James "Jim" Campbell Jones

Wednesday, June 18th, 1941 - Sunday, August 9th, 2020
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In Memory of James C. Jones
(Loving Father, Writer, Photographer, Environmental Activist, Engineer, Rocket Scientist, Fisherman, World traveler.)

James Campbell Jones
Lived in Fair Oaks, CA – spent the last year and a half in Hood River, OR.
After a long illness, with family at his side, Jim passed away Sunday August 9, 2020 in Hood River, OR.

Jim was born June 18, 1941 in Detroit Michigan to Gerard Jones and Lorean Marinelle. He spent his childhood and teenage years in McHenry, Ill, spending as much time fishing as possible. Jim attended McHenry High School and was one of three graduates to receive a University of Illinois 4-year full tuition scholarship. He of course went on to receive his B.S. in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering from U of I Chaplain-Urbana and his M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from U.C. Davis.

Jim married his high school sweetheart Hildegard Bock in Crystal Lake Illinois, and the pair moved to Rancho Cordova, CA where they started their family. Soon son Mike came along, and daughters Anita and Leslie shortly after that.
As a rocket scientist and engineer at Aerojet for 40 years, Jim had a front row seat to the excitement of the space race, the giddy times after, and even the lower key years following. Even after “retiring” (he hated that word!), he continued on with Aerojet as a consultant, ensuring the dynamic structural integrity of Titan IV rockets.
When he finally left Aerojet’s sphere, Jim parlayed his considerable writing and photography talents into a second career as a travel writer, providing content for Outside Magazine, The Sacramento Bee, and weekly fishing and hunting publication Western Outdoor News, among others.
He was a natural athlete and enjoyed many mid-life adventures from Scuba Diving around the world to crossing the Sierra Mountains Death Ride finish line on his Eddie Merckx. He loved music (had quite an eclectic taste), was a great dancer and had a knack for creating scrumptious treats in his kitchen (he was famous in our neighborhood for his smoked salmon and pumpkin cheesecake).
One true through line in Jim’s life was his passion and love of fishing and the outdoors. He fervently believed in protecting the environment in general and the American River in particular. Each of us owe him a debt of gratitude for his work with the Save The American River Association (SARA) and The American River Parkway Foundation, which he co-founded. His tireless and persuasive energy helped result in one of the Sacramento area’s most treasured features, the American River Parkway.
Jim is survived by son Michael (Marti) Jones and daughters Anita (Doug) Jones and Leslie (James) Jones, Grandchildren Kate (Casey) Herbert (Jones), Madeline (Adam) Elrod (Jones), Isabel Lira-Jones, and Daisy Jones, great-grandchild Caspian Elrod, sister Sandy (Howard) Fromson, and cousins Lucretia McDermott, Jason (Jay) Bernardi, and Vicky Crowder (Walter). Jim is predeceased by his mother, Lorean Redwanz (Marinelle), father, Gerard Jones, and stepfather Roy Redwanz.
Jim will be missed by many. He was a true adventurer and river warrior and his spirit will continue to flow and support all who love and enjoy the American River Parkway…walking over the Jim Jones Pedestrian Bridge, riding the bike trail and fishing it’s waters.
“The River is everywhere” – Herman Hesse, Siddhartha

Featured Awards and Dedications
Jim Jones pedestrian bridge spanning North/South across the American River, just south of Sunrise Blvd in Rancho Cordova, CA and connects Lower Sunrise to Sacramento Bar.

Honored as Lifetime Advocate for the American River and Parkway at SARA’s 50th Year Celebration Annual Meeting

Civic Activities:
• Co-founder of the American River Parkway Foundation, President 1985-1987.
• Commissioner, Sacramento County Recreation and Parks Commission 1971-1976, Chairman, 1976.
• Co-Chairman of successful 1974 campaign to pass the $75 million Sacramento County Water Quality Improvement Bond Issue which allowed the phasing out of all raw sewage discharges to the American River.
• Co-Chairman of successful 1972 campaign to pass the $12.6 million Sacramento County Parks and Open Space Bond Issue that allowed the purchase of remaining lands in private ownership within the American River Parkway and completion of the bike trail.

Due to COVID-19, the family will hold a very small, private memorial and postpone a larger memorial gathering until a later date. An announcement will be made then.

The family welcomes donations to the Save The American River Association (SARA) as an expression of sympathy instead of flowers.

Please also look for Jim’s obituary and continued conversation, story and memory sharing at, The Sacramento Bee’s online obituary and life stories website. The family looks forward to hearing from you there. To be posted soon.

Arrangements are under the direction of Anderson's Tribute Center (Funerals • Receptions • Cremations) 1401 Belmont Avenue, Hood River, Oregon 97031. Visit to leave a note of condolence for the family
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Posted at 04:03pm
He was a hero for the American River!

Dick Antonson

Posted at 09:47am
In his senior year in high school, the school (MCHS) formed a track team to compete in the Northwest Suburban Conference. Jim competed in distance running especially the mile run where he was both the conference & county champion despite never competing before.


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