MALAD – AJay Jones, age 85, of Malad, Idaho, passed away Tuesday morning, May 25, 2010, at his home following a lingering illness. He was born June 17, 1924, in Logan, Utah, to Milton Thomas Jones and Laura Corbridge.
AJay married Betty Larene Bluemer of Richfield, Idaho, in 1946. Their marriage was later solemnized in the Logan LDS Temple.
AJay grew up in the St. John area and attended Malad public schools. He was involved in sports from the time he was able to walk. During his high school years he earned letters in all sports, but his favorite was football. He was on several championship teams and received a football scholarship to attend Southern Idaho College of Education. He attended there for one semester before Uncle Sam called. He spent the next 3 ½ years in the service in the U.S. Army 120th Anti Aircraft Regiment 7th Armored Division 3rd Army under General Patton. He was involved in the Battle of the Bulge. During his tour he saw France, Austria, Germany and Czechoslovakia. As the war ended, he was able to visit the Berchess Garden, which was Hitler’s personal resort.
After his discharge on Dec. 13, 1945, he returned to Southern Idaho College of Education. He continued to play football. While there he married his wife, Betty, and finished his Bachelor of Arts. He later obtained a master’s degree in administration from Idaho State University. After graduation, he taught and coached in several schools around the state. His first job was in Inkom, where he started the high school football program. He taught and coached in Soda Springs and Cambridge. A coaching position became available in 1951, so he and his family decided to move back home. He coached football, JV basketball and track, and started the wrestling program in 1957. After 10 years, another opportunity appeared on the horizon. AJay was offered the job as superintendent of schools back in Cambridge. While attending to his administrative duties, he also found time to organize the wrestling program at Cambridge High School. Following his stay in Cambridge, AJay and family moved to Payette, where he served as a principal, and as no surprise he organized another wrestling program. In 1965, AJay returned to Malad, where he coached wrestling until 1971. He also assisted in the football, track and baseball programs until 1978, when he retired from coaching. In 1982, he went to Richfield as superintendent of schools. He retired in 1989 and returned to Malad. Ajay’s educational and coaching careers spanned 35 years. However, he continued his coaching in offering advice to sons and grandchildren until his time of passing.
In 1989, AJay was awarded the Distinguished Service Award from the Idaho Coaches Association. In 2005, he was honored to be inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.
Throughout his life, he continued to work on the family ranch. Even while living in other parts of the state, he would return to Malad and the farm during the summers.
Ajay’s hobbies included hunting, fishing, and camping with his family. He also loved to spend time at the family cabin in Island Park. Also, you could always find him somewhere in a gym watching basketball or wrestling. He was a longtime member of the American Legion and the Malad Lions Club. He was an active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and fulfilled several callings. His favorite was that of Scout Master in the St. John Ward.
AJay is survived by his wife, Betty of Malad; and sons, Terry (Marsha) of Malad, Barnard (Deberra) of Provo, Utah, and Arne (Cathie) of Malad. He is also survived by 12 grandchildren and 23 great-grandchildren. AJay is survived by four sisters, Lauralie (Don) Carlson, Luann Webb, Judy Powell and Lorana (Darrell) Harrison. He was preceded in death by his parents and one brother, Melvel Thomas Jones.
The funeral will be held at noon Tuesday, June 1, in the Malad 6th Ward building. A viewing will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday, May 31, and from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Tuesday at the Horsley Funeral Home in Malad. Burial will be in the Malad Cemetery.