for 61 years. Bob conferred with Margaret and relied on her decisions about Triple J. She was the rock of the family, keeping family traditions unscathed. Margaret could animate the room just by her presence. She loved the color yellow for hope and happiness.
Margaret was always willing to help out – no matter what the problem was. She was quick to fill the needs of others before hers. She was an astonishing lady with an elegance about her.
John and I felt privileged attending Margaret’s Celebration of Life service. I would like to bring to light Margaret’s devotion as a mother of three children: Julie, Jeff and Jay; and her dedication as grandmother, “Mema”, to 11 grandchildren.
Julie, Jeff and Jay shared inspirational stories about their Mom and how she prepared them for life. Foremost in their upbringing was the significance of Christ’s presence in their lives, and the expression of that presence not only in words but in their behavior and actions as well. Their mom stressed the meaning of family and the importance of treating others with dignity and respect. She also taught them practical life skills that would carry them through their adult lives.
Julie expressed their care-free days. During school days, they did homework, school projects and participated in extracurricular activities like sports. On Saturdays, there were household chores – cleaning bathrooms, changing bed sheets, throwing trash or cutting the grass. After completing their chores, they got treats. They would go to the beach, learn how to swim, play in the sand and have cheeseburgers and fries at USO beach.
Julie also shared a story about her mother. Mom had invited some kids to go to the beach with them. When it was time to go home, everyone got into the vehicle and mom drove away. When they were half way home, Mom noticed that Jeff was missing. She was mortified and sped back up to the beach. Found little Jeff waiting up with lifeguard Ben. She had been worried that something happened to Jeff and a natural inclination would have been to yell or ask why he hadn’t listened. Not her mom. Margaret spoke to Jeff calmly, expressing her fear for his safety and her relief that he was OK. Like most other things she did, she handled the situation with grace, Julie said.
Margaret also made clear to her children the essence of work and consequences. One day, Jeff told his mom he “needed” a skateboard. She explained the meaning of need and want. She didn’t stop at that –she gave Jeff a list of things to do. If Jeff wanted to buy a skateboard, he needed to complete the list of tasks written on the paper. Jeff completed the chores and got his reward.
Another time, Jeff asked mom, “Why don’t we hire a housekeeper?” His mom replied with pride, “Why should I hire when I have three kids to do the chores. It is free.” In retrospect, he realized that his mom was preparing them for living independently.
Jay shared the best decision of his life was to fly to North Carolina and be at his mom’s bedside. Although Margaret was weak, she managed to give Jay a smile and ask how his wife was. And it was clear that others were drawn to her. Her primary physician had driven from another state to visit with her. As he was leaving and saying goodbye, Margaret smiled. Then as he was walking out, Margaret said, “Thank you Dr. Pat.” Dr. Pat walked back and gave her a hug.
When Jeff arrived, Margaret was alert and awake. Jeff said, “I love you mom.” Thanked her for being a loving mom and loving Mema. Jeff felt blessed that he was able to convey his affection before Margaret lost consciousness.
During this time, Bob Jones together with his children held hands together in prayer.
Margaret had built and maintained an extraordinary bond with her grandchildren. Jacob, Jessica and Kai shared their love, gratitude and lessons learned from their precious “Mema”. She was an incredible woman, with humor, wit and amazing grace, they said. She showed them how to be caring, affectionate, forgiving, how to be a good listener and how to be compassionate towards others especially those in need.
I know there are many who knew her who would agree with the words her grandchildren shared.
Margaret Ann Jones, “Mema”, was a woman who lived a life of service, always reaching out to make the world a better place. What an outstanding woman!
“To be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord” 2 Cor 5:8
Marie Virata Halloran is a registered nurse and executive director for Rainbows for All Children Guam/LifeWorks Guam.