Obituary: Dennis Gene Jones

Dennis Gene Jones, 68, was called home on August 9, 2019, after a recent diagnosis of metastatic lung cancer.  He was born in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, on January 17, 1951, to Ralph W. Jones and Glenna G. Robinson Jones. Dennis was their first born and only son.  He had severe asthma as a young child and Dr. Nokamora recommended moving to a dryer climate, so when Dennis was 5 years old his family packed up and ventured to Riverton, Wyoming. Ralph worked in the Uranium Mine at Gas Hills and the family also lived there for a short while.  Dennis’ family settled in Shoshoni in 1958, and he attended first through 7th grade there.  He was an avid reader from a very young age and won all the bookworm prizes in his class.  He wrestled while in 7th grade.  Dennis’ parents divorced in 1963, and he spent his 8th grade year with his maternal grandparents in Northome, Minnesota.  His mother and sisters moved to Lander, Wyoming, and he joined them again for his Freshman year.  He graduated from Lander Valley Vocational High School in 1969.  He was a member of the Key Club and Thespian Club.  He loved acting and was in school plays.  He also acted at the Lander Little Theater.

After graduating Dennis and a couple of his friends decided they needed an adventure, so they hopped a train.  They ended up in Mexico City facing jail, but luckily their families were able to scrape up money to send and rescue them!!

Dennis loved riding motorcycles and never lost that love even though he was in an accident at age 19, sustaining a compound leg fracture.  He was more concerned about his cycle than himself!  He endured 21 surgeries, 7 years on crutches, and a lifetime of leg problems.  However, he continued to ride his big Kawasaki for much of his adult life.

He received a degree in psychology at the University of Wyoming.  He held various jobs from glass glazing to truck driving and construction.  He worked at the Wyoming State Penitentiary for 25 years until health issues forced retirement.

Dennis married Holly when he was 32 years old, but she became ill shortly after their marriage and passed away just a few years later.  He was a faithful husband and nurse to her until her death.  He met his best friend, Elaine, and her children in 1995.  They were his pride and joy for the rest of his life and have been forever by his side.

Dennis was preceded in death by his maternal grandparents, Eugene and Vada Robinson, and his paternal grandparents, Charles and Hilda Jones; mother – Glenna G. Caldwell in 2005; and his younger sister – Candice Jones Griswold in 1975.  He is survived by his father and stepmother – Ralph and Yvonne Jones of Riverton, Wyoming; Sister – Colleen Jones Mooney (Craig) of Rathdrum, Idaho; Sister – Julie Jones Shandera (Gary) of Pine Bluffs, Wyoming; Half- brother – Kevin Jones (Jill) of Casper, Wyoming; half-brother – Charles Jones (Harold) of Aurora, Colorado; maternal aunt – Karen Schrader of Birchdale, Minnesota, and paternal aunt – Shirley Jones Hart of Duluth, Minnesota. He is also survived by several nieces and nephews and his best friend, Elaine McDonald, her children,Joshua McDonald (Shiloh), Jacob McDonald (Jacqueline), Megan Sheets(Leonard),  Leah Ford (Wes) and grandchildren Mariah, Mariana, Jazlynn, & Adilae. He took a part of us with him and we will miss his sense of humor, wit, compassion, and love.

Services will be held at the Rawlins Cooperative Parish, 800 23rd Street, on Saturday August 24th at 1pm. A small reception will follow.

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