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ROBERT AUSTIN JONES

Born: June 13, 1940
Died: August 30, 2017

Robert A. Jones was a very colorful guy whose love of life was never impeded by his dedication to the practice of law.

He was born in New York City, son of Austin W. and Antoinette R. Melillo Jones. Rob grew up on Bergen County New Jersey and graduated from Ramsey (N.J.) High School.

Rob was with our class from 1958 to 1961. He then served on active duty with the U.S. Army and was stationed in Korea. Upon his return, he graduated in 1964. He was a political science major and on the Silliman football and baseball teams and rowed in the crew. He was member of the Honorable Society of St. Vitus and Dwight Hall where he performed YMCA and Boys Club work.

Rob graduated from University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1968. He commenced his law practice with the Paterson, N.J. law firm of Hunziker, Hunziker & Stein, where he had a 46 year career. He served as managing partner of the firm now known as Hunziker, Jones & Sweeney in Wayne, N.J. until his retirement in 2014.

His obituary published in the New Jersey Herald described Rob as "an avid golfer, skier, sailor, hiker, reader and lover of life! He was active in Rotary International, serving as President of the West Milford Rotary and as West Milford School Board Attorney. Rob participated in and supported the annual Bobby Jones Open Golf Tournament for 33 years raising funds for Syringomyelia which caused the death of legendary golfer Bobby Jones."

After retirement Rob and his devoted partner Diane Senger Schmid purchased a home in Beaufort, S.C. where they enjoyed the marshes and Live Oaks. Rob golfed, enjoyed his boat Gemini II, volunteered at the Unitarian Universal Fellowship of Beaufort and worked with Thumbs Up, a local organization supporting children in an after-school program.

Rob is survived by his only child, Bret Allen Jones of Trinidad, California, Bret's wife Amy, and his two granddaughters, Sadie Lover Jones and Beyla Rue Jones. He is also survived by his devoted partner, Diane Senger Schmid, of Beaufort, SC, and his former wife and mother of Bret, Anne Crosse Bowman, of Morristown and Lake Hawthorne, NJ. He was a father figure to Jennifer Longmere of Concord, NH and Tara Wear of Spokane, WA, daughters of Sue Hunt of Sparta, NJ and to Cheri Foltz of Portland, Oregon, Dee Bass of Fortine, Montana and Dawn Harrison of Atlanta, GA, daughters of his second wife Ann Bass of Hendersonville, NC.

At a celebration of Rob's life held by his law firm, attorney Steve Carras recalled his colorful and multidimensional life and career:

He was a freewheeling divorced guy with a sports car in the driveway, a hot tub on the porch, and a kitchen cupboard with a bottle of rum, a can of mixed nuts, and not much else.

Carras also paid tribute to Rob's leadership and mentoring skills in his eulogy:

Rob was a teacher in so many ways. He taught us by his own example that life is an adventure. If Rob had a motto it was the Ferris Bueller quote "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."

Rob seemed to always stop and look around. And more often than not he really liked what he saw and leaned in for a closer look. He engaged life as any true explorer would do, with curiosity, brash energy and joy.

His early experiences in life, meeting Babe Ruth, growing up in Ramsey, New Jersey, serving his country in the US Army, attending Yale and then Penn Law School certainly shaped the man he became.

His mid-life, as a partner in this century old law firm, raising his son Bret, caring for his aging mother, helping his friends, and giving back to his community through Rotary and other charitable work strengthened his character.

And in his later years, now as a trusted advisor, friend to many, and a loving grandfather, he had the opportunity to spend more time doing the things he enjoyed with the people he loved.

Rob was also a storyteller not of tall tales but of the actual roads he traveled with all the bumps and all the smooth stretches that he encountered. He always came back from a trip with some almost unbelievable tale of adventure or misadventure - and offered it with his characteristic smile and laugh to anyone who wanted to hear about it. And we always wanted to hear about it!

There were building projects in New Jersey and South Carolina, sailing the Caribbean, hiking the Long Trail in Vermont, downhill and cross country skiing, boating on Greenwood Lake, the annual Bobby Jones Golf Open, tennis, cycling, aerobics, trips to beaches in Costa Rica, Florida, and, of course, the nude beach at Sandy Hook.

To borrow a line from the Broadway show Hamilton: "Man, the man was non-stop". And perhaps that's what we loved so much about Rob. He was in relentless pursuit of life's riches. So, to you, the extended family that Rob spent so much of his life with, I say HERE HERE to a life well lived and to the man who lived it!

With thanks for information supplied by attorney Susan E. Chapman and attorney Steve Carras.

 

Robert G. Oliver




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