William "Bill" Jones

Obituary of William "Bill" Jones

William Lee “Bill” Jones, age 96, died at his home in Titusville, PA on January 26, 2018.

Bill was the son of Albert Victor Jones and his wife Alberta Olive Fye Jones and was born August 13, 1921 in Rochester, N.Y. He was also the stepson of William Theodore French.

Bill was raised in the Oil City area and attended local schools. As a young man he often helped his stepfather on various oil leases and developed a strong knowledge of oil production.

During the days of the great depression Bill found obtaining a job of any type difficult so he enrolled in the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) on April 15, 1940 and was assigned to a camp in Marienville, PA where members worked on government conservation projects. For hard manual labor CCC members were paid the magnificent sum of thirty dollars a month of which twenty five was sent home to help the family. Bill said, "That was a place where you learned how to work."

After two years in the CCC, Bill was drafted in the army as World War II accelerated. He trained at Camp James Lake, Wisconsin and Camp Gruber, Oklahoma as a military policeman.

Bill was assigned to the 42nd Infantry Division which was also known as the Rainbow Division. He went to Europe aboard the RMS Queen Mary, a luxury liner that had been converted to a troop ship, and arrived in Marseille, France in December 1944. Christmas that year was spent in a foxhole.

The Rainbow Division was soon involved in the Battle of the Bulge and Bill served as a light machine gunner in the artillery. The division met heavy fighting across Germany. On April 29, 1945 Bill was with the Rainbow Division when they participated in the liberation of the prisoners at Dachau, a Nazi concentration camp. Bill would rarely speak of the atrocities seen at Dachau and would simply say, "It was terrible."

Bill was discharged from the army at Fort Dix, N.J. on March 11, 1946. He earned several metals including the American Service Metal, the Good Conduct Metal, the World War II Victory Metal, and the European-African-Middle Eastern Service Metal. He truly was a member of "The Greatest Generation."

After the war Bill returned to Oil City where he met his wife Julia Elizabeth “Judy” Sitarz of Titusville. They were married in Oil City December 24, 1949. After a long and happy marriage Judy passed away on April 15, 2015.

During his life Bill worked a number of places including the gas company, Oil City Hospital and retired from Polk Center. For a number of years he also operated a small oil lease off Grandview Road in Oil City.

Bill and Judy eventually moved to Titusville. He enjoyed working around his home and had an especially keen interest in politics and current events.

In addition to his wife Judy, Bill was preceded in death by his parents and stepfather and a sister Betty French Karns. He is survived by two brothers Ronald E. French of Oil City and Harold G. French of Erie, several nieces and nephews and cousins and close friends Darla and Tom Boocks of Oil City.

No calling hours will be observed. A memorial service will be announced at a later date.

Interment will be at St. Catherine's Cemetery in Titusville beside his beloved Judy. He will be long remembered and missed by his loved ones.