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Gary Joseph Jones

Obituary for Gary Joseph Jones

March 2, 1946 - May 5, 2020
Parma Heights, Ohio | Age 74

Beloved Husband, Brother, and Uncle

Obituary

Gary Joseph Jones, age 74, once-husband & constant of Jeanne DeCrignis, friend of Jenna DeCrignis and many others; brother of Jeff Jones (Joyce) of Colorado Springs, Colorado and uncle of Ginger (Phil) Granati in Long Beach, CA, and Laura (Joshua) Jeffords and great-uncle to their children Kaleb and Addison. Cousin to Beth (Kenny) Morphew, Clarksville, TN. Preceded in death by parents Donald C. Jones and Gloria (Pera) Jones and infant brother Stanley Spencer Jones, of Clarksville, TN. Gary was born in Bonn Terre, Missouri, in 1946. As a child with a father in the military, the family moved frequently during Gary's school years. His years at Keifer Junior High in Springfield, OH, were his most academically successful. Gary went to West Point High in Georgia, playing on the football team and he was awarded All-State Honorable Mention twice. He won second place in All-State for elocution and went on to major in speech communication and theatre at the University of Georgia. There, he was directed by Leighton M. Ballew in Miller's On the Bridge,and he played Chuckles the Chipmunk in 1000 Clowns at the Town and Gown Theatre. The show was held over due to its success.

After graduating from college, Gary served in the Army and was stationed in Germany for a year. He married his first wife, Dolores, before shipping out. While in the army, he received an important military acting award for playing the part of Stanley in Streetcar Named Desire. When he came back to the US after his discharge, Gary received his Master of Fine Arts in Speech Communications and Theatre from Western KY University. His dissertation was on the theatrical experiences of Charles Laughton. He and Dolores divorced in 1973. Gary went on to teach high school English and speech in Henry County High School in Tennessee for 17 years, and he wrote a number of articles and interviews with writers like Wendell Barry which were published in newspapers and magazines. In 1990, he married Teddi and moved to Cleveland.

Gary was hired as an adjunct professor at Cuyahoga Community College's Western Campus, and he taught some speech classes but mostly English composition there until 2016. For many semesters, he also taught at Remington College and the Academy of Court Reporting,where he was the recipient of an excellence in teaching award. He and Teddi ended up divorcing in 1999. He married Jeanne in 2004. He was very versatile, enjoying sports (Stan Musial, Dante Lavelli, Mount Union football) classic films (On the Waterfront, Vertigo, Phantom Lady) actors (Marlon Brando, Spencer Tracy, Sir Alec Guinness), participating in and winning trivia contests (like the Berea Grindstone Festival seven years running) and playing with his dog, Scout. He spent decades in regional and local theatre, playing a variety of roles from Big Daddy in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof to Polonius in Bad Epitath Theatre's version of Hamlet to Willie Loman in Death of a Salesman; he always said his best night in the theatre was playing the part of Jerry in an open-air production of Albee's Zoo Story. He was also the successful director of about 80 productions.

After retiring from Tri-C, Gary also retired from the theatre. Although he suffered from multiple health issues,he never worried about anything; everything was always OK. He answered the phone by saying, "Is this someone with good news or money?" and he always hung up with, "Dig you later." He was known for his generosity, his reliability, his vast sports knowledge, his love of B-movies, his impressive collection of books, his favorite Disney film, Pinocchio. He had the ability to talk to anybody he met about sports and film, and he was always willing to share a love for life and learning.

The space where he used to beam seems so empty.

A memorial gathering will be held to celebrate Gary's life at a later date.

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