Larry Richard Jones was born Sept 11, 1937 in the Mitchell Co. Hospital to Delmont Emery Jones and Wilma Avanelle Rathbun.
His schooling began in the Paris country school in Battle Creek Township, Lincoln County, KS. When Paris closed, he transferred to Lincoln grade school for the 4th grade, and graduated from Lincoln High School with honors in 1955. Larry excelled in sports and academics. Football was his favorite. Lincoln was in a league with large schools such as Beloit, Marysville, Belleville, Concordia. Basketball had him listed as the tallest player in the league. Many good game memories. Class reunions were a time for the guys to relive the games.
Larry’s father, Delmont, was a Custom Wheat Harvester, so Larry spent every summer of his youth traveling from Munday, TX to Dickinson, ND following the wheat harvest. His father and uncles Melvin, Roosevelt and Lester were members of the Million Acre Harvest Brigade during WWII. They were awarded 4 of the 500 new Massey Harris self-propelled combines that were allowed to be built. They signed contracts that required them to cut 2,000 acres of wheat with each machine. Needless to say, Larry ended up on a combine at a very young age. He counted that he ran a combine 67 years in a row. He had a vivid memory of being at Mt. Rushmore when the war ended. A woman came screaming out of a gift shop, “The War is over!”
Delmont took him to his first movie, “30 Seconds Over Tokyo”, at the theater in Barnard, KS.
After marriage to Charlene Lonberger in 1956, the summers of custom harvesting ended and, at the age of 18, Larry stayed home to take care of the farm full time which had been neglected during the many years of being gone all summer custom cutting wheat. He loved planting time and harvest time. Larry was an engineer without a degree. He designed and built many devices and projects that facilitated the farming operation. He loved to keep the farm machinery updated. He liked new paint.
Three children joined the union, Randy, Eric and Lisa. All of them joined the harvest run with Grandad Delmont when they were old enough. This was every summer until they all graduated from college. When Delmont lost his best help, he retired.
In his early years, Larry was an avid trapper and hunter. He trapped muskrat, beaver and mink and taught his daughter Lisa to hunt and trap. He spent a lot of years trapping with Big Rich from Barnard. Larry was very skilled at skinning and stretching furs.
During the 1970’s Larry developed a new interest, thanks to Lowell Vonada. Amateur Radio was a brand new world for him and he dived into it heart and soul. Learning the Morse code, passing the Novice test, then the General test on up to the Extra Class. Earning the call of wb0pkm. He spent many hours making contacts around the world – even the South Pole, building equipment, putting up antennas, teaching code classes. He encouraged many young amateurs to get their license, including his grandson Wynter who passed his Technician exam while in high school. Antennas were Larry’s specialty. He was installing a Long Wire Antenna, 5,000 feet in length in the pasture, and while it was still attached to the Ford Tractor at the Mitchell County Line, he made a radio contact in Great Britain. Word soon got around in the Radio World that a Ham in Barnard, KS was using a Ford Tractor attached to the wire winder as an antenna. He made lots of contacts with that one! Many evenings were spent talking with his “Ham buddies”, located in KS, NE, OK, TX, NM. They watched ballgames together, troubleshooting equipment, etc. all the while talking to each other on the radio from their ham shacks. They also gave him the moniker of wb0/ Pure Kansas Manure of Barnyard, KS. The Annual Ham Get Together at Betty’s in Barnard was a fun time for the group to have an eyeball QSO.
Later years the evenings were spent hobnobbing with the boys on 160 meters. Bob Rawson, Doyle Scott, Gary DeBey, Butch Bussen, Kent Clark, Fred Gilmore, Jim Stewart, Max Wallace, Jeremy Wiebke and others from out of state.
He also caught the Fishing Fever. Off to Lake Wilson or Waconda every chance he could get away, on his own or with a fishing buddy. Son Eric, Stan Crawford, Phil Wilkerson, Kent Clark. His health problems slowed that down. His last fishing trip was with son Randy, son-in-law Jim and nephew Russ. More good memories.
Uncle Dale Rathbun and Larry could fill a book with the escapades and crazy times they had coon hunting over the years. There was no better entertainment than getting those two together and then let the stories begin.
Larry and Charlene enjoyed traveling and made yearly trips to the Southwest and went on many ski trips with friends and family. They sailed through the British Virgin Islands on the “Nip and Tuck” with Steve and Joni Kroll.
Larry passed away June 21, 2023 with burial in Prairie Grove Cemetery. He is survived by his wife Charlene, son Randy (Karla), daughter Lisa Wiebke (Jim). Three grandchildren Matt Jones (Alisha), Mariah Greif (Garrett), Wynter Wiebke. Two great-grandchildren, Demi and Lawson Greif. Brothers Dean and Gary Jones. Brothers-in-law Kenton Lonberger and Stephen Kroll. Sisters-in-law Karen Ruby, Joni Kroll, Luanne Lonberger and many nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents Delmont and Avanelle, son Eric, sisters-in-law Phyllis Lonberger, Ellen Jones, Bonnie Jones.
A gathering for friends and family will be held Saturday, July 22 at 2:00 pm at the Barnard Community Building. Larry’s choice for a Memorial is the Barnard Lions Club Scholarship.