Ellis Jones was drafted into the army on his 20th birthday in 1942. Rather than be discouraged about going off to war, he decided to have a positive attitude, to see the world, and to have a good time doing it. That attitude became his approach to the rest of his life and he enjoyed it all.
Assigned to the 98th Signal Battallion, he sailed the Pacific aboard the USAT Perida (army transport ship). First stop was Oro Bay in Papua New Guinea. His unit slowly advanced northward, stopping at Morotai, Leyte, Luzon, and eventually occupying Tokyo, Japan on September 2, 1945.
Ellis described this as a life-changing journey. Even though he witnessed war’s horrors, as in the aftermath of the Bataan Death March, he found many reasons to remain strong and celebrate the joys of liberating the local people in each land. Ellis recalled meeting a frail, elderly Philippine couple on Luzon. Without speaking a word of English, they tearfully conveyed their thanks; making it known it was a high honor to have American soldiers in their home.
Ellis survived war-time, but nearly lost his life in a typhoon as his ship was returning to California. After spending a total of 22 months in the Pacific, he left the Army on January 10, 1946.
Ellis R. Jones, 91, of North Huntingdon, passed away Friday, Nov. 14, 2014, at Redstone Highlands, Greensburg. He was born Nov. 27, 1922, in McKeesport, a son of the late John Robert and Mary White Jones.
Prior to his retirement, Ellis was employed by Firth Sterling Steel as a chemist. He was a member of Word of Life Church, in Greensburg, Veterans Breakfast Club and enjoyed woodworking, camping and traveling.
Ellis was a veteran, having served in the Army in the Pacific Theater, and was featured in “A Soldier Remembers,” a memoir of his experiences during World War II, written by his daughter, Linda Mudry.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his wife, LaVerne Mae Jones; and two sisters, Elizabeth Bowland and Doris Morrison. He is survived by his son, Larry Jones and his wife, Heidi, who are currently ministering in the Middle East; daughter, Linda Mudry and her husband, Daniel, of Murrysville; sister, Ruth Yacko, of Cabot; four grandchildren, Nathan and Katherine Mudry, Forrest and Jordan Jones; and five great-grandchildren, Oliver, Natalie, Elyana, Edison and Corvin.