On August 6th 2022 Robert Paul Jones Jr., aged 65, of LaPlata MD passed away peacefully, surrounded by his loved ones after a courageous nine-month fight against metastatic non-small cell lung cancer.
Robert was born on September 25th 1956, at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington DC, to parents Robert Jones Sr. and Ethelene Chew. He was the eldest of four, sibling to Cynthia, John and Lisa. The first six months of his life were spent living at his grandmother’s Forest Heights home before his family moved to Joliet Street in Washington, DC. His family then moved to Kennebec Street in Glass Manor before they settled on Ellsworth Place in 1969. Robert attended school at St. Thomas More Catholic School and Oxon Hill Junior High before moving on to Oxon Hill High School where he graduated as part of the Class of 1974. While in high school, Robert parked his corvette near doors that opened from the print shop and did burnouts, which frequently led to him being chased across the campus by Mr. Porter and Mr. Magee.
In his younger years, Robert had a paper route near his childhood home where he earned and saved enough money to buy his first corvette when he was just fifteen. After the paper route he was temporarily employed locally by McDonalds, Mobil Gas Station and Goodyear Tire. He was let go from Mobil after being caught using their lifts late at night to wrench on race cars. He then worked for Columbia Planograph Printing Company in Washington DC before he left to work for Safeway. He worked at several local Safeway stores before retiring from the LaPlata location as an Assistant Manager with thirty-plus years of service. He continued to work focused on his business Perfection Lawn & Landscape. Through his business he won multiple Beatification Awards from the Charles County Garden Club in partnership with the Charles County Commissioners for his work at St. Mary’s Star of the Sea School, Church and Rectory. It was at St. Mary Star of the Sea Church in Indian Head, MD where he artfully designed, constructed and cared for a serene pond, finished with beautiful fish and seating, that was surrounded by meticulously maintained flowers and foliage. He enjoyed working with flowers also having built flower beds at the school where they would then thrive and flourish. He took pride in his business.
Robert married the love of his life and life-long companion, Sheryl, on October 6th 1984 at St. Ignatius Church in Oxon Hill MD. In December 1983 they purchased their first home which became their forever home on Ripley Road in LaPlata MD where he spent his entire adult life. His racing operation took over and ultimately outgrew their attached garage giving him reason to add the infamous “big green garage.”
Robert welcomed his three daughters Lauren, Jessica and Katharine into the world in 1988, 1990 and 1993 respectively and later welcomed his three grandchildren Andrew Jr., Madison and Sarah West in 2018, 2020 and 2022 respectively.
Robert believed that his three daughters were his biggest accomplishment. He sacrificed to send them to Catholic school and ensured they were raised through Christ. He drank his coffee at the end of his driveway each morning and made sure they got onto the bus safely. He learned advanced techniques of girl's hair, mastering the braid in addition to the everyday brushing and ponytail. He became a Dance Dad, a Soccer Dad, a Softball Dad, a Swim dad and a Field Hockey Dad. He taught them to catch spiders with a drinking-glass and paper to then simply take them back outside. He wouldn’t let them fear an innocent animal. He helped them hold snakes and bugs and taught them to love all God’s creatures the same. As his daughters grew he continued to be their protector, wielding a double-barrel shotgun next to the front door. He became their driving instructor, their significant other approver or disapprover and he learned to jokingly help them cope with their mood swings and breakups. When they made mistakes or got into trouble, he loved them still, supported them and forgave them. He became their financial advisor as he helped them to build credit and instilled in them the importance of financial planning and security. He became their co-signer and lender. He was there, each and every time they moved, with his red Ford dually pick-up truck ready to cart their belongings up and down highways and across state lines. He proudly pinned his oldest daughter, Lauren, as part of her Nurse Pinning Ceremony. As they one by one finished college he cheered as they each received their degrees. Lauren earned a Master of Science in Anesthesia from Georgetown University in 2015 after a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Maryland in 2010, Jessica a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Towson University in 2014 having completed some of her coursework at Coastal Carolina University and most recently Katharine as she received a Bachelor of Science in Marine Science with honors from Coastal Carolina in May of this year. He took Lauren to Frank Hawley’s Drag Racing School and watched her license for NHRA.
Robert cherished and loved his grandchildren. To them he was “Pop-Pop.” He enjoyed taking them for rides on his golf cart, his John Deere lawn mowers and his Kubota tractors. He shared with them his replica cars and tractors before it was popsicle-time after which they jumped into his lap to nap or watch TV.
Robert was a motorhead. He bought his first Corvette at fifteen. He went on to own several cars and motorcycles, including multiple Corvettes, Chevelles, a Cutlass, other Oldsmobiles, Porsches and Kawasaki motorcycles. He once jumped onto a plane with an at-the-time girlfriend landing in Nebraska, bought a motorcycle and toured the country driving down to Texas before returning home. He put a five-speed manual transmission in his mother’s car that he called “The Oldsmobile.” He raced everything he drove and preferred the days at the drag-strip before electronics and automatics took over. He and close friends transformed a 1967 Chevelle into a long-term racecar he and Jeff Wells shared. Robert owned a variety of dirt bikes, boats and a snowmobile. He wrecked a Suburban on Oxon Hill Road while transporting the snowmobile in the back of the suburban but a turn caused the snowmobile to shift and turned the Suburban on its side. He went on to own multiple more Suburbans and a variety of Jeeps. He had a fleet of Chevettes that he would get running just in time to race them through the woods every year on Labor Day Weekend. In 2002 he purchased his 1963 Tommy Mauney Corvette, complete with 638 inches under the front end, that he raced in Top Sportsman. When drag racing continued to evolve and rendered manual transmissions obsolete, year after year he refused to give up at least manually shifting gears. He bought and sold numerous vehicles but held onto his race cars, his yellow 1970 Stingray Corvette, his two diesel Ford trucks and any Jeep that would survive. He did buy himself a new car in 2017 and liked to point out that he never once owed a car payment.
In his younger years Robert ran on the streets frequenting 295 and Cider Bed Road in Lorton, VA. He raced at local tracks including Colonial Beach, Capitol Raceway, Sumerduck Dragway, 75-80 Dragway, Suffolk Raceway and Maryland International Raceway. He traveled the country competing with the National Motorcycle Racing Association, International Hot Rod Association, National Hot Rod Association, American Drag Racing League and Professional Drag Racers Association.
Robert had a soft spot for animals and a long list of fur-children. Growing up he had fish, hamsters, a Ferret named General, snakes and a duck in addition to cats and dogs. Once on Ripley, he adopted Lambert, a white German Shepherd, Lillybelle, a feral Calico cat who and then Shania, a mixed-breed likely Doberman-Rottweiler mix. After the original three he became a cat dad to a number of felines, most notably Tom, Meow, Derp, Stealth and Toudie, and then his current kitty-boys Oscar and Moo. He also still had a turtle. Robert was often found laid back in the recliner in the living room with one, sometimes two or more cats comfortably resting on his lap. And if he happened to be outside, in the rocking chair in the Florida room and a random squirrel, raccoon, possum or cat would come in, he would pet and feed them too.
Until surgery interrupted his plans last year, Robert had vacationed to Garden City, SC every summer of his life. It was there where he spent a week, more often two, with his family as they rented a house on the ocean. Simply being out on the beach, searching for shark teeth and swimming in the ocean was enough for him but it was also there that he frequented the Garden City Pavilion and Arcade with his daughters before visiting the Yum Yum Shoppe for ice cream. He would pick one day out of the vacation week/weeks each year, drive down to Georgetown where he bought fresh shrimp and prepared a shrimp feast. He loved to feed the seagulls, buying snacks specifically for them and when it was too early or too late to be on the beach he sat on the porch and simply watched and listened to the waves.
Robert enjoyed so many things. He enjoyed being on the water and deep sea fishing. He was interested in U.S. history and enjoyed visiting military-related landmarks. He enjoyed planes and helicopters as they flew overhead so much that he would drive down near Reagan National Airport, park and lay in the field watching planes take off and land. He loved anything chocolate but mostly chocolate cake with chocolate icing, medium-rare or a good rare steak, peanuts and pistachios, Hovermales and DQ soft serve ice cream, Maryland crabs, Makers Mark and then more recently Buffalo Trace whiskey, cookouts and his famous steamed shrimp. He loved the color red, Thrasher's French Fries, mushrooms of any variety, Twizzlers, Krispy Kreme Donuts so long as the Hot Light was on, fleece-lined crocs, oversized winter hats, duct tape and writing notes about anything on everything in Sharpie. He would not give up his AOL email account. He liked old U.S. money and collected blue dollars and high denomination bills. It wasn’t possible for him to watch American Hustle or the Proposal too many times. He loved Jennifer Anniston and he could recite every line word-for-word in How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days.
Robert was a planner. He had a sign, “Notice: Lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part.” Whenever something was asked of him at the last minute he would point to the sign. Soon after he pointed to the sign though, he would turn to put on his shoes and take one more sip of his coffee before doing whatever was needed. When it was time to go somewhere he would sit, ready to leave, at the dining table and when he had enough of everyone else taking too long to get ready he twirled his finger in a circle in the air and said “round ‘em up.” He insisted on hand-written directions and planned stops for car trips. When Mapquest became a thing he printed out directions and included helpful hints of his own in the margins. More recently he fell in love with the in-car GPS functionality. He demanded that addresses be entered into the onboard GPS instead of using GoogleMaps on his phone. When he made decisions he would often “piddle” over them, exhausting each and every last possibility but when he reached a conclusion, he was generally right. He questioned any decision not made by himself and would question it so much that you either gave in and said “You know what Robert (Dad) you’re right” or continued to argue with him to which he would reply with something sly like “Well, what makes you an expert?” He pushed buttons and drove his friends and family crazy at times but that was who he was. He was authentic. He made you laugh. His smile was contagious.
Above all Robert had an enormous heart. He was more sensitive than he would have ever outwardly admitted. He was kind and compassionate. He cared enormously. He loved endlessly. He loved his family. He loved animals. He loved plants and flowers. He loved race cars and motorcycles. He loved his friends. Robert loved and was so tremendously loved.
Robert is survived by his wife Sheryl, his daughters Lauren (Charles), Jessica (Andrew), and Katharine and his grandchildren Andrew Jr., Madison and Sarah. Robert is survived by his mother Ethelene Chew and preceded in death by his Father Robert Jones Sr. (Betty Jones), and his step-father Roland Chew. Robert is survived by his siblings Cynthia Summers (Ronald), John Jones( Ana), David Haun(Connie) and preceded in death by his youngest sister Lisa Lachenmayer (John). He is also survived by many nieces and nephews, a close group of friends and was preceded in death by his best friend Jeffrey Wells.
In lieu of flowers donations can be made to:
Last Chance Animal Rescue
8500 Bensville Road
Waldorf, MD 20601
Liu Lung Cancer Research Fund
Department Number 0734
Washington, DC 20073-0734
In memo L\ine of check please write "Liu Lung Cancer Research Fund"
Alternatively donations can be online. The link is below, Search for "other" and type in "Liu Lung Cancer Research Fund"
Lung Cancer Research Foundation
A Celebration of Life for Robert P Jones, Jr. will take place on Monday, August 15th 2022 from 4:00-7:00pm at Arehart-Echols Funeral Home of LaPlata, MD.
A Funeral Mass will take place on Tuesday, August 16th 2022 at 1:00pm at St. Mary’s Star of the Sea Church in Indian Head, MD.
Following the Funeral Mass, Internment will take place also on Tuesday, August 16th 2022 at 3:00pm at Trinity Memorial Gardens in Waldorf, MD.
Following the Internment, Fellowship will be hosted also on Tuesday August 16th 2022 beginning at 4pm at the LaPlata Firehouse. All are welcome.
Addresses for the service locations are:
Arehart-Echols Funeral Home
211 St. Mary's Ave
La Plata, MD 20646
St Mary's Star of the Sea
August 16, 2022 1:00pm
30 Mattingly Avenue, E
Indian Head, MD 20640
Trinity Memorial Gardens
3221 Mattawoman Beantown Rd.
Waldorf, MD 20601
La Plata Firehouse
911 Washington Ave
La Plata, MD 20646
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and one Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16.