Orley was born on Sept. 30, 1924 in Biggar, Saskatchewan, Canada to James Ira and
Lydia Pearl Jones. He was the third of seven children. His family emigrated from Canada to the Yakima Valley in Washington in 1928. Ten years later they moved to Stanislaus County. He lived in the Turlock area for the remainder of his life.
“There were just so many facets to his life and to his personality. He was a wonderful man,” said Orley’s daughter, Sandra Beck.
Orley came from a family of farmers, and he worked on his parents’ ranch as a farmer and a dairyman. In his younger days he was trick rider on his horse Dawn. His most impressive trick was the vault, where he would jump off of the horse while riding, touch the ground, and jump back on.
Orley met his wife, Elsie Pimentel Jones, on a blind date. They really hit it off and were married in September 1948. Together they had four children. Elsie said that in their 61 years of marriage they never had a major dispute. She said that their trick to staying happy was to talk everything out and never end a day in a dispute.
“He was a very agreeable man. He was loving and kind and he got the most out of life,” Elsie said.
Orley also got the most out of his talents as a business owner. He was the owner of Jones Lumber, Jones Saddlery, and Turlock Saddlery in Turlock and Jones Frontier Shop in Modesto.
Orley opened Jones Lumber and sold rough lumber and made calf pens and other dairy farm fixtures. He first started selling horse supplies at the lumber yard. When the price of lumber went up too high he closed the lumber yard and opened Jones Saddlery. Several years later he expanded Turlock Saddlery on Main Street in downtown Turlock. His daughter remembers the store as a meeting place for farmers, ranchers and rural residents of the area.
“He just loved talking to the farmers and dairymen. I think that’s what people will remember most about him, he was so friendly,” Beck said.
Orley started many projects throughout his life. He loved to create things, and found a love for oil painting. He opened an art gallery in Turlock Saddlery and featured local artists alongside his own work. In his later years, Orley wrote a book of family history.
“He also wrote a book called ‘All I Know about Women,’” Elsie said. “You open it up and all of the pages are blank.”
Beck describes her father as not only an author but a humorist with a “Will Rogers sense of humor.” He kept a collection of his own sayings that will be distributed at his memorial service.
Orley Jones is survived by his wife, Elsie Pimentel Jones; brother, James Jones; sons, Merlin (Miriam) of Greeley Hill, Richard (Tammy) of Turlock, and Kelly (Ella) of Wenatchee, Wash.; and daughter, Sandra Beck (William) of Coeur d'Alene, Idaho.
He also leaves behind his grandchildren he dearly loved, Robin Hanson (Todd), Tevin, Anthony and Katya; and a great grandson he was thrilled to know was arriving into this world in October. Orley had a multitude of nieces and nephews he dearly loved that survive him as well as children in the community that called him "Papa."
He was preceded in death by his parents and siblings, Mary, Waldo, Gilbert, Joy and June.
A Celebration of Life will be held in his memory at 3 p.m. on Oct. 2 at the Farmers Den, 9952 Crowslanding Rd., Crowslanding — on the corner of Crowslanding Road and West Main. Orley ate breakfast at the Farmers’ Den almost every morning for the last five years. Everyone in the community is invited to come, celebrate his wonderful and full life and recall their fond memories of him.
His wife and family request donations in his honor be made to the Mountain View Fire Department, 9633 Crowslanding Rd., Crowslanding, CA 95313 or to a charity of your choice.