John K. Jones, 84: 'Everything was an adventure'

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PORTLAND — John Kinkead Jones died peacefully while holding hands with his devoted wife, Elaine, in Portland on Jan. 17.

The only child of Celtic immigrants, he was raised in upstate New York, attended the University of Michigan and earned a degree of Juris Doctor at SUNY Buffalo.

He served in the Army during the Korean War. A member of Mensa, Jones had an eclectic range of careers, including insurance adjuster, small business owner, carpenter and cabinetmaker.

He was also the director of marketing for the Maine State Department of Agriculture, where he helped develop the farmers market program.

During the 1980s, Jones and his wife traveled the entire state while he photographed all 278 public library buildings. At the urging of many of the librarians Jones created a traveling show called “A Maine Portrait” by adding fact- and history-filled storyboards to his photos.

The show toured the state, after which Jones presented nine 3-ring binders with 1,628 slides of library images to the Maine State Library.

In 2014, Jones was awarded a Lifetime Achievement award from the Maine Health Care Association for his personal and professional accomplishments.

Jones was a gifted writer and lover of words. He wrote “Taylor – A Brief History of a Short Street,” a detailed chronicle of the street he lived on for many years. It outlines the street’s origins in the 1870s, and included a history of each house and the people who lived there, as well as a survey of the West End. While leading tours for Greater Portland Landmarks, Jones got the idea for an annual walk on his birthday and, for 10 years, he strolled through Portland and wrote about each trip. He also wrote dozens of travel essays and hundreds of letters to friends.

It was particularly cruel when, in 2005, Jones said he was having trouble with words and was diagnosed with frontotemporal degeneration and primary progressive aphasia.

Jones enjoyed life and derived great pleasure from a fine glass of wine, pleasant evenings on the porch, a long walk, reading, crosswords, collecting art and cooking. With Jones, everything was an adventure

His family would like to thank the staff at Fallbrook Woods.

Jones is survived by his wife, Elaine; six children, Caragh, Megan, Caitlin, Courtney, John and Alison; their mother, Pam; and eight grandchildren.

Memorial donations may be made to a program for indigenous Panamanian students: or Native Future, 34 Taylor Street, Portland, ME 04102.