Marilee Templeman Jones
My mother, Marilee Templeman Jones, departed this life on October 25, 2019, after battling pancreatic cancer. She was 78. My mother was preceded in death by her mother and father, Robert and Virginia Templeman; her mother and father-in-law, Arthur and Wilma Jones; and brother-in-law, Bob Felsted. She is survived by her husband of 55 years, Don W. Jones; son, Brian Christopher Templeman Jones and his wife, Kandye; grandchildren, Victoria Kathryn Jean and Brian Christopher Templeman Jones II; sister, Ann Felsted; niece, Kathy Felsted Usher and her husband, Tom; grandniece, Becky Usher Burton and her husband, John; grandnephew, Sean Usher; and great-grandniece, Taylor Usher.
There will be a celebration of her life from 6-8 p.m. November 8, 2019, at the Huntsville Botanical Gardens. In lieu of flowers, please consider a contribution in her name to Hospice Family Care.
On December 7, 1940, while the rest of the country was anxiously watching the invasion of Europe, the town of Bethany, Missouri, was awash with the joy of Robert and Virginia Templeman's youngest child being born. My mother's birth even made the Kansas City Star, wherein the newspaper reporter who interviewed my aunt captured her exclamation that the family intended to keep this newest child!
Growing up in Bethany, when not lifeguarding at the city pool, my mother was engaged in almost every activity available with her friends. Upon her graduation from high school, she enrolled in the Colorado Women's College and later transferred to the University of Missouri. My mother thoroughly enjoyed college except for that early morning math class. Whether it be her friends at Chi Omega or the summer where she skipped school to work at Yellowstone, she made the most of the experience before she graduated with a degree in English.
Graduation was the springboard for my mother and her friends to set off on a road trip through Europe in a VW bug. My mother had countless stories of buying the VW overseas and the girls driving all through the different countries seeing the sites while living in the car.
Upon her return from Europe, my mother moved to Denver, Colorado, to begin her teaching career in the Denver City School System. Living in Denver was a very exciting time in her life. She was living the high life, teaching, living with friends in a high-rise condominium, and taking advantage of all the things a big city can offer.
A chance encounter with a young man who had hitchhiked across the county would change my mother's life forever. Don W. Jones and Russ Rainey hitchhiked from Rolla, Missouri, to Denver, Colorado, in the dead of winter to see Russ' girlfriend, Fran. Fran was my mother's roommate, and the two women soon found themselves being wined and dined and shown the town. At the end of the date, my mother had to sell my father's clothes to pay the tab.
Now you would think going on a blind date with a lanky kid from Rolla who wore jeans and was so broke he had to hitchhike and sell his clothes to buy dinner would deter any type of long-term romance. Ironically, this chance encounter lasted 55 years.
My mother and father were married in Bethany on September 5, 1964. The day of the wedding brought epic rains to such extent that the church flooded, prompting my grandmother to exclaim "even God is against this wedding." Other family members, however, were more optimistic, as the wagers were placed that the marriage would last no more than six weeks. As a honeymoon, "Fat Boy and Sweetums" drove to their new home and new jobs in Huntsville, Alabama.
It is in Huntsville that my mother continued her teaching career at Lee High School, where she would begin to make even more friends that would last her entire life. As a newly married couple, my parents entertained a lot and began to build a network of friends who, as they read this column, will surely reminisce of the good times they had when they were all "just starting out."
On November 1, 1967, my mother embarked on her most challenging and (hopefully) rewarding endeavor that weighed 10 pounds and was 24 inches long. I am an only child, so I guess she got it right the first time. My mother spent the rest of her life making sure I was prepared for life's ups and downs. My mother was a feminist, and as her only male child, she was determined to teach me how to properly treat other people. I can cook, wash clothes, sew on a button, and I like to buy clothes for Kandye because of my mother. I am an Eagle Scout, a college graduate, a law school graduate and the District Attorney because of my mother. I know "i before e except after c," and I know I have used entirely too many commas and run-on sentences in this column. I know it is not proper to go barefoot in Parisians and not to throw rocks at Jean Wessel's car. All because of my mother.
My mother was a force of nature. Anyone who knew her can tell you. She loved her family with sheer ferocity. She loved her friends and cherished the memories as each friendship threaded its way through her life. She enjoyed a good party, a properly made margarita and the occasional Kool menthol.
Despite being ill in the end, my mother lived a very full life. I am very thankful my dad was there to take care of her until the end. I am very thankful for her many friends. I am very thankful one of her last "good" days was spent with Kandye and Christopher. Most importantly, I am very thankful despite my hard head, I got her message. My mother's eternal legacy will be the recording in my head that I repeat almost daily to my children, and in time, they to their children. It is almost impossible to summarize a person's life in a single column. That's where every person who reads this or hears my voice is going to help me spread her legacy. Tell the funny stories. Tell the not so funny stories because life is full of both. Cherish my mother's memory. Hug your mother and father and tell them you love them. Hug your spouse, your children and your grandchildren and tell them you love them, too. Life goes by pretty fast.
I love you, Mom.

-Submitted by Limestone County District Attorney Brian C.T. Jones.
Published on October 31, 2019

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