Allen Kendall Jones died at home on November 3, 2021, surrounded by his beloved wife, Donna Flatch Jones; son, Jeff Jones; and dearest friends, Taia Ergueta and Gary Kah. His friends and loved ones were a comfort to him as he struggled with pancreatic cancer.
Allen was born on December 17, 1947 in Fairmont, West Virginia to Celia Marie Hall and John Paul Jones. Though Allen spent most of his adult life in Silicon Valley and Sonoma, California, he was constantly mindful of his remarkable childhood in mid-century West Virginia; especially his adventures around the family property, known locally as The Hilltop. Throughout his life, he described himself with his signature dry wit as “a country boy who grew up at The Hilltop seven miles from town.”
Allen’s conservation-minded family loved the beauty of nature and managed their land accordingly, balancing preservation of habitat with productivity. Allen credited his mother, Marie, a founding member of the West Virginia Nature Conservancy chapter, with instilling in him a lifelong commitment to environmental concerns. Later in life he combined an engineer’s fact-based perspective with a tenacious will in his volunteer efforts. Never one to shy away from a challenge, he raised awareness of global climate change, strived to reduce his personal carbon footprint, promoted regional land conservation, and managed efficient water systems for his community. It was with special pride that Allen continued to champion his family’s stewardship of many acres of old growth Appalachian forest. His perseverance culminated in deeding this land to the West Virginia Land Trust. Named in honor of Allen’s mother, The Marie Hall Jones Ancient Forest Preserve will benefit future generations, sharing the West Virginia forests that the family so treasured.
Allen once wrote “my family heritage has served me well”. His was a close-knit extended family that included three siblings, twelve aunts and uncles, and eleven cousins. He was devoted to his brother John, sixteen years his elder, following in his footsteps to Cornell University, where they both earned degrees in chemical engineering, just as their father had done at West Virginia University. Allen later earned his MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
The curiosity, rigor, writing skills, and intelligence Allen brought to bear during his education continued to serve him throughout a successful career. He took pride in his diligent work in Silicon Valley, and in spotting the Big Bubble before the markets crashed. His keen mind for business facilitated Allen’s rise to the position of Vice President and Treasurer (later VP and Controller) at Varian, one of the founding companies of Silicon Valley. He later served as Chief Financial Officer of two startups, and helped to take a company public.
Allen’s marriage to Donna in 1991 was the great joy of his life. After retiring in 2000, he relished working alongside her to design and build their own hilltop home in California’s wine country. There, he once again exercised his inquisitive spirit, perfecting many trades to maintain their house and land. His careful tending included a constant struggle with the many turkeys, deer, and woodpeckers around the property - an uphill battle which he bore with his typical perseverance and good humor. Allen had an adventurous streak. He fueled his zeal for new horizons by exercising regularly, working outdoors, and cherishing world travel with his wife. He was an avid back-packer and skier, sharing memorable trips with his two sisters, their families, and his son.
Allen’s intelligence, humor, hard work, kindness, and excellence with the written word will be greatly missed by all who had the pleasure of knowing him.
Allen is predeceased by his parents and his brother John. He is survived by his wife Donna, his son Jeffrey Allen Jones and stepson Richard Rodgers, daughters-in-law Alicia Morrison Jones and Tammy Wright, sisters Cynthia Marie Springer and Nancy Annara Homeyer, brother-in-law William Homeyer, his grandchildren Alexis, Ransom, Dominic, Oliver and Nikolai, and closest lifelong friends Mark Trach and Bruce Hamilton. He was predeceased also by his gentle and friendly Lab, Duke of Earl.
Memorial donations may be made to:
The West Virginia Land Trust (www.wvlandtrust.org)
The Cancer Research Institute (www.cancerresearch.org )
Save the Redwoods League (www.SaveTheRedwoods.org)
The Environmental Defense Fund (www.edf.org)