Part 4: Tribute to Robert L. Jones

Part 4: Tribute to Robert L. Jones

We hope you’ve learned a little more about our family and what Jones Natural Chews means to us throughout our “Tribute to Dad” series. Today, Suzy, our youngest sister, shares meaningful words about our father’s lifelong commitment to bettering his business and the community. 

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Suzy Jones

What can I say about a hero who has and will continue to affect so many lives? My Dad is a small business owner, and a man who loves God and his family. As all of us kids worked at the business from young ages, and Dad instilled in us a work ethic with morals and integrity like no other. He also taught us to stand behind family no matter what, including our extended family of employees who have worked with us at Jones Natural Chews.

Dad is a shrewd businessman, but he also has a big heart. He taught us about tenacity — to find a new approach if things don’t work out the way we want, to always overcome challenges.

I started working with Dad when I was 7. I remember working at the plant every Saturday, filling 5-pound ground beef bags and doing simple chores. I was so short I had to stand on buckets to see over the counter and Dad would knot up my oversized apron so it wouldn’t fall off. When a good song came on the radio the entire line of meat cutters would join in singing, entertaining the customers in the lobby. Talk about an off-key butcher shop quartet! Dad always made work seem like fun. Although, out of all the jobs he would assign to me, he would never let me near the band saw. I eventually grew up to run the shop and had three band saws, but to date he still doesn’t like me near them.

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Suzy (Third from left) with the Jones family and her father, Robert (Right)

My Dad is a kind, sincere, caring, patient, and wonderful person. He spent many overtime hours running the business, all while devoting his life to helping others. When we moved to Belvidere, Mom and Dad helped a tiny, new church grow its congregation, including launching a “Children’s Church” for its smallest parishioners.

As the children’s church grew in popularity, the church used an old school bus to pick up children whose parents were unable to attend the week’s services. The bus would also pick up children whose parents did not attend church, and needy children who did not have transportation to church. My parents lead the kids to sing songs and perform puppet skits — Dad was famous for his costumed parts! He would dress up as bible characters, or as a doctor, hunter, ‘not-so-smart-guy’ with a colored wig … he even touted a diaper and bottle for one popular character.

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My parents handed out rewards for learning scriptures and answering questions from the lesson, and they always had a general prize for everyone at the end — all funded personally by my parents. I can remember the room would be packed with kids — at times there were more kids in “Children’s Church” than adults in the main sanctuary.

He is now retired from the business and the children’s church, but the impact he made on countless lives — including his own children — cannot be measured. To this day, kids from the church (now grown) still call him ‘Grandpa Jones.’ I’m proud to be one of four who get to call him ‘Dad.’

Thanks, Dad.

Suzy Madenis

Food Safety Manager

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