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Memory Book

We need your helping creating a memory book and slide show about Don.  Please comment below using these questions as a guide. If you have any photos you’d like to share, please scan and email them to or mail copies to Sara Heath, 801 Darkwoods Court, Cedar Park, TX 78613. Let me know if you’d like your photos returned.

  1. What is your name?

  1. Did Don have a nickname for you? If so, what was it?

  1. How do you know Don and how long have you known him?

  1. Do you have any favorite “Don-isms” (phrases/mispronounced words he used)?

  1. If you want to be invited if there are any future ARL gatherings, provide your phone number and email.

  1. Write something you will remember about Don.

23 Responses to Memory Book

  1. Patty Hamm

    1. Patty Hamm
    2.No nickname – but he had them for everyone else!
    3.Met Don at work in 1991 – was honored to have known him all those years – he made work fun, telling jokes while struggling through late hours closing the accounting records at month end or year end.
    4.While staring at the computer screen, waiting for reports to process he would always say “Open, open, open….” a phrase we still use and laugh at today, many years after he has been gone! (-:
    5. Yes, please. 512 922-3189
    6. Don was a true rennaisance man – definition – a man who has a wide range of accomplishments and intellectual interests. Don was very intellegent and always had a great story to tell.

    One of my fondest memories of Don was his rescue of a baby squirrel we found in our yard. Don offered to nurse it back to health – fed the baby squirrel at work for several weeks. Don appropriately named him “Lucky” and cared for him as a “pet” on his property for quite a while.
    He had a kind and generous heart that extended to many.
    He truly loved Martha and her family!!!

  2. Jane ayers Cunningham

    Saw Don many years ago when we both lived in Austin and he and my husband both were going to UT spoke to him about 3 years ago..he invited us out..we moved away to live near our kids..we lived so close but never visited. Knew each other was there..I am sorry about that, I should have made an effort. He and Ken would have enjoyed each other,Ken is also a country man…loves the same things Don did..

  3. Jane ayers Cunningham

    Knew Don since 1953..also lived at Buckner..

  4. Penny Mask

    Don came to see us when I was a teenager. He was riding a motorcycle, and yes he talked me into going for a ride….my first and last motorcycle ride….it was great fun but I am a big chicken and was glad when it was over. We kept in touch through the years via telephone then his number changed. I had a friend that worked at the University of Texas also, so she went through the university phone directory and found his number at work for me so we were able to get re-aquainted. Started our first Jones family reunion about 7 years ago and we never missed one since…it was always a joy to get to see him and listen to his wonderful sense of humor…to me he was just AWSOME.

    He always called me Penelope….will miss that most, he was the only one that ever called me that….just a nick name but it was great.

    He will be missed by many because he was loved by many… you Don Wilson Jones…..will see you on the other side!

    • Carrol and Marlene Doolen

      Carrol and I met Don through Martha about 20 years ago. Driving to and from Fredericksburg with Martha and Don a couple of years ago, Carrol and I learned so much about local history from Don as he talked about a variety of interesting points with local history. He shared a lot of interesting information with the grandchildren such as when he showed them a fox on his land and then released the fox back to nature.
      Don was a good man and will be missed.

      • Carla Howell

        My name is Carla Jean Bardin. I was his neice.Uncle Don met my dad at Buckners Orphanage, My dad and him were close friends. He introduced his sister, Joelynn, my mom, to my dad. They got married and had me. I was named after my dad, Carlos Bardin, and my Uncle’s sister, Sally Jean. His nickname for me was Carlotta. When I was a kid, he taught me to shoot with a shotgun. I remember he had some hunting dogs, one was named Nancy, a boy, which he nicknamed Clabberhead.This dog would let me ride on his back. He also had a pet squirrel, that bit me. He went hunting for rabbit one night, and was throwing these dead rabbits into the back of the truck, where I was riding, and they had these worms crawling out of them, called woolies, ofcourse I started screaming. They were very gross. I also remember getting on his nerves by following him around, telling knock knock jokes, so he nailed the door to his house shut, with me inside, ( my mom was in there with me ) I’m pretty sure he wasn’t used to being around kids… lol Him and my dad stayed very good friends for many years. I grew up and had kids, and didn’t stay in contact. My Aunt Penny started having Jones Family Reunions about Seven yrs. ago, so we were reunited. Thank you. Aunt Penny. Last year, in July, everyone came to my house, in Tennessee and got together. I am grateful for that. I really was looking forward to getting to know him better. I love you, Uncle Don, and you’ll always be in my heart.

