Remembering Virgie Jones: Alamo's historian, author, ambassador and friend

Services planned for Sunday, Oct. 17 at the Alamo Women's Club

Virginia V. Jones, known as "Virgie," died Aug. 16 at the age of 92. Mrs. Jones was born in Raymond, Wash. on Nov. 26, 1917. She grew up in Berkeley, and was introduced to Alamo in the spring of 1937 by her fiancé and future husband, Al Jones. It was love at first sight - for both ... Al and Alamo.

The Jones family was a founding family in Alamo, arriving in 1846 - making the choice to continue on when the Donner party chose to wait. Virgie was fascinated by the history of the Jones family's trek to Alamo. It was this early fascination with Alamo and the Jones family history that led her to become "Alamo's historian" and the author of four books. Her first book was "Remembering Alamo ... and Other Things Along the Way" (1975). This was followed by a sequel, "Historical Persons and Places ... in San Ramon Valley" (1977). Virgie moved in as a bona fide Alamo resident in 1948.

Virgie honed her writing skills by writing for the local newspapers. She wrote for the Walnut Kernel from 1953-1958; the Valley Pioneer from 1962-1970 and from 1979-1980; and finally for Alamo Magazine from 1993 until just recently. She was extremely active in local organizations beginning with the Girl Scouts and then joining the Alamo Mothers' Club and the San Ramon Valley Republican Women's Club in 1950 and the Alamo Women's Club in 1953 where she was on the executive board, served as president from 1980-82 and was in her 57th year of membership. She joined the San Ramon Valley Order of Eastern Star and the San Ramonettes in 1954.

In 1959, she joined the Papaya Branch that raised funds for the Children's Hospital Medical Center and also the Tioga Guild that raised funds for John Muir Memorial Hospital. She was a founding member of the San Ramon Valley Historical Society in 1970 and a director with the Contra Costa County Historical Society in 1980. She was an organizer and founding member of the California Writers Club (Mt. Diablo branch) in 1987.

Her community involvement included memberships in the San Ramon Valley Library Committee, the Contra Costa County Jail Study Committee, serving as a trustee for the Alamo-Lafayette Cemetery District and numerous other organizations.

Over the years, she received many awards and commendations including: the Mamie Doud Eisenhower Library Award, the Golden Poet Award (for seven years), and an award from the California State Senate for distinguished and outstanding leadership abilities and initiative for community and state involvements. She received the Citizen of the Day Award from KABL Radio Station in 1979 and was named the Grand Marshall of Alamo's first parade in 1992, and was honored by the Alamo Rotary as Citizen of the Year in 1993.

She was a great helpmate to her husband's organizations' activities as well - including the Chamber of Commerce, the Alamo Dad's Club, the Contra Costa Real Estate Board, the Boy Scouts and many others.

She got the most satisfaction from doing unheralded personal projects for specifically challenged groups. One example was when she headed up a group to make afghans for amputees through Oak Knoll Hospital. Her favorite project was when she personally knit caps for "crack babies" -- a child born to a mother who was a user of crack cocaine during pregnancy -- through John Muir Memorial Hospital. Virgie had a great deal of sympathy for these babies and, in her spare time, she knit woolen caps for them. Each of the caps was unique with a different color scheme than the one before. She spent time each day until she had completed a total of 2,600 individual caps.

Virgie is survived by her son Garrett of Alamo and his wife, Liz, and Virgie's two granddaughters, Jacquelyn, a sixth grade student at Stone Valley School in Alamo; and Jenna Robbert and her husband, Jim, of Boulder, Colorado. Virgie will be buried in the Alamo Cemetery where she will be reunited with her husband, Al. A celebration of her life is scheduled for 2 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 17 at the Alamo Women's Club.

— Emily West


Like this comment
Posted by jeb
a resident of Alamo
on Aug 25, 2010 at 8:22 am

As a nearby neighbor, Virgie, You will be greatly missed. My best to the family.

Like this comment
Posted by jrm
a resident of Vista Grande Elementary School
on Aug 28, 2010 at 10:10 pm

jrm is a registered user.

I never met her but I am very grateful for her books on local history, my goodness, they are a treasure and a great legacy to her and her love of the Jones family. I just checked one out at the library last month. RIP Mrs. Jones and I am glad you are resting with your beloved husband once again...
With Respect-

Like this comment
Posted by Hal Bailey
a resident of Alamo
on Aug 29, 2010 at 9:12 am

Dear Dolores,

Last evening, at a birthday celebration, I had an opportunity to tell a member of Virgie's family of the appreciation of neighborhoods for the guidance she and her family provided neighborhood reps in profiling the history of each Alamo region neighborhood. In response, he noted the many thanks Virgie's family is receiving in her memory.

In this exchange there is a respectful kindness that celebrates Virgie's life and contributions to Alamo. It is appreciated.

Like this comment
Posted by Rose Strohmaier
a resident of Alamo
on Oct 14, 2010 at 12:23 pm

Virgie god bless you & may you rest in peace..

Like this comment
Posted by margie reynolds
a resident of another community
on Feb 6, 2012 at 1:33 pm

I live in Clayton and am the granddaughter in law of Carmen Frank who was born in 1918 in Hayward, married George Frank a founding family member of Clayton and died here in 2009. We have recently had to take care of all her belongings and in it was a book signed personaly by Virgie and given to Carmen in what seems like a personal gift. Its strange I noticed this for there was so much to go through, we liquiated the books in a couple of swoops here and there but this book was left with a couple others after the smoke cleared. I had time then to open it and see the note Virgie had left in it for Carmen and was so thankful it hadn't gone along with the rest. Having become a member of this family with their interest in this town of Clayton and their role in its history I also can appreciate this tie to a place. I appreciate Virgie's want to pass along the history of her family and others who make up the background of a location and the progress to become what it is today and also the work it took to do so in a interesting and detailed way correctly. She sounds like she was a women who loved and was loved much and I know her family and all who knew her will miss her forever. I will always treasure her book.

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