To the editor:
I was both shocked and dismayed to open the paper last week and see an obituary for Jeff Jones. For those who don’t know, Jeff owned and operated Alpha Auto Finders at the corner of Fifteenth and Perkins Road.
We have been friends for some years and I purchased several automobiles – good ones at great prices, I might add – from Jeff. As we often say, “I just visited with him a few weeks ago and he was fine.” But now I saw he had passed.
As we sometimes say about certain people, Jeff was, “Big enough to go bear hunting with a switch.” About six-foot-four and 270 pounds; Jeff was a large man. But this gentle giant wasn’t at all about switching bears – or anything else, for that matter.
One of his real pleasures in life was matching people up with just the right vehicle and saving them money in the doing. My cousin and his wife looked all over Tecumseh, Shawnee and OKC wanted a “big car.” While they were visiting, I suggested we go see Jeff.
It just so happened that Jeff had a nice Ford Crown Victoria. It was a year newer than anything my cousin had looked at, and only about 12,000 miles on it. They paid less for it than their second choice and drove home happy as clams.
I knew Jeff had “taught music” in the Stillwater School systems for many years, but only at his funeral did I learn how gifted this man really was musically. After graduating from college in Kansas, Jeff had to make a career choice: He could teach orchestra to Stillwater Middle School students or go to work for one Henry Mancini. The orchestra great lost out to Jeff’s love of teaching.
Automobiles were also a passion for Jeffrey Eugene Jones, and Pastor Houck, of Salem Lutheran Church, said during the funeral service: “If anyone could drive a Cadillac through the Pearly Gates, it would be Jeff Jones.”
She asked how many present at the funeral service had purchased a car from Jeff? By far, most of those present raised a hand.
One year, I had Jeff looking for “just the right” pickup truck for me. Then my son found one online at a small lot in Mannford. I called the owner and he told me what he had. I told him what I had as a trade in. We made a tentative agreement and he gave me the VIN.
I took the number to Jeff and he ran it for me, filling me in on the vehicle’s ownership, repairs, etc. I told Jeff what I had been offered. He looked at me with those big blue watery eyes of his and said, “Fred, if I were you, I would go get that truck.”
Now, Jeff sold vehicles for a living and had pickup trucks on his lot! I went and got that pickup and drove it until the wheels were square. But Jeff didn’t lose out: because of what he advised me, I sold at least six vehicles for him over the years. Not one person I sent to him ever felt pressured or cheated.
And now he has left us; left a large empty place in the heart of his wife, Jackie, and the family that loved him. More than that, he has left Stillwater a bit less wonderful than when Jeff Jones lived here.