  5. Arlene Moody

    I worked in the Human Resources Office of ARL:UT for many years, retiring in ’03, so knew Don very well, as our offices were across the hall. He was in/out of our office for obvious programming requests, usually talking with the Head of HR. But the thing I will always remember Don for was his “infamous” cheese dip for any/all parties held in our area, or he brought it “just because.” Gosh it was so hot for many, but I loved it! Don was good at making wooden things and I remember I had a pair of his wooden tongs used for getting toast out of a toaster. Clever. Also I do remember the little squirrel mentioned by Ms Hamm.. he had it in a box covered with a towel and he would bring it to/from home for days so he could continue to feed. He occasionally would bring into our offices so we could see how it was growing. He was a very sensitive man. I never knew that Don grew up in an orphanage. Speaks well of Buckner since he grew up to be such a nice man. One other thing I remember, he managed a Lottery pool for about 20-25 of us. Never won big, but he would inform us of little wins so we would just have him put it back into the pool for future games.
    Martha, I do not know you but I am so very sorry for your loss. And I hope you do enjoy your vacation.

  6. Ruby Johnson

    I also worked in the HR office at ARL and thought the world of Don. From the first, Don reminded me so much of my brother that I started calling him “Bubba”, my brother’s nickname. Don and my brother had the same quirky sense of humor. He called me Sis. I live in Nevada now and will not be able to attend the memorial but know he will be looking down and enjoying the re-telling of all the good times. Rest in peace, Bubba.

  7. Janie Zbranek

    Yes, please include me in any ARL gatherings, etc. My phone # is 512-251-4507 — e-mail
    My deepest condolences to the entire Don Jones family. He was too young to leave this earth.

  8. Janie Zbranek

    My name is Janie Cepcar Zbranek. I have been acquainted with Don since October 1965 when I came to work at Defense Research Labs (now named Applied Research Labs) still as a young single girl. Don asked me out on a date and unfortunately I had to decline because I was engaged to my now husband Louis Zbranek. Till the day we both retired in 2001 from ARL, he always called me “Chepchar” (my maiden name in Czech). I will always remember Don as a friend with a sweet smile on his face or a joke to tell or a story to tell about his adventures. His knowledge of computers and problem solving was priceless. He always helped us when a problem came up. We would call and say “Help Don!!!” and he was there to resolve the computer problem. We will miss you Don. Until we meet again, may the Good Lord bless you and take you to the Promised Land. Rest in Peace my friend.

  9. Carrie Woodworth

    My name is Carrie Woodworth and I started working directly with Don back in 1989 while I was still a student at UT and working part-time at ARL and he was the “seasoned” programmer. From the start it was clear what an entirely wonderful character (and all-around good person) Don was and I consider it a privilege to have known him for so long. It’s incredible to think that even though I knew him for over 20 years, that’s just a drop in the bucket compared to so many of the life-long friends that will miss him. His nickname for me was simple enough – Carrier. Working with him every day, his Don-isms occasionally bordered on being his own language – a puzzle to decipher even though he didn’t always share the key. One phrase I still occasionally catch myself saying is about getting things done in “one swell foop” (as opposed to fell swoop). And as someone else mentioned – his queso was legendary (and scalding) and for years after his retirement all queso in our department was still measured by the Don scale. Our sincerest condolences go out to Martha and the family – it is hard to believe he is gone and we are all heartbroken by the loss of such a unique individual.

  10. Susie Guyton

    Don tried to get me to eat frog legs. No way! He laughed at me but didn’t really pressure me. What a kind, sweet, gentle man! Fun and funny guy. Looking forward to the heavenly reunion. Martha, may God’s comfort envelop you.

  11. JT Cloer

    I met; Don in 1961 at the Defense Research Lab. We became fast friends and eventually moved in with three other lab guys in a rented house on Newfied lane. As time went by he moved in with me and my mom on South first St. and left his motorcycle at our house while he spent six months on active duty in the Marines. We hunted, rode motorcycles, and actually tried to hunt coyotes from my Taylorcraft airplane. My brother ran a ranch out in Cedar Park and Don moved into a little house there and stayed, I think until he moved to Liberty Hill.we sent emails back and forth about the snaring of coyotes and such until last year. Don was a rare breed and I knew it, I suspect he might have known it too but you could never tell by his way of being. Speaking of motorcycles I am pretty sure he was the champ of mororcycle crashes, of all the riders I know. I can think of six pretty bad crashes he had, yet it didn’t dim his love of riding, at least not at that time. Eventhough, I will never see him again I can picture him perfectly as he looked in 1961.

  12. Rhonda Schleicher

    Don, Don, Don… what a guy! Always a gentleman, so willing to lend a hand or give advice, quick with a joke (or Don-ism), and so very tender-hearted. I especially enjoyed his ability to cleverly nickname all of his co-workers and friends (mine was Rhododendron). I shared an office with Don from 1988 until his retirement. He was such a hard worker and always easy-going, even in the face of seemingly insurmountable issues that arose impacting our accounting system… he always managed to get through them or find some kind of work around for them. I remember him one day showing me a gold krugerrand and giving a “dissertation” on the fallacies of the gold-standard. He was always teaching me with pearls of wisdom about life, love and the wonderful world we shared. He is definitely one who is missed dearly and by so many.

  13. Patti Hansen

    I worked over 25 years with Don at ARL:UT, beginning in the 1970′s. He touched many of us over the years in different ways – as a 20 something, he introduced me to the wilds of hill country rivers and the joy of canoeing. He bonded us not only to the wilderness but to a diversity of life that opened and enriched me forever. I cannot go on a hike, cross a beautiful river, or see frog legs on a menu without smiling and thinking of Don and something he taught me. Other memories of Don include the orphan baby possums, squirrels, and even skunks that he nurtured; the fiery one, two, or three jalapeno queso that he made for office parties; the “don’t think that can be done” comment and then returning with the solution the same day; his wonderful and unique sense of humor; and finally, his ability to invent and build almost anything! Don truly was a man of many parts, but it was his heart of gold that made him so special – he truly will be missed.

  14. Virgil Moore

    First of all, I want to send my sympathy to Martha and Don’s extended family. He was a very special person and will be missed by all. Diane and I really enjoyed meeting Martha and the reunions in the fall.

    I started at Defense Research Laboratory as a graduate assistant in 1966. I was in Undersea Technology Division (UTD) at that time with a number of people who knew Don, such as Roy Sullivan, Wayne Ashby, and John Behrens. I worked there about four years until UTD lost its funding. I was one of the last ones to leave. UTD division head Herb Hillery talked to Assistant Director Reuben Wallace about whether there might be some place for me to go and Computer Science Division head Glen Ellis agreed to try me out. I was assigned to work with Don on the payroll program which was written in the Fortran programming language (if that makes sense!). This software had been under development for some time. Don and I shared a small office which was separated from the Computer Room by a thin wall. That room later became a storage area for some of the many magnetic tapes and Don and I were moved to a different office. Some time later there was a lab reorganization and Don went on to be a part of the Administrative Division where they obviously benefitted from his talents. We had a lot of fun working on that project.

    I remember a time Don got in a bad wreck on his dirt bike. But it didn’t take long before he was back going strong. Yes, Don did use a lot of nicknames but I have a hard time remembering the ones he had for me. I think one was Mirgil. When he addressed me by a nickname, I usually responded by calling him “Dow Jones”. Another thing I remember about Don is that he usually had that cute grin. Don was three years older than I am and started at DRL five years before I did. The first mainframe computer came about 1965 from what I know. I think Don was one of the early computer operators. Apparently Don started at DRL about 1961 so I’m wondering what he did those first few years before starting on computers? I have a feeling he may have worked on the grounds crew at first. I would appreciate it if anyone could set me straight on this.

    So when Don transferred to ADG we had less contact but I did see him often because I spent a good bit of time supporting computer users. After I retired in 2000, Don retired in 2001. A number of years passes with no contact until Facebook came along. He accepted my invitation and before long told me about the ARL reunions they had been having at Martha’s place. That was a really neat place and everyone that attended was most appreciative.

    When Don told me where he lived near Liberty Hill, I let him know my wife’s family had roots there. My mother-in-law was born on a nearby farm and Diane was about six when they left the family farm. My father-in-law who was from the Bertram area has a number of ties to the Smithwick area, especially the cemetery. Some of his ancestors buried there were in the Civil War. When I told Don, I found out that he knew just about everything about Smithwick. He had the book written by Noah Smithwick and said he re-read it every couple of years. Don had located the ruins of the first Smithwick mill which he shared with me. Well, enough of this rambling. I now know a lot more about Don and know we could have been closer friends but I think we were both sort of shy (especially me). God Bless Don Jones! May we all have good memories of him!

  15. Patrick Kavanaugh

    I met Don in 1974 when we both worked at ARL. Since both of us “walk like a duck” we would exaggeratedly flatten ourselves against opposite walls when meeting in the narrow hallways there to avoid foot entanglement. He got me involved in canoeing, nighttime frog hunting, and general pigging out.

    Don called me Cavendish, or possibly, as I would prefer, Kavendish.

    I remember a pet ferret Don had, very cute. It would hide, under a couch for example, and ambush us. Once Don decided to turn the tables and snuck up behind and grabbed it. I believe he said the resulting bite went all the way to his finger bone.

    I once helped Don raise the submersible pump from the well at his country place, a laborious process involving a home-made derrick and raising and unscrewing multiple sections of pipe. I suggested he reinstall it with a stainless steel cable to speed the process if he had to do it again, but he was too cheap (it can’t be that he was too poor, he worked at ARL, right?). Of course, the pump broke again. Don didn’t ask me to help him the second time, which I only now regret.

    Do keep inviting me to ARL gatherings,, 206-384-8659. I live in Seattle, but still make trips to Texas.

  16. Betty Richardson

    Don was part of the Singles of Austin group in the ’80s. I was new to Austin in 1980 and almost totally emeshed in my PhD studies at UT. I had no family or friends when I came so SOA and it’s members were like my family. I’ve lots of memories of Don on Mexico trips, Ft. Hood camping trips, riding motorcycles.I had a small red Kawasaki that Don would transport to Ft. Hood and even store for me on his property at times. I do forget his nickname for me. I dated one of his friends for a short while. I asked Don’s friend why Don didn’t have a steady girlfriend in those days. The friend said: “Don is looking for a Cheryl Tiggs (one of Charlie’s Angels on TV): a Cheryl Tiggs who can fish. Thankfully he found Martha. I am so sorry for the great loss for Martha and those close to Don He is one of a kind.

  17. Leona Urban

    My name is Leona Urban and I worked with Don for about 11 years at ARL. I worked in the Accounting Office and ran payroll so I spent a lot of hours working closely with him. We often worked into the evenings trying to get payroll to run successfully. I would also come up with ideas to make the program run more simply and he would program those ideas for me. I still am very grateful to him for making things easier for me in that way. That payroll program was a real bear to work with and because Don was so intelligent and such a good programmer, he could handle it. His nickname for me was “Leanonya”. One of the funniest Don-isms I remember was when he would call this one co-worker “Beesting”. The guy’s last name was pronounced very similarly to that, and since he was a very happy-go-lucky guy and never let things bother him from one day to the next, that name fit him perfectly. I was always amazed at his ability to tie the person’s name to something about them. I remember how he would run during the lunch hour. He said he would walk 10 minutes to warm up for the run. Then he would walk into the cafeteria red-faced from the run. Other days I would see him go to the cafeteria a few minutes before lunch to put his tea bags into hot water so that his tea would be brewed when he came back to eat. I also remember that he was a very good dancer. And I remember the time my boyfriend and I were at the same club that he was, and I got up on the mechanical bull and he laughed at me. And the last thing I’ll say is that he was the kind of guy who didn’t let you know about all the wonderful things he did. There was a lot more to him than met the eye. Yes I would like to know about any future ARL gatherings. I am looking forward to attending the celebration on August 10.

  18. Nancy Rendell

    My sympathy to Martha and family. I know he will be missed. I met Don at SOA. I will never forget one Halloween party back in the late 70s. He came dressed as Poncho Villa. This was perfect for him with his mustache. He had a big sombrero on his head, serape around his shoulders, gun belt around his waist and in his hand was a “real” (previously alive) dead armadillo!!! I asked him where he got it and he grinned and said that he had just picked it up off the road. What a costume accessory. He was such a good dancer. I loved dancing with him – except for the polka. I would be so dizzy after going around and around that I could hardly walk straight when the song was over. It seemed like he had a nickname for me but for the life of me I can’t remember it. One thing I do remember him saying all the time was “don’tcha know”?

  19. Julia Brantley

    I first met Don about 8 years ago when Martha lived next door to me, one of first memories of him was when Martha put on his Honey Do list to build me a new gate for my privacy fence and THEN she had him drag his wood splitter down from Liberty Hill and we spent several hours splitting logs! And he didn’t even really know me, he just had a big giving heart (or he was sacred of Martha!). While Martha attended several of my many BBQ’s Don would never show because “he is kind of shy”…..finally after many missed gatherings and my nagging Don attended my BBQ. He and I sat together on the porch swing and he cracked a beer and finally started to talk to me and several hours later he and I were STILL talking! I guess he got over his shyness and he and I would gab up a storm every time we met thereafter. He was a surrogate Grandfather to my daughter Hannah. This spring break he invited us and her two best friends to his “ranch”, Martha brought her two granddaughters and Don could not have been a better Grandpa! He had set up for the girls BBQ guns, air rifles with balloons for target practice, an archery range with not one but TWO targets and children’s bows and arrows, took the kids for a ride on his 4-wheeler (twice), grilled up hamburgers AND then toasted marshmallows! Followed by a walk through the woods where we found old cow and deer bones. It was a memory maker for all of those children and for me. What a wonderful kind and generous man, and for the life of me I never saw him in a bad mood! His impact will be forever in our hearts and memories, I can honestly saw he was the best surrogate grandpa Hannah (or I) could have ever had. Julia

  20. Priscilla Post

    My nickname was “Prissadilla” I have had a lot of nicknames, but nothing like that one. My nickname for Don was “Don Ho”. I met Don in SOA.
    He made our group a lot of fun. He did arrange a lot of neat things to do. He arranged a bus trip that no one knew where we were going. It ended
    up at the Enchanted Rock. He did let me in on the secret since I was from Llano. A lot of us did not know how to dance, but he even fixed that one
    by finding a teacher for us. I went on several canoe trips with Don and the group. He got me to keep a log. I also was lucky to have one of his
    wood works. It is a stamp bird that holds a roll of stamps. I was proud to have it. I wish I could have one more conversation with Don. It has been years since I have seen him.