AUGUST 19, 2015

Carefree legend - 91 year old WWII Vet, Gerry Jones

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Jones is a self-proclaimed “original Carefree resident” who helped design the town's framework more than 50 years ago. In addition to his local impact, Jones is a highly respected – and largely self-taught – architectural designer with a unique and an inspirational life story.

Jones is being honored with the Semper Fidelis Award at the 2015 Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation’s Arizona Awards Dinner on September 12. The award is presented to those whose service to our nation and community exemplifies the Marine Corps motto to remain “Always Faithful” and demonstrate a recurring commitment to better our society.  

Jones served in the Marine Corps during WWII and the Korean War, and is a Purple Heart recipient. As I mentioned above, he is a noted architect and just this year completed his 317 custom home. A man of many talents, Jones spent serval years lecturing in China, served on the Black Belt Judo Federation for 13 years, and has trained Olympic athletes.

Gerry Jones has led a somewhat unorthodox and incredibly inspirational life. He was born during The Great Depression on a farm in Indiana and starting working the night shift at a local bakery at the young age of 11. A self-taught person, Gerry has diligently studied his many interests for 78 years and in his own words “was blessed with an inquisitive mind, an over-powering urge to learn and a retentive memory.”

Gerry Jones has been a self-employed architectural designer in Arizona for more than 60 years and lectures on his extreme terrain methods to graduate students at the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture. His mountain residences are some of the most sought-after luxury custom homes in the state.

A few of Gerry’s many noteworthy “life experiences” include:

• Six years as a Sergeant in the First Marine Division, USMC, WWII and Korea

• Studied self-defense, Oriental history, philosophy and politics in China

• Trained Marines in self-defense for two years during the Korean War

• Taught professional Judo for 17 years in the U.S.

• Spent 13 years on the National Board of the Judo Black Belt Federation

• Returned to China at the invitation of the Chinese government in 1983 to lecture

• Started a business there, SANDA Technology Company, putting together joint ventures and technology transfers between Western and Chinese industry, 1983 to 1996

• Lectures in China and the U.S. on Theravadian Buddhism, Islam, Oriental Deep Breathing, Chinese Post-Mao Politics, Chinese Contemporary Art and Poetry, World War II Pacific History, Mountain Architecture and self-defense

• In 1990-1991, played a major role in a Chinese documentary filmed by the Chinese People's Liberation Army

• The film, titled "the Great Decisive Battle" was the story of Mao's defeat of Chiang's Nationalist Army in Shandong Province - Gerry lived in China during the period the documentary depicted

• Designed more than 300 mountain residences.