Jones brought British charm to Haines
December 6, 2018
Maisie Jones, 95, died peacefully at Haines Assisted Living early Sunday morning. The English born World War II veteran that friend Lisa Swartz described as "classy, intelligent, with a great sense of humor, and a really kind heart," was buried Wednesday following an Episcopal service at Jones Point Cemetery next to her "Sweet Davy," as she called husband David Jones, an American whom she married during the war.
Her World War II experience shaped her outlook on life, friend Tim Shields said. "One thing I loved about Maisie...was her 'stiff upper lip' attitude that was classic British." In 2012 she told an interviewer about the bombing of Britain: "I heard sizzling as we were running. An incendiary bomb had dropped on the clothesline." Of her husband to be, she said that when he proposed on their first walk, "I kind of laughed because I was engaged to somebody else."
Jones was in the Emblem Club, a founding member of the Haines Arts Council, a member of the Pioneers of Alaska, acted in and enjoyed shows produced by Lynn Canal Community Players, and volunteered for Hospice of Haines, the museum and the library.
"One of Maisie's special qualities was that her many friendships included people all across the community," Mayor Jan Hill said. When KHNS signed on the air for the first time in 1980, Jones was at the microphone, and played Pachelbel's Canon.
Contractor George Campbell recalled a childhood in the orbit of his chosen "Aunt Maisie" at the theater, sledding, camping, dinners, painting classes and ice-skating. He said he gave her her first snow machine ride when he was in high school, "which may have been her only one," and that her Boston cream pie "was to die for."
She was a life-long Anglican, although she attended the Presbyterian Church before helping to establish St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church, which she named, and she was in the Episcopal Society of St. Simeon and St. Anna of Alaska, advisors to the bishop.
Maisie Jones was born Oct. 28, 1923, at home in the countryside near the ancient market town of Boston in Lincolnshire, the youngest of six surviving children of Henry and Gertrude Hames. She recalled wounded World War I soldiers begging at their farm. "We'd give them cheese sandwiches. So did everyone, and Mother said, 'The poor fellows, they must be getting so tired of cheese.'"
She joined the Women's Auxiliary Air Force of the Royal Air Force on her 18th birthday, and was assigned to a base in Norfolk, where she drove trucks and managed a storehouse and the tool shop. David Jones, an American communications expert arrived in 1942. They were married in April 1943, and spent a year at an air field in Northern Ireland before he joined the United States Navy. He was stationed in Seattle and they remained there after the war. She became a US citizen in 1952. He worked for radar and radio companies and traveled frequently, and Maisie joined him. In 1971 David took a permanent position with RCA in Haines. When he suffered a debilitating stroke in 1972 and could no longer work, Maisie opened Haines Real Estate. She retired in 1987. In an obituary Jones penned for herself, she wrote (using the third person) "She had always felt incredulity at the generosity and helpfulness of so many friends in Haines." She noted that she was most grateful for the assistance David received. He died in 1993 shortly after their 50th wedding anniversary.
Jones loved her cats, Shakespeare, the King James Bible, reading The Guardian, classical music, painting, cooking, traveling, and watching British television and films.
She loved the opera La Boheme, and had a free-thinking bohemian streak, posing for painters and photographers in her younger years. Lenora Bell, the pen name for best-selling romance novelist and former resident Nori Nash, dedicated one of her novels to her.
Was there a secret to Jones' good humor and longevity? "Go with the flow: I never made plans. I invested my time and attention in whatever was happening at the moment," she once said.
Maisie Jones leaves numerous nieces and nephews in Seattle and in the UK.
Donations in her memory may be made to Hospice of Haines PO Box 1034 Haines AK 99827.