William "Bill" Jones '42 July 5, 2022 1:09 PM updated: July 5, 2022 1:16 PM
William Danridge Clayborn Jones
December 11, 1920 – May 4, 2022
William Danridge Clayborn Jones, 101, passed away Wednesday, May 4, 2022 at his home in Temple. Bill was born in Temple December 11, 1920 to Charles Hal Jones and Julia (Bird) Jones. His many friends knew Bill as a brilliant man with extensive military service, active in his church, supportive of his fellow Aggies, a painter of portraits and landscapes, and an avid golfer. Bill enjoyed a full life and loved his extended family.
Bill graduated from Temple High School in 1938, then attended Texas A&M College, lettering as captain of the competition pistol team, graduating in 1942, and was commissioned with a focus on operating field artillery. Bill’s interest soon turned to the Army’s military aviation program, and he joined about 150 as part of the new program. His duties in World War II included reconnaissance missions in the Philippines and New Guinea, spotting enemy troops and directing allied artillery fire.
After World War II, Bill returned to the United States and learned helicopter tactics. He commanded helicopter ambulance forces in Korea, which he said was the start of the most meaningful work in his military service, since it involved saving lives. After Korea he was assigned in Turkey, then to Washington D.C., where he worked in the Pentagon to develop guidelines for helicopter operations. The Pentagon sent him to Vietnam to reduce incidents of non-combat helicopter crashes with associated fatalities.
Bill retired from the military as a Lieutenant Colonel, having accumulated over 20,000 hours of flying in fixed-wing aircraft and 1,400 in helicopters. Having a Master of Aerospace Operations Management from the University of Southern California in August of 1970, he had a post-military career as a civilian aviation business consultant.
After retirement, Bill returned to Temple with his loving wife and Temple High School classmate, Patricia Easterwood Jones, with whom he enjoyed over 72 years of marriage. Pat preceded Bill in death in 2014, and he was also preceded in death by his parents C. H. Jones and Julia (Bird) Jones and all his siblings: 1st Lt. James Marion Jones, Col. Charles Hal Jones, Jr., Julia Bird (Jones) Muller, and Kathryn (Jones) Howard. He is survived by: his son, Jim Jones; nieces Julia Bird Muller and Kristi (Easterwood) Grear; nephews Albert F. Muller III, Robert Muller, and Terry Easterwood; cousin Pamela Wellborn Skeen; and many grandnieces and grandnephews with their extended families.
Bill’s family will be forever grateful for the loving care at his home given by Ann Faulkner (who Bill said was like a daughter to him). Thanks to her and her husband, Rick, for attending to Bill’s needs in his life’s final chapter.
A memorial service will be held at First Christian Church in Temple on Wednesday, May 11 (visitation in the church parlor at 10 am, services at 11 am), with private graveside services at Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery in Killeen at a later date. Donations may be sent to the “William D. C. Jones Memorial Fund” at First Christian Church at 300 N. 5th St. in Temple, TX 76501.