John Jones

It is with great regret that we announce that John sadly died at the RD&E hospital on 4th April following a rapid deterioration in his health.

Photograph of a man holding a fireman's helmet

John Jones with 1930s Crediton fireman’s helmet

John was born in Brecon, educated in Christ College, and sang in the Cathedral Choir. He did his National Service in Germany and rose to the rank of Sergeant. He had a 40 year career in local government starting as a weights and measures inspector in Brecon. It was there he met and married Annette. They were married for 51 years and had three children, Tim, Sian and Marcus. 

His first post in Devon was in Barnstaple, but as a result of local government reorganisation in 1974 he was offered promotion and a post in Exeter and moved to Crediton. John specialised in Weights and Measures law and was highly respected for his indepth knowledge of the subject. He was made a Fellow by the Training Standards Institute.

When John retired at the age of 59 he was able to immerse himself in the many and varied interests he had in his life. Central to these was this Society which he joined in 1992. It was not long before he was playing a significant role, joining the Executive Committee and in 1994 working on his first exhibition. It is in this field that John probably will have made his most lasting contribution to the Society, organising six major exhibitions. John revolutionised the way in which the Society organised exhibitions and the professional way it now presents material.

In 2001 he took over the role of archivist from Arthur King Robinson and carried on this role until his death. He undertook this job with his usual drive and enthusiasm extending the archive at Downes. He was an avid collector and added many artefacts and photographs to the collection. 

He was also involved in many other organisations and projects in the town, often representing the interests of the Society; in 2001 the 150th celebrations of the arrival of the railway in Crediton; in 2004 the St. Boniface Festival; represented the Society on the Devon Museums Group for many years; and was instrumental in setting up the guides at Downes and was a guide himself in the first few years. John was also a trustee of the Town Hall and was heavily involved in the restoration of the building. It was through this role that he helped to negotiate the lease of the former TIC for our museum in 2010, and has since been successful in negotiating a reduction in the rent. He has been a fundraiser for the Society and the Museum, negotiating grants from MDDC and DCC.

Since the Museum opened in 2010 John has used his expertise in setting up the various exhibitions. He organised nearly all the first one “Fire the Destroyer of History” and from his collections made a significant contribution to the “Toys” exhibition last summer. Even though his health was failing he was still able to contribute to the exhibition which will open on 18th April.

Over more than 20 years John Jones has made a massive contribution to this Society. It is possible, however, that only now he has gone will the level of that contribution be fully appreciated.

John Heal

12 April 2012