Emotional farewell to David Jones

 Former Fletcher Jones worker Jack Caple pays tribute to the late David Jones.
Former Fletcher Jones worker Jack Caple pays tribute to the late David Jones.
David Jones Jnr speaks about his father at a memorial service at the Warrnambool Art Gallery.

David Jones Jnr speaks about his father at a memorial service at the Warrnambool Art Gallery.

GRIEVING family and close friends of David Jones paid tribute to the man yesterday in a room filled with artworks he donated to the community.

Nine weeks after saying goodbye to his wife Isobel, the many associates of Mr Jones filled the Warrnambool Art Gallery for a memorial service celebrating his life and ongoing legacy.

The son of clothing industry pioneer Sir Fletcher Jones died in Port Fairy hospital on Tuesday aged 76.

With tears in his eyes, David Jones Jnr told the large gathering his father was a voyager through life, on a boundless pursuit to master as many things as he could.

“One of grandpa’s sayings that I only heard for the first time recently, recounted by dad was: ‘You are either on a voyage or a cruise,’ he said. “It is clear to us which one dad was on, permanently.

“He was not on a cruise; he was on a perpetual voyage.

“What stands out for me the most is dad’s almost boundless creative energy.

“He just did not stop.

“He wanted to master things, know all there was to know, make things with his hands, understand how they worked, play with them, and he did.”

He described his late father as a “driven, charismatic, exciting but also a beguiling and frustrating man — maybe enigmatic”.

“He never suffered for a view on something. Always informed, always certain, often right.”

The range of speakers who praised Mr Jones during the service reflected his vast influence in the south-west, which included his philanthropic and community work, his educational service to South West TAFE and Deakin University, and his management of Fletcher Jones.

Mr Jones was a former local government commissioner of Warrnambool City, chairman of the art gallery advisory board, chairman of the South West Institute of TAFE board, YMCA local and national councillor, Rotarian and director of the Australian Wool Corporation and the former wool board.

From his days with Mr Jones at FJs, Terry Simmons spoke of his friend’s passion to take up so many of life’s endeavours.

“There were many Goliaths, but only one David,” he said.

After managing his parents’ philanthropic FJ Foundation, Mr Jones became a generous contributor to community organisations in his own right with the Isobel & David Jones Foundation.

Yesterday, his son said he and his sisters Susan and Anne would now become trustees for the foundation.

“With our new role in mum and dad’s foundation we will actually become closer to this town and region at a more important level.

“For us, this Christmas will be our first without them both.

“We’ve had virtually every Christmas of our lives on the beach at Port Fairy with them, so this year will be sad, but not too sad.

“We’ve got a lot to be happy about.”