Melvin R. Jones

Feb. 19, 1934 Ė April 16, 2010

Melvin R. Jones, 76, the beloved husband of Marian N. Jones, passed away Friday, April 16, 2010, at the VA Hospital in Milwaukee. Melvin was born in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 19, 1934, the son of Kenneth E. Jones and E. Viola Jones-Geiger.

He is survived by four children, Major Mark R. Jones, Matthew R. (Kim) Jones, Beth A. Latourelle and Grace A. (Tim) Page; seven grandchildren, Matthew K., Jenna G. and Tyler D. Latourelle, Adam C. and Cody R. Page, Madeline R. and Dylan K. Jones; three sisters, Francis Kershlis, Roberta Zilltrower and Mary Lou (Jim) Schwartz; a brother, Robert W. (Mildred) Geiger; and numerous nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his brothers, Kenneth, Ray and George Jones and John Geiger; and a sister, Doris Yancey.

Mel received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Florida Southern College in Lakeland, Fla., in political science and journalism, a masterís degree from Boston University in international relations and a second masterís degree from Marquette University in mass communication.

Mel served as an enlisted soldier and later as an officer in the U.S. Army, retiring after 23 years of service in 1977 as a lieutenant colonel. His military career included two tours in Vietnam, service as a speech writer and press aide to the secretary of the Army, and induction into the U.S. Army Public Affairs Hall of Fame in 2000. He also received the Wilbur Wright award in 1964 from the Aviation Space Writers Association for dissemination of public information for the U.S. Army during the Cuban missile crisis. An avid writer, Mel has had numerous articles published in newspapers and magazines. His longer published works include a book of poetry, "In the Eye of the Storm," and two non-fiction books, "Above & Beyond: Eight Great American Aerobatic Champions" (1984) and he co-authored "A Silent Song, the Aitken Brothers Hollywood Odyssey 1905-1926" (2000), with his father-in-law, Al P. Nelson. He also wrote the U.S. Army Public Affairs Handbook, which is still in use today, and was the founder and editor of the Observer, the first authorized military publication in Southeast Asia. Melís writing endeavors in the military included being a reporter, editor, speech writer, press aide and public affairs officer. He taught journalism and creative writing classes at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Marquette University. He was a former president of the Raconteur Writing Club. In addition to being a freelance writer, Jones was president and CEO of a public relations and marketing agency until his retirement in 2000.

He was a member of the American Legion, Disabled American Veterans, Lake Country Rotary Club in Hartland and the First Presbyterian Church of Ottawa.

Visitation will be held from 4 p.m. until the 7 p.m. funeral service Wednesday, April 21, at Schmidt & Bartelt Notbohm-Kreutzmann Funeral Home, 121 S. Cross St., Oconomowoc, followed by private services Thursday, April 22.

Memorials can be directed to First Presbyterian Church of Ottawa, the Rotary Foundation and the Wisconsin Regional Writers Association-Al P. Nelson Feature Article Writing Contest.

Schmidt & Bartelt Notbohm-Kreutzmann Funeral and Cremation Services is serving the family. For more information, call 567-4459 or visit online at