Homer Alaska - Obituaries

Story last updated at 2:02 PM on Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Dora A. Jones


Dora A. Jones

April. 13, 1929-Nov. 20, 2011

Longtime Homer resident Dora A. Jones, 82, died peacefully Nov. 20, 2011, at South Peninsula Hospital in Homer after a prolonged illness.

Dora was born April 13, 1929, in Glogau, Germany, to Friedrich and Elise Mattheus, the second youngest of eight siblings. She spent her childhood in Glogau until the Soviet Red Army besieged the city for six weeks in 1945, destroying 95 percent of the city. She became a German refugee and lost her father and both brothers during World War II. All German citizens were expelled from Glogau after the war and the city was relinquished to Poland, ending any hope for her return to her former home. As a refugee she survived brutal hardships of starvation and disease. Dora also was wounded during the war but rescued by American soldiers. This experience formed a confidence and resiliency that she carried with her throughout her life.

One of Dora's sisters met an American soldier during the U.S. invasion of Germany. Her sister told her that this American had a brother who had just returned from the war in Japan and was living in the U.S. Dora began exchanging letters with his brother. That brother was Wayne Jones. During the rebuilding of Germany after the war, Dora worked at various factories in Germany while keeping in touch with Wayne in Alaska. Dora always had a longing for adventure, and an opportunity came in the form of love and a chance at lasting friendship. Wayne invited Dora to come to Alaska and marry him. She accepted, arriving in Anchorage from Zurich on Feb. 14, 1954. Their marriage on Feb. 18, 1954, became a city sensation and was featured on the front page of the Anchorage Times with the headline "Homesteader marries German girl."

Dora and Wayne settled on his homestead in Happy Valley. Dora applied for and received her U.S. citizenship on Feb. 25, 1958. She lived on the homestead until 1960. Teaching herself English and learning the rustic Alaska way of life while her husband traveled for his work with the FAA throughout Alaska, she also planted a garden, canned their food and placed her baby in a Blazo box for his first bed.

After living in Anchorage for a few years they permanently moved to Homer in 1962. They bought the little blue house on Homer Hill, an iconic landmark where a cannon sits on the lawn. In the early 70s, Dora worked at Alaska Seafoods on the Homer Spit as the floor manager and made many wonderful life-long friends. Dora's greatest passion was her family and of course, her grandchildren, but she also kept herself busy with knitting for her family, gardening, fishing, travel and woodworking. She created all the trim, fencing, interior work and all the birdhouses that surrounded her home.

Dora always had a pioneering spirit and met challenges head-on. Her adventurous and playful spirit was felt by those around her through her candid honesty and constant willingness to laugh and keep a smile on her face. She will be sorely missed by all who have had the pleasure of knowing her.

Dora is preceded in death by her son Vinal "VJ" Jones. She is survived by Wayne Jones, her husband of 57 years; son and daughter-in-law Dwayne and Kim Jones and grandchildren Isaac and Simon Jones of Kenmore, Wash.; daughter and son-in-law Etta and Angelo Toci and grandchildren AJ and Amanda Toci of Anchor Point; grandchild Mariah Simpson and great-grandchildren Justice, Liberty, Tobias and Titus Simpson, all of Florida. She also is survived by many family members in Germany, and in particular her only remaining sibling, Hildegard Rosner of Neuhausen, Germany.

There are no services planned at this time. Dora's ashes will be laid to rest at a later date at the family's homestead in Happy Valley. Condolences may be sent to the Jones Family, P.O. Box 272 Homer, AK 99603.