Michael Melson Jones was born in Oregon, Missouri, on December 16, 1939, to Eugene and Ruth (Louden) Jones. He died unexpectedly in his home in rural Osceola, Missouri, on the evening of May 9, 2016, after a short illness.
Mike spent his early years in Missouri, but then moved to North Carolina with his family. After graduating from high school, he joined the United States Air Force. In the Air Force, Mike was trained to speak Russian and he served for six years as a language specialist. He was stationed in Turkey and Alaska, where he was charged with listening to Soviet military communications during the height of the Cold War.
During his service, Mike married Jackie Jones Brinksneader. From that marriage, Mike had a daughter, Jenny (Jones) Fuhs.
Following his discharge from the Air Force, Mike attended the University of North Carolina, where he studied art. After graduating, Mike got a job as an editorial cartoonist, which was the beginning of a long and successful career in journalism. He eventually settled in Evansville, Indiana, where he served as the managing editor of the Evansville Courier.
In Evansville, Mike met and married his wife Susan. They had two children, Josh and Ethan. In 1985, the family moved to Osceola, Missouri.
Mike continued his journalism career in Osceola, where he operated his own newspaper, the Independent. He went on to work for several other newspapers, including papers in Kansas City and Gallup, New Mexico. Following his retirement from journalism, he and Susan started and operated a cut flower farm, Wild Goose Gardens, in Osceola.
Mike was a man of many talents and interests. He enjoyed drawing, reading, foreign languages, politics, shooting and amateur ham radio operation, but his great passion was music. He sang (in English, Spanish, German and Russian) and loved to play the guitar and banjo. He loved to perform music, whether formally or just jamming with friends. Other than his family, nothing gave Mike more joy than music. He performed publicly just two days before his death.
Mike was active in the community. He was very involved with the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion, the Hickory County Senior Center, the St. Clair County Senior Center and he served on the board of directors of Care Connections. He was also active at different times in St. Bernadette Catholic Church in Hermitage, Missouri, and Bear Creek Methodist Church in Osceola, Missouri.
Mike is survived by his wife, Susan Orr Jones, of Osceola, Missouri, as well as his three children and their spouses – Jenny (Jones) Fuhs and her husband Bob of Evansville, Indiana, Josh Jones and his wife Debbie of Osceola, Missouri, and Ethan Jones, also of Osceola, Missouri, as well as nine grandchildren – Jordan, Lauren, Madison and Erica Fuhs and Sam, Emily, Lydia, Will and Evelyn Jones. Mike is also survived by his brother Jeff Jones of Salisbury, North Carolina, and his sister Barbara Dyer of Greensboro, North Carolina.