|Services held for real estate giant Ralph Jones|
Services were held on Jan. 5 for Willie “Ralph” Jones, one of the most respected real estate agents in Sonoma County. Jones passed away on Dec. 29, 2012, at the age of 81. Photo by Fran Russell
January 11, 2013One of the area’s most respected and dedicated real estate agents, died Dec. 29 in Kaiser Hospital in Santa Rosa.
He was Ralph Jones, born Willie Jones in Big Sandy, Texas. He was 81years of age. He suffered a stroke in 2006 but survived and kept active despite a partial loss of speech.
“I remember Ralph told me he moved to Rohnert Park in 1963, bought a home on Alta Avenue when the city had a population of 3,000,” said Steve Jones (no relation to Ralph), a fellow real estate broker. “He got into the real estate business with R.C. ‘Tubby’ Braden, a former chicken rancher turned real estate broker. Next door to his office in Cotati was his wife’s restaurant, Mabel’s Café.
“One of Ralph’s strong virtues was high ethical standards,” Steve Jones continued. “He said treat your buyers and sellers with respect as well as your fellow agents. These relationships will be long-lasting and the key to your future.”
Ralph Jones had a colorful background ever since he left his family at 13 and worked on Texas railroads. At 14, he lied about his age and joined the U.S. Marine Corps.
He served as head of military housing and horse stables at Port Chicago in Contra Costa County, took up the sport of boxing and became Marine Corps heavyweight boxing champ.
He left the military service but rejoined the Marines in 1952 at the height of the Korean War and served 14 months in Korea.
Jones met his future wife, Gloria, at a Russian River dance resort, and they were married shortly before he was sent to Korea.
They settled in Sonoma County and Jones became actively involved in real estate. He was described by associates as a personable, intelligent and caring advocate for the needs of his clients.
A realtor for more than 40 years, either in his own office or with Century 21, Jones cultivated many clients and business associates during his career. He was named Citizen of the Year in both Rohnert Park and Cotati, president of the Sonoma County Board of Realtors and volunteered for many committees, especially the Homeless Prevention Group. After 55 years of marriage, his wife Gloria passed away in 2008.
He is survived by a brother, Billy Jones of Durham, Ca., son, John Jones, daughter Leigh Townsend of Rohnert Park and son Glenn Hinchee of Rohnert Park, many grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.
Memorial services were held Jan. 5 in New Hope Church in Cotati. Private burial services held at Santa Rosa Memorial Park. Donations in his honor can be made to Redwood Gospel Mission, P.O. Box 493, Santa Rosa, CA, 95402.