Al Jones devoted his life to preserving the history of Lone Butte.
The president of the Lone Butte Historical Association (LBHA) and 100 Mile Free Press correspondent was passionate about the task, his wife Gayle said, working with a single-minded determination and commitment to complete projects big and small to preserve the history of his beloved community.
Jones died Jan. 14 following a lengthy battle with cancer. He was 69.
Gayle, his wife of 38 years, described Jones as a deep thinker with a wide range of interests. He moved to the Cariboo in 1980 to build log homes, meeting Gayle in 1981 when he was her instructor at Jones’ Martial Arts School of Self Defence. The two hit it off, getting married two years later on his birthday on June 24.
“He was a gentleman, I would say,” said Gayle, a lifelong resident of the South Cariboo. “He asked me out first and our first date was a lovely dinner at the old 108 golf course, that building that burnt down. Our second date was at his house and he was an excellent cook. I guess he stole my heart right about then.”
Although a devoted husband, loving father and passionate martial artist, Jones was a historian first and foremost, Gayle said. Before coming to the Cariboo, he graduated from the University of Victoria with a degree in history which would serve him well in his later role as president of the LBHA. Through hard work and his Lower Mainland contacts alone, Gayle said Jones secured many grants to fund their various projects with “vim and vigour.”
READ MORE: Preserving the history of Lone Butte
His crowning achievement was the creation of a proper museum for the LBHA with the Caboose Museum Legacy Project. Installed in the caboose that was moved to the Lone Butte’s Water Tower Park in 2016, this museum consists of a mix of pictures and interviews gathered and curated by Jones that tells the history of the Lone Butte.
Jones would also chronicle and share the current story of Lone Butte as the local correspondent for the 100 Mile Free Press.
Gayle said he “very much enjoyed” writing those articles even if he wasn’t able to write many of them in 2020 due to COVID-19.
“He could always write something about the Lone Butte Historical Association which was his passion. It was a place he could write about what we were doing,” Gayle said.
Jones’ passion for history even inspired one of his daughters, Elisha Leclair, to do a deep dive into their own family history, Gayle said. This linked Jones to the King of Scots, Robert the Bruce, which Gayle said amazed him, in his own quiet way.
Jones is survived by Gayle, two daughters Jessica and Elisha and three grandchildren Caleb, Liam and Abigail as well as other family members. Gayle said Jones will be dearly missed by the family and in the community.
A public memorial will be held for him as soon as COVID-19 restrictions relax.