UO remembers Aaron Jones

The university community mourns the loss of alumnus Aaron Jones, a lumberman, philanthropist and loyal fan of the Ducks. He died Sept. 22 at age 92.

A memorial service will be held at Matthew Knight Arena on Oct. 1 at 11 a.m.

"Aaron Jones was an incredible friend and supporter of the University of Oregon,” said interim President Scott Coltrane.

“He and his wife, Marie, have contributed to our campus and to the community in immeasurable ways. His legacy of innovation in timber management and wildlife conservation, and generosity to the university lives on and will be remembered. My deepest sympathies go to Marie and the rest of the Jones family.”

Born in Texas and raised in Toledo, Ore., Jones entered the UO as an undergraduate in 1940. When WWII broke out, he joined the Army and served as an officer in the Philippines. He returned to complete his degree in physical education in 1947, although he insisted on being recognized as a member of the Class of 1944.

Jones founded Seneca Sawmill Company in 1953 and Seneca Jones Timber Company in 1992. Together, these companies manage more than 165,000 acres of forestland in Oregon. Seneca is recognized as one of the most technologically advanced mills in the world, and is the second-largest on-site producing mill in the United States.

Over the last 15 years, Jones received multiple honors for his work in the lumber industry, forestry and wildlife conservation. This includes recognition for his “friendly swap” concept for arranging ownership patterns of public and private lands to improve habitat for sensitive and endangered species.  In 2010, Jones was inducted into the UO Business Hall of Fame for his unprecedented success, innovation and leadership in the timber industry.

In 1998, Aaron and Marie were awarded the UO Presidential Medal for their extraordinary service to the university and leadership in the community.

Stalwart supporters of the university, the Jones family has left an indelible mark, particularly on athletics, supporting student athlete scholarships, coaching positions and most recently the Women in Flight program. They have been recognized in the John E. Jaqua Academic Center for Student Athletes for their support.

They have also generously supported the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, Cheryl Ramberg Ford and Allyn Ford Alumni Center and the Oregon Bach Festival.

“Aaron’s childhood was difficult and he had to earn everything," said Herb Yamanaka, associate athletic director, who knew him for more than 50 years. "Wealth, rank and honor were granted to him because of his hard work. He was a self-made man, and he gave back generously to the community and especially to University of Oregon athletics. In his memory, we are very grateful."

Jones is survived by his wife Marie; daughters, Rebecca Jones, Kathleen Jones-McCann and Jody Jones, who are now co-owners of the business and serve on its board of directors; step-daughter Suzanne Penegor; six grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers the family suggests contributions to UO Athletic Fund, McKenzie Track & Field or Volunteers in Medicine.