A man who was one of the university's closest links with its past has died.
John Thomas Jones, professor emeritus of English, passed away at the University Hospital on February 12. He was 87 years old.
A native of Wales, he came to Edmonton with his family in 1909. On his completion of high school, he enrolled in the University of Alberta and earned an honors BA degree in English in 1921. The following year, he became an instructor in the English department. By 1926 he had completed his MA and was given a two-year leave of absence to attend Oxford University, where he was subsequently awarded an MA degree. On his return to Alberta, he was appointed an assistant professor.
Professor Jones was proud of the part he played as a member and parttime chairman of an alumni committee that raised funds for the building of the pipe organ installed in Convocation Hall in 1925, in memory of the students and graduates who gave their lives in the Great War.
During the Second World War, Professor Jones served in the COTC and later in the regular army. He spent the last three years of the War as an instructor with the rank of captain at basic training camps in Wetaskiwin, Alberta and Nanaimo, B.C. During 1944, while still in the army, he was appointed associate professor. His army experience is reflected in two articles he wrote after the War on military tactics in the novels of Sir Walter Scott.
Professor Jones enjoyed teaching the student veterans who flooded the University after the War. He made friends among them, and they retained their respect and affection for him. Indeed, the way in which friendships he made with students persisted is one of the most interesting aspects of his life. It was not unusual to hear him speaking of having met students from many years past who had taken the time to renew their acquaintance with him.
Professor Jones became a full professor in 1950 and head of the department of English in 1953. He held a strong belief in the importance of the Arts Faculty and of the English department in that faculty. As a consequence, he was a stout defender of both if he felt their positions threatened. While carrying out his administrative duties, he continued to find satisfaction in teaching, especially of his favorite poet, John Milton.
Professor Jones resigned his headship in 1961 and resumed full-time teaching until his retirement in 1964. However he returned to the English department in 1976 to give the Broadus Lectures on "Counting Syllables in English Verse." He dealt with the topic in four lectures, a heavy task for a man of his age. Yet he found great satisfaction in it, and undoubtedly regarded the series as what it indeed was: the culmination of a career of more than 40 years spent in faithful service to the University of Alberta and its students.
Published Summer 1986.