Featured Resident – Neva Jones
Nita and Neva were born in New Albany, KS, to Clifford and Blanche Morris. Neva was five minutes younger than Nita, who never let her forget it. Neva also had two younger sisters. Neva’s father worked as a farm hand and therefore the family moved around quite a bit. When Neva was twelve years old, her parents divorced. Her uncle moved the girls and their mother to Eureka, KS, and got them settled. The girls didn’t have bikes and so they enjoyed walking everywhere and exploring as they went. Neva started working in sixth grade. She helped out at a nursing home across the street from her house. She also started babysitting. As the girls got older, they enjoyed going to the local dances.
Neva quit school her junior year and moved with a friend to Independence. She went to work for Sears and Robuck. Her friend’s husband was in the service. When he came home, Neva moved back home to Eureka and started working in a local restaurant.
She continued going to the dances every Saturday night. One Saturday, she met Eldon Jones. She was 17. He was 19 and just out of the Marines. His family all knew her family but these two just hadn’t met. It was love at first sight and he even went and met her mother that very evening. After dating for three months, they married in February of 1947.
Eldon worked for the highway crew and the couple moved to Humboldt, KS. After two years, Eldon decided they needed extra money and so he started working the wheat harvest. Neva moved back home to Eureka and started managing a local motel. She was 8 months pregnant at the time. Jack was born in December 1947.
Eldon went to work at the grain elevator and they stayed at the motel. He eventually got a job managing the gas station across the street from the motel. In the evenings, Eldon would watch Jack and the motel while Neva would work at the restaurant up the road. Eldon went to work delivering packages in town that came into the Santa Fe Depot. In 1953, they welcome their daughter, Darlene. Two years later they had Nita Kay. And then Marjorie was born in 1958 and Peggy Jo in 1963. In 1964, they bought a house and moved to Fall River.
In 1966, the family relocated to Holt, MO. Eldon opened a welding shop called Jones Welding and Neva went to work at First National Bank in downtown Kansas City. Her boss told her she needed to get her GED. So Neva went to Maple Woods Community College and got her GED. They moved to Kearney in 1973. She would come home from work and then go next door to the shop and help out there. Eldon had COPD due to smoking and all the welding he had done and had to quit working. Neva retired from the bank in 1989 after 22 years. They finally had to close the shop in 1994. Neva stayed home and took care of Eldon until his death in 2003.
She enjoyed genealogy – researching both families- and traveling. She enjoyed going to Oklahoma and staying with her twin sister until she lost her in 2016.
Neva started volunteering at the Senior Center after Eldon’s death. She would go there three days a week. She served food, washed dishes and cleaned after the meals. She was voted “Volunteer of the Year” at the Senior Center in 2012.
Keeping up the home got harder for Neva and she moved to Westbrook in January 2017. She loves that she doesn’t have to cook or worry about any upkeep. She really loves her apartment. She brought the things that were important to her from her house and made it her own. Neva already knew some of Westbrook’s residents but has enjoyed getting to know more of them. She likes country music and loves doing puzzles – both jigsaw and word puzzles.
Besides Neva’s five children, she has three sons-in-law, fourteen grandchildren and eighteen great grandchildren. Her advice about children is to love your kids while you have them at home and then to turn them loose.