Obituary: Mae Jones
March 31, 1933 – April 2, 2023
Mary Alice “Mae” Lorang Jones passed away on April 2, 2023, two days after her 90th birthday. She moved to Summit County in 1973 and co-founded Wilderness Sports in 1976.
Mae was born on a working farm in rural northern Idaho during the Great Depression. She adored her father, who raised 11 children mostly by himself. She was shaped by both the Depression and World War II, recalling fondly how her father would conserve scrap metal and forego certain kinds of food in support of the war effort. Mae could not bear a plate with food left on it at the end of a meal.
She often said that women in the 1950s had three professions to choose from—teacher, secretary, and nurse—and true to her caring nature, she chose the latter. As an RN, Mae worked across the United States and eventually in Germany, where she met an Army Lieutenant named Tom Jones. They married in 1962 and had one child, Tom Jr., in 1965.
Tom (Sr.) was a Colorado native, and Mae followed him back to his home state in 1971, where she continued to work as a nurse even as she helped Tom launch Wilderness Sports in 1976. As the shop grew and thrived, Mae eventually left nursing altogether to be the familiar, friendly face of the business in Silverthorne’s Summit Place Shopping Center.
Mae gradually retired in the early 2000s to spend more time hiking throughout the Gore Range and the rest of Colorado, volunteering with the women’s organization PEO, and attending cultural events. She seemed to want everyone to be happy and did her part to make it so. The care Mae provided to her immediate family and extended family of siblings and nieces and nephews was incomparable.
Mae loved Summit County. She cross-country skied in the winter and hiked throughout the summer, naming every wildflower along the way. She attended the National Repertory Orchestra concerts each summer with excitement and anticipation. Mae made friends wherever she went, her radiant smile, open demeanor, and true interest in others’ lives apparent from the first hello.
Mae’s consistent response to “I love you” was “I love you more.” In early April, her son and daughter-in-law visited her at her care facility in South Denver. The staff had called to say she had taken a turn for the worse. After a nice visit, when it was time to go, son Tom leaned in and said, “I love you, Mom.” Her eyes were closed, but she replied, “I love you more.” Thirty minutes later, she passed away peacefully.
Mae’s generosity and joyful love of people stay with all of us.
A memorial service for Mae will be held on Saturday, September 16, 2023 at 2:00 p.m. at Summit Assembly in Bluebird Market, 325 Blue River Parkway, Silverthorne. All are welcome.
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