Chris Jones 17 August 1954 - 6 December 2009

IssueFebruary 2010
Comment by Jill Sutcliffe, Howard Clark

A PN editor from 1976-1982, Chris Jones continued helping with PN as a volunteer until June 1983. Chris died suddenly in his sleep on 6 December of heart failure. He had felt ill the previous day playing in a marching band in Oswestry where he lived, and returned home early.

Howard Clark writes: Chris began helping Peace News just as I was leaving. He had come to pacifism by a strange route – having joined the RAF after school, and first became a vegetarian and only later a pacifist. He brought with him a love of music – a really energetic dancer, it was from him that I learnt both about “Northern Soul” and Kurt Weill (quite a juxtaposition!) – and on his departure from PN music took on even more importance in his life.

Chris played double bass in various jazz and latin bands, and developed a passion for salsa. For a while he even worked as a musician on a Cunard cruiser. Through PN, he met Penny Strange and together they brought up two sons, Jesse and Aaron, leaving Nottingham in 1983 to practise permaculture on a smallholding in Powys.

Chris was buried on December 21 and many of his friends, family and music colleagues gathered to remember and celebrate his life.

Jill Sutcliffe writes: Chris was unassuming, determined and quietly assured. He arrived at Peace News along with Rosie Snowden (obituary last September), both young and keen to learn. It’s a shock to learn of his early and untimely death.

Chris was one of those who held the fort in 1976 when I learned my mother had breast cancer and was facing an operation. The new band of staff all insisted that I should go and support her and it provided me with a key lesson.

They rose to the challenge and produced excellent editions despite having to do much to learn on the job. If I hadn’t gone I would have “looked out for them” and gently eased them into the work and thus would have underestimated what it was they could do.

Chris always took on a fair amount of the work which needed to be done. Chris wasn’t an easy person to get to know, tending to be private and to keep himself to himself. When he moved into the house where I was living in Nottingham, when he started living with Penny, I was present when he took up the violin.

This is not an easy instrument on which to either start or to make a reasonable sound, but he persisted, diving off into the room with the piano and applying himself without fail. It was with enormous pride that I learned that the challenge he made to himself had culminated in a long-term involvement with music.

It was very exciting when Penny announced she was pregnant. On the day she went into labour she was working at the wholefood shop Ouroborus and was seen cycling up the road. Jesse was breech and much to Penny’s annoyance she had to go into the hospital but, needless to say, she was back in the shop the next morning with the newborn in the pram beside her. Chris beamed with pride. Three of us made a cot quilt for Jess featuring the alphabet and appropriate pictures with his name placed in the middle. We did the same when their younger son Aaron arrived.

Topics: Radical lives
See more of: Obituary