Jonathan Paul Jones died helping to save two boys from drowning, Mount Vernon, Iowa, June 19, 2011. The boys, brothers ages 9 and 6, were wading in the Cedar River close to the bank when they lost their footing and were pulled farther out and downstream by a strong current. In another party at the scene, Jones, 41, student, was fishing from the same bank. He immediately entered the water, swam out to the boys, and established a hold on them, but the boys struggled against him. A woman swam to them from the bank and took the older boy from Jones, and that boy then struggled against her as they were pulled downstream. A man swam to Jones from the bank and pulled the younger boy from him. Jones by then had submerged. The boys were returned to the bank uninjured. Jones’s body was recovered from the river the following day; he had drowned.
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The community came together on June 26, 2011, to celebrate the life of Jonathan “Jon” Jones, 41, of Lisbon, Iowa.
Described throughout the funeral services as being an extremely hardworking, devoted father, son, brother, and friend, the circumstances surrounding Jones’s drowning death at Palisades-Kepler Park were not lingered upon. Instead, Jones’s quick reaction to jump into Cedar River to save two struggling children on June 19, 2011, which also was Father’s Day, was celebrated and described as being the greatest testament to Jones’s selflessness and concern for others.
The Rev. David Dierks described Jones as being the type of man who would leave a lasting impression on everyone he met, with his optimistic “go-getter,” no-excuses attitude and love for those around him. “Would he have jumped back into that water again, knowing what would happen to him?” Dierks asked the mourners. Nods spread across the room: “Absolutely.”
Born on June 13, 1970, in Iowa City, Iowa, Jones graduated from Lisbon High School in 1988. He enjoyed playing cards with friends and NASCAR racing. Jones was most recently studying architecture at ITT College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
(Edited from an obituary in The Gazette, June 27, 2011.)