Allen, Hope Jones Sr. celebrating 75 years together

Published 1:40 pm Saturday, July 14, 2018

Allen and Hope Jones Sr. swear their meeting was accidental and not a secretly arranged blind date by friends. Either way, their encounter proved to be a serendipitous one. From that first meeting, the chemistry began to work … and here they are 75 years later.

The couple — 99 and 96 respectively — briefly spoke about their lives during the wedding anniversary party just last Saturday in The Village at Wood’s Edge where they live. There for the celebration were their son, daughter and their respective spouses, Allen and Pat Jones Jr. of Staunton; Judi and John Allen of Roswell, Georgia. Also attending were a grandson, Marshall Jones of Milledgeville, Georgia; and two of Allen Sr.’s siblings and spouses, Bobby and Darlene Allen of Elberton, Georgia; and Velma Grizzle of Fort Mill, South Carolina.

The Joneses remembered first laying eyes on one another at the Miller & Rhodes clock on Broad Street in Richmond. Hope, who is from that city, said she was with her friends; Allen with his while on leave that day from Byrd Field. He was stationed there by the Army/Air Corps.

“We just ran into them,” she said.

“I asked her out that night,” he said. When Hope told him she already had a date that evening, Allen countered, “Break it.” Ever considerate, she stayed firm to her commitment, but did agree to meet the next weekend.

“He looked so good in a uniform,” Hope recalled part of what attracted her to him. “He was easy-going and dad and mom liked him.”

“She looks so pretty,” was Allen’s memory then.

Three months was how long they dated before deciding to get married, she said, adding that the ceremony took place in her parents’ house. Originally, the date was going to be on July 9, then Allen’s military orders came in for pilot training in Florida, which ultimately had them wed five days earlier on July 4.

At the time they met, Hope was employed by C&P Telephone Company, working on some specialized adding machines known as comptometers.

Their son, nicknamed “Buddy,” was born while Allen was overseas in England. His record included 51 combat missions and was awarded eight oak leaf clusters. Allen’s military service was once noted in a New York Times Magazine article, and he appeared on the cover in 1944.

After the war, Allen went to work for Union-Camp Manufacturing in Richmond, and in 1957 was transferred to the Franklin mill.

In addition to being a homemaker, Hope volunteered as one of the “Pink Ladies” at Southampton Memorial Hospital.

Locally, Allen served on the Electoral Board. His skill on the golf course reportedly once got him in “Golf Digest.” At 88 years old, he had lowered his handicap.

An activity they both enjoyed was dancing.

“I taught you to dance,” Hope reminded Allen. He acknowledged that and said, “You gave me a lot of help.”

Another testament to their love and mutual interests: When they celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary, the Joneses were the last couple standing.

Just the other day, they were recognized on the “Today” show for their anniversary.

As with anyone who has remained so devoted, people want to know what “secrets” have kept them going for so long.

“Love” is what Allen believes has been the secret to their longevity.

Hope said, “Communication — as long as the wife has the last word.”