Around the Island

Shelter Island remembers Ben Jones at memorial service


More than 350 people turned out to pay their respects and say goodbye to longtime Island resident Ben Jones at a service held at Our Lady of the Isle Church on Saturday, June 4.

Mr. Jones died in Stuart, Florida on January 14, 2016 at the age of 93. A veteran of World War II, his work as an Emergency Medical Services technician on Shelter Island was exemplary and he provided much guidance and counsel to the younger members who came into the ambulance corps.

Among those taking part in the service at the church were several of Mr. Jones’ friends and family members, including Jay Sterling, Steve Crandall, Marilyn Jones, Anthony Perry, Ted Clark, Doug Jones, Katie Springer and Roxanne Duffy.

During the service, Father Peter DeSanctis recalled a story that took place at the University of Idaho in which Betty Jane Thompson received a call from fellow student and soldier Ben Jones.

“He called to talk to her roommate, and Betty said, ‘She’s engaged to be married,’” recalled Fr. Peter. “So he said, ‘What about you then?’ She said, ‘I don’t play second fiddle to anybody.’”

“Later, Ben asked her to visit him in the college infirmary where he had gone for testing,” Fr. Peter said. “The rest is history.”

Betty and Ben were married for 71 years.

Fr. Peter went on to tell how a few months before his own mother’s death, she became weak while out shopping on the Island and Mr. Jones was called to check on her condition.

“After that, he would telephone me periodically to find out how my mother was doing,” said Fr. Peter. “I know he would do that for anyone.”