He was born ninth of ten children to Archie and Georgia Allena (Lanus) Jones. Paul went to be with the Lord on June 10, 2019, at the age of 81. Paul had many happy memories of his childhood, many of them involving fishing experiences. Often on a summer evening, after the supper dishes were washed, his mother would take up her fishing pole, and with Paul in tow, would walk to the nearby farm pond to fish. When his oldest brother, Joe, and wife Mildred would come home on leave from the Army, they would come for Paul and take him camping and fishing.
The Lanus grandparents would take the Jones kids with them on fishing trips to Shady Bend or other places along the Solomon River. Paul also remembers his older brothers sitting around the big stove in the basement and telling stories about their experiences in World War II.
Paul started his early schooling at Pleasant Dale rural school until the family moved to Smith Center. His dad, and later some of his brothers, took over managing the Center Cabins and gas station out on the curve of Old Highway 36, just west of Smith Center. During high school, Paul worked as floor manager of the local skating rink. Paul was active in sports in high school. He played center on the football team, was elected captain by his teammates, and selected to the all-league team his senior year. Paul graduated from Smith Center High School in 1956. He wanted to join the Navy, but his mother was very opposed to it. She had sent four sons off to World War II and thought she had done more than her part. A few days after graduation, she and daughter Sondra left on the train to visit relatives in Oregon. Her last words to Paul were, “Now don’t you go and join the Navy while I’m gone!” A few days later, Paul and his buddy Gary Overmiller were standing in front of Bolton’s Gas & Electric waiting to board the bus to Kansas City to join the Navy. Before Paul left, his father shook his hand and said, “Well, giv’em hell son.” Gary and Paul completed basic training in Great Lakes, IL. They both made the Navy their career, each serving 20 years. Paul served at Navy bases in Norfolk, VA, Great Lakes, IL, and Charleston, SC. He mostly served on destroyer ships in the Atlantic Fleet in the Caribbean and Mediterranean areas. Paul’s ship picked up Enos the chimpanzee after he had been launched into space. Paul said he was “one mad chimp!” Paul’s ship participated in the Cuban blockade and he stood at General Quarters ready to fire on the Russians if necessary. Paul later retired from the Navy in 1976, with the rank of Chief Petty Officer.
Paul married Joyce Overmiller on March 13, 1958. Three sons were born to them; Jeffrey Paul, Christopher Guy, and Joseph Scott. When Paul retired from the Navy in 1976, the family moved back to Smith County and the boys finished school at Smith Center. Paul gained employment with the City of Smith Center to overhaul the water treatment plant and then did general equipment maintenance and repair.
In retirement, Paul indulged his passion for flying. He spent hours building and flying model airplanes and was a member of a club. Later, he took flying lessons and purchased his own one-seater ultralight plane. It was a sad day for Paul when he was no longer able to fly.
Paul faithfully attended the Presbyterian church and made a profession of faith in his youth. After marriage, the family was active in church wherever Paul was stationed. Upon retirement and returning to Kansas, the family attended the Thornburg church, where Paul was an active member until he was no longer able to attend.
Paul was preceded in death by his parents; his brothers Joe (Mildred) Jones, Jack (Irene) Jones, Leroy, Warren, and Lloyd Jones; sisters Joan (Dale) Moser, and Frances Cochran.
He is survived by his wife, Joyce; sons Jeff (Lynette) Jones, Norton, KS; Chris (Janet Griffith) Jones, Smith Center; Scott (Lisa) Jones, Lawrence, KS; sisters Barbara Rowland, Kingsland, GA, and Sondra (Ken) Schoenhofer, Erie, KS; brother in law Bill Cochran, Norton, KS. Paul has many grandchildren and great grandchildren including Karlie (Nate) Stroup, Ayla & Ayden, Basehor, KS; Kara Jo (Michael Sprigg), Chapel Hill, NC; Kamilla Jones, McPherson, KS; Zach Jones, Ruger & Wesson, Smith Center, KS; Jordan (Kelli) Jones, Kaley, Elle, Sadie & Delilah, Smith Center, KS; Travis Jones, Smith Center, KS; Laine Pike, Chase & Josh, Wichita, KS; Lauren Pike and Ashlee, Wichita, KS; Samantha (Joel) Morgan, Gardner, KS; and many nieces, nephews and in-laws.
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