HAMILTON — Wayne Gyd Jones, 82, passed away on Nov. 17, 2018, at Marcus Daly Palliative and Hospice Care in Hamilton.
Born December 14, 1935, to Walt and Freda Jones, Wayne was one of 10 brothers and sisters born and raised in Missoula. He attended Franklin School and Hellgate High School, and in 1954, enlisted in the United States Navy where he would serve for 22 years. In 1956, he met and married Betty (Jeannie) Noel, who he would lovingly refer to in later years as “The Italian.” In 1957, they welcomed their first daughter, Leslie, and two years later, their daughter Shawn.
In 1958, Wayne completed and graduated from Underwater Demolition Team/SEAL training in Coronado, California, and spent the next 12 years in UDT 11 and SEAL Team One, as the first Navy SEAL from the state of Montana. He served four tours in Vietnam, receiving the Navy Achievement Medal, the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart. In addition, SEAL Team One received the Presidential Unit Citation and was honored at the White House by President Lyndon Johnson. In 1970, he became a Basic Underwater Demolition SEAL instructor at BUDS Training and served in that capacity until he retired in 1975.
The next chapter found Wayne pursuing and achieving his lifelong dream of becoming a PGA golf pro, working as head club professional at Seven Hills Golf Course in Hemet, California, and Hamilton Golf Club in Hamilton. At both courses he introduced hundreds of children to the sport of golf through his Junior Golf programs offered each summer. He also served as head golf coach for Hamilton High School.
For 25 years, Wayne was an active member of Masons, Shriners, and Jesters, serving as member of Ionic Lodge #38 Masons, Potentate for Baghdad Temple Shriners, and Past Director of Butte Court #23 Jesters. He took great pride and joy in the work that Shriners provide on behalf of children and traveled extensively as a representative for Montana and his brothers in the organization.
Wayne loved nothing more than his family and friends. He was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Jeannie, and is survived by daughter Leslie, son-in-law Joe and grandchildren Spencer and Mac; daughter Shawn and sons, Cole, Ty, Dakota and Tucker; seven brothers and sisters, and friends who became family too numerous to mention.
Wayne will be remembered for his service to his country, his love for his family and his kindness and generosity to all who knew him. Condolences can be left for the family at dalyleachchapel.com.
Donations can be made to Bitterroot Shrine Club in Wayne’s name, care of John Mikesell, Treasurer, 153 Wyant Lane, Hamilton, MT 59840.