Rev. Jones was born in Brooklyn, New York, on March 15, 1920, to Walter R. Jones and Anita Dunker Jones. He earned degrees from Brooklyn College in 1941 and Union Theological Seminary in 1945. His seminary education was interrupted when he was called for military service. Although he had sought recognition as a Conscientious Objector, his request was refused and as a result he served a year at the Federal Correctional Institution at Danbury, CT, before he returned to seminary.
During Rev. Jones’ career in the ministry, he served Unitarian and Universalist congregations in Barnstable and Yarmouth Port, MA (1945-1949); Brooklyn and Floral Park, NY (1949-1957); Gloucester and Essex, MA (1957-1963) and Charlottesville, VA (1963-1972.) He accepted the position as Minister of the Foothills Unitarian Church in Fort Collins, CO, in 1972 and was named Minister Emeritus upon his retirement in 1990.
His denominational activities included serving on the Business Committee of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA), as vice chair of the Study Commission on the Free Church in a Changing World and co-author of the section on Ethics and Social Action (1963.) He chaired the UUA Commission on Religion and Race (1963-1967) and participated in the civil rights March on Washington and in Birmingham and Selma, AL, and McComb, MS. From 1983-1985 Reverend Jones chaired the UUA's Committee on Purposes and Principles, which conducted a wide-ranging dialogue from which the UUA's present statement of ethical, theological and social principles developed.
Reverend Jones was awarded an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from Meadville/Lombard Theological School in 1986, where he served as Minister-in-Residence in 1990 after his retirement from Foothills Unitarian Church. He was a guest lecturer at Colorado State University from 1990 to 1992, and taught a course on Unitarian Universalist History and Polity at the Iliff School of Theology in 1994. He was given the Award for Distinguished Service to the Cause of Unitarian Universalism in 1990.
His community service in Fort Collins included volunteering in a variety of capacities with the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, the Community Crisis and Information Center, United Campus Ministry, Larimer County Community Corrections, and serving as Chaplain at the Larimer County Detention Center.
In 1948, Rev. Jones married Mary Elizabeth Lyons with whom he had six children. Two, Catherine Ellen and Thomas Philip, preceded him in death. His surviving children include Walter Royal Jones III, Christine Elizabeth Jones, and Carol Ann Jones Conley (married to Ernest Conley), all of Charlottesville, VA, and Linda Susan Jones Bothe (married to Dieter Bothe) of Fort Collins, CO.
Following the death of his first wife, Roy married Eliza Craddock East in Charlottesville, thereby adding three grown sons to his family, John Samuel Fitch of Boulder, Peter Warner Fitch of Charlottesville, and Julian Robert Fitch now living in Thailand. It was a joyous marriage for them both. His children and step-sons and their spouses gave Roy and Eliza 10 grandchildren (William Henry Conley is deceased), and six great-grandchildren. Eliza Jones died in 2004.
Rev. Jones’ passions were people, ideas, music, and trains. He was a great collector of classical music recordings and had recently returned to studying the piano. He turned the basement of his home into a railroad model exhibit linking the hills of Virginia to the Rockies in Colorado. Thanks to the generosity of model railroad buffs from Fort Collins and Loveland, Roy and his neighbors, family and friends were treated to one final run of the trains to celebrate his 90 birthday.
A Memorial Service was held at the Foothills Unitarian Church. Memorial contributions may be made to the Foothills Unitarian church, in care of Bohlender Funeral Chapel, 121 W. Olive St., Fort Collins, Colorado 80524. Friends may send condolences to the family at bohlenderfuneralchapel.com