Robert William "Bob" Jones was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut on September 1, 1926, the son of Bessie and Robert William Jones, Sr., a professional soccer player/referee, traffic manager for General Electric, and a supplier of laboratory animals. In 1935, when Bob was eight years old, his family moved to Stratford, Connecticut, where he first became interested in minerals when his fifth grade class took a field to Yale's Peabody Museum and saw the fluorescent mineral display there. He has been collecting minerals since.
After graduating from Stratford High School, he worked as an auto mechanic (1940-1944) and postman (1942-1944), then served in the Air Force (1944-1946), in the 509th Composite (Atomic Bomb) Group. Following the war he worked for a while as a steel rigger (1950) and a fireman (1950-1953) before enrolling at New Haven State Teacher's College (now Southern Connecticut State University), where he earned his BS Degree in Science Education in1956 and an MS in Science in 1959. After receiving his BS Degree he embarked on his long career as an elementary and middle school science teacher (1956-1988), moving to Scottsdale, Arizona to take a teaching position in 1959. Since then he has taken additional classes (about 40 hours) at Yale, Columbia University, and Arizona State University.
Over the years Bob has been a prolific author and mineral photographer, writing a column for Rocks & Minerals magazine from 1960 to 1972, and publishing over 700 articles (usually illustrated by his photos) in Rocks & Minerals, Lapidary Journal, Monde et Mineraux, and Rock and Gem magazine, where he has also served as Senior Consulting Editor since 1993. His articles for the Mineralogical Record include "The Mark Chance Bandy Collection," "The Grand Reef mine, Graham County, Arizona," "The Gunnell Crystal collection," "Famous mineral localities: The Ray Mine, Arizona" (with Wendell Wilson), "Red Grossular from the Sierra de Cruces, Coahuila, Mexico" (with Virgil Leuth), "Famous Mineral Localities: The Bristol Copper Mine, Connecticut" and "Philip Rashleigh and his Specimens of British Minerals."
He is also the author of several books including Fluorescent Minerals of Connecticut (based on his Master's Thesis) and Nature's Hidden Rainbows-(Franklin/Sterling Hill) (1964), and is working on three chapters for the the 2008 book America's Mineral Treasures. Bob first visited the Tucson Show 1960, and has attended every one since then—a remarkable record. This long experience helped him write a special book-length tribute entitled A Fifty-Year History of the Tucson Show in 2004. He has also assisted with writing the script for the Smithsonian sponsored video "Gemstones of America," wrote script for and hosted the "Russian Gem Treasures" video and the "Collecting Earth's Natural Treasures" video, and helped produce the "Treasures of Tucson" video.
Following his inspiration at Yale, Bob built a collection of fluorescent minerals. It was eventually sold when his interests moved on to worldwide specimens. That collection was ultimately sold as well, so that he could concentrate on copper and lead minerals, particularly those from Arizona. Over the years his mineral collection won several "Best" awards at the Tucson Show. Bob still maintains a small collection today.
Bob's widespread achievements in the mineral world have been recognized by the prestigious Carnegie Mineralogical Award, presented to him (for the year 1998) at a ceremony at the Tucson Show in 1999. In addition, the new mineral species bobjonesite was named in his honor in 2003. He was named the American Federation Scholarship Foundation Award Honoree in 2000, Phi Delta Kappa-Outstanding Educator in 1985, was a finalist for the Silver Telly Awards in 1994, was named Teacher of the Year at his Scottsdale middle school in 1978, and was presented the Tucson Gem and Mineral Society Service Award in 2006. He is an Honorary or Life member of the Tucson Gem and Mineral Society, the New Haven Mineral Club, the San Diego Mineral Society, and the Arizona Mineralogical Society.
Bob's interest in minerals has resulted in much travel, including several trips through Europe, a trip to Russia, a visit to the Colombian emerald mines, and a trip to the chrysoprase mine in Western Australia, in addition to his domestic travels to give slide lectures at various shows and meetings around the country. He is an experienced field collector, having dug minerals at various Connecticut pegmatites, and at many Arizona localities including the Apache mine and the Rowley mine.
The Tucson Show would hardly be the same without Bob, who served for a remarkable 40 years on the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show Committee (including two terms as Show Chairman, in 2001 and 2004). He is a Board of Directors member of the Mineralogical Record and the Arizona Mineral and Mining Museum Foundation, serves as Secretary for the Lizzadro Museum of Lapidary Arts, and in the past has served on the Advisory Board of the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum and Arizona's Kartchner Caverns State Park.
Bob and his first wife, Alicia, were married for 40 years before she died in 1993. Their son William is Chief Assayer for Kinross Gold in Republic, Washington, and owns the Root Norton Assay lab and the Old Hundred Gold Mine Tour in Silverton,Colorado. Their daughter Suzanne O'Brien is a cardiovascular technologist in Bellingham, Washington. And their youngest child Evan is a graduate geologist (Arizona State University) and well known in the mineral collecting world as a dealer of fine minerals through his mineral dealership (Unique Minerals) and as a collector of Arizona minerals. He also performs regularly with his Grateful Dead tribute band, Xtra Ticket. In 2001 Bob married jeweler and metal artist Carol Sues. They continue to travel widely together, with Bob helping out in her show booth at the Denver and Tucson Shows.
On September 1, 2016, Bob celebrated his 90th birthday, and is still as active as ever.
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[Citation format for this entry:
WILSON, Wendell E. (2019)
Biographical Archive, at www.mineralogicalrecord.com.]
|Click on thumbnail picture to see larger image.|
Number of labels found: 8 | Labels being viewed: 1 to 8
(Tucson Show, 1982)
||51 x 89 mm|
||44 x 65 mm|
||26 x 43 mm|
||26 x 50 mm|
||27 x 56 mm,|
A label use by Bob Jones and his son Evan
||26 x 54 mm,|
Label used by Bob Jones and his son Evan
||Fifty-Year History of the Tucson Show, written by Bob Jones|