Updated: Jimmie Jones, San Juan Island's Mr. Christmas, dies
July 23, 2008 · Updated 7:45 AM
Funeral was Tuesday at 1 p.m. at Valley Cemetery for Jimmie Jones.
His granddaughter told The Journal today that he died Monday. He was 89.
Jones, a 36-year island resident who still retained a bit of a Midwest/Southern drawl, was known as Mr. Christmas because of his generosity. In his heyday, he would don a Santa's elf cap and collect donations in a yellow bucket on Spring Street. He used the proceeds to meet islanders' needs during the year. His efforts were immortalized in the book, "You Know You're An Islander When ..." In the book, authors Jan Jameson and Jeanie Rouleau Burns wrote, "You Know You're An Islander When ... you've got Jimmie Jones on speed dial."
Mr. Christmas also helped start the Easter egg hunt at Jackson's Beach.
Scott Rasmussen wrote this about Jones in an April 2007 edition of The Journal.
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It was about 20 years ago -- Jones was tending bar at Herb's Tavern at the time -- and a young woman walked into the tavern and sat down on a barstool. Jones already had earned a reputation as Mr. Christmas in Friday Harbor because of his enthusiastic embrace of the holiday. That's why the woman, he believes, sought him out to express her concern about the lack of a community-wide Easter egg hunt on San Juan Island.
The former fighter pilot and WWII veteran, who moved from Seattle to Friday Harbor in 1972, always has made the most out of his connections. He decided to spring into action.
"I called the fire department and said 'You know, nothing goes on around here for Easter," he said. "I told them that you got a lot of resources and a lot of help we could use. I told them that I'll buy the eggs."
Jones recalls that the owner of Whitey's grocery agreed to sell him 30 dozen eggs at cost. The fire department agreed to dye the eggs and hide them among the driftwood at Jackson's Beach.
And the rest, as they say, is history.
"I can get things done," he said. "That's cause people will help out if they have somebody to push them a little bit."
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After Jones retired and moved to Islands Convalescent Center, he was escorted to the Easter egg hunts by the Friday Harbor Fire Department. He also rode his motorized scooter in the Friday Harbor Fourth of July Parade.