Ronald Peter Jones (51) died in his sleep on Monday. He had recently finished his workday as a teacher for Hoosick Falls Central School (HFCS), from which he himself had graduated in 1986. He also continued to be the school's head football coach dating back to 1996.
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During high school, Ron was quarterback of the football team under Coach Ken Baker, whom he valued as a role model throughout his life. Ron often credited Coach Baker as having a tremendous influence on his teaching, his coaching, and just how to be the best man, husband, and father that he could be.
After finishing high school, Ron went on to play football and graduate from SUNY Cortland. He then earned his Masters from East Stroudsburg University, where he coached football with Denny Douds, whom Ron also considered a great mentor. Ron then coached football at Norwich and Central Connecticut State Universities.
In 1996, he returned to his home town of Hoosick Falls to teach physical education and take the position of head football coach. He also coached at Siena College in 2000.
In football, Ron's accomplishments could be listed like this: While coaching for 25 seasons, he achieved one state championship, was twice the state runner up, earned eight Section II Class C titles (six straight titles from 2009-2014), was the all time school wins leader with a win-loss record of 155-76, and was voted Coach of the Year in 2012 by the New York State Sports Writers Association.
As impressive as that might seem to some, Ron believed his best accomplishments weren't even on the field. He always said that the best decision of his life was marrying his wife of nearly 17 years Ikuko (Yoshida), who found him to be a wonderful husband and friend. And his proudest achievement was raising their daughter Kai Nicole, with whom he particularly loved to hike and ski. He expressed his love and pride for Kai in every way, including attending all her sporting events - even during his own busy football seasons. He traveled to Japan yearly with his family and shared his coaching expertise with football players at Kanazawa University, Ishikawa, Japan and enjoyed going to Onsen (hot springs) in Japan.
His strong bond with his long-time childhood friends from Hoosick Falls was special to him, and he always appreciated their friendships.
Ron was an active member of the Immaculate Conception Church in Hoosick Falls and enjoyed talking to people after mass every Sunday. His family called him “a mayor” because he would talk to everyone wherever he went. Ron also liked going hiking with Father Tom Zelker, who was a dear friend.
Many people have expressed that Ron has passed away too early, or that he had so much left to do, or that his life was somehow not yet complete for them. But consider this: Ron lived exactly as he wanted to with respect to how he treasured his wife, raised his daughter, valued his friendships, excelled at his work, and treated others with a positive, loving philosophy. By his own standards that he set for himself, his life was a great success.
While it's not possible to hold traