William "Bill" Jonas Jr. '59
November 13, 2020 2:35 PM
updated: November 13, 2020 2:57 PM
William James Jonas Jr.
November 11, 1936 - October 28, 2020
William “Bill” James Jonas, Jr., age 83 of Harper, Texas passed away Wednesday, October 28, 2020 in Kerrville, Texas. He was born on Lemos Street in Kerrville November 11, 1936 to William James Jonas, Sr. and Lela Rebecca Jonas.
Known as Billy growing up, he was a three-year football letter man, American Legion Boys State Delegate, and directed the choir at his Baptist church while also working at a Kerrville service station after school.
Upon graduation from Tivy High School, he delayed leaving Kerrville for college, for one year, when his family was involved in a near fatal auto accident. For that year, Bill enrolled in Schreiner Institute in Kerrville and assisted with the family floral business
while his mother recovered.
Transferring to Texas A&M and joining the Aggie Corps of Cadets, Bill graduated class of 1959 with a Bachelors of Science and was commissioned as a Combat Engineer Second Lieutenant, United States Army.
On July 1, 1960, Bill married University of Texas graduate and daughter of a noted Hill Country ranching family, Davene Evon Schmidt in Kerrville where they began careers teaching in public schools with Bill at his alma mater, Tivy High School.
FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover’s initiative to recruit bureau agents with engineering backgrounds resulted in Bill being selected and serving as an FBI agent with assignments in the Deep South relating to voting rights and various domestic terrorist and criminal
activities in the Midwest.
When the mid-1960s ushered in the concept of in-house corporate security, Jonas concluded his FBI service and joined an elite team of former bureau agents building the security organization for Southwestern Bell (now AT&T) where they pioneered combating phone
larceny, wire fraud, copper theft, business crimes and all aspects of premises and executive security. Basing in San Antonio, Jonas established a reputation of civic involvement while building close working relationships with law enforcement. At that time,
Senior Texas Ranger Captain, Clint “One Riot One Ranger” Peeples commissioned Bill Jonas as a Texas Ranger.
As the late 1970s brought Republican Party growth in Texas and Bexar County, Jonas was recruited and ran as the G.O.P. candidate for Bexar County Sheriff in 1980. While not successful in being elected sheriff, his law enforcement and leadership gifts captured
the imagination of the Reagan Administration and Texas U.S. Senator John Tower resulting in Bill Jonas serving as U.S. Marshal for Western Texas under Presidents Ronald Reagan, George Herbert Walker Bush, and Bill Clinton.
Jonas went on to be part of the law enforcement team for the University of Texas System as he continued to operate, with Davene, a vibrant Hill Country ranch business they began when first married.
Bill and Davene shared a passion for horses and precision riding. They were active members in the San Antonio based Palomino Patrol and, during his tenure as U.S. Marshal, founded the U.S. Marshals Mounted Posse that performed at the San Antonio Rodeo and various
venues throughout Texas. Both U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison and Governor Rick Perry proposed prestigious appointments that would have called Jonas back into public life, but ultimately, he remained at the ranch with Davene.
Accepting Christ as his Saviour in his youth, Bill went on to serve in church leadership throughout his life being a deacon at First Presbyterian and Trinity Baptist churches in San Antonio as well as churches in Harper, Texas including St. James Lutheran and
A civic leader, Jonas gave back to the community and nation through his service in the United States Army Reserve, Bexar Kiwanis, Texas Sheep and Goat Raisers Association, San Antonio Breakfast Club, Southwest Texas Cattle Raisers Association, San Antonio Livestock
Exposition, San Antonio Town Club, Optimist International, and Town North YMCA.
William James Jonas, Jr. is a member of the Masonic Lodge.
Bill is preceded in death by his brother Robert and his parents. He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Davene, a half sister, Gwen, two sons, and eight grandchildren.
Visitation will be held from 3-5 PM, Sunday, November 1, 2020 at Grimes Funeral Chapels.
Services will be held at 10 AM, Monday, November 2, 2020 at Harper Presbyterian Church. Interment will follow in the Harper Cemetery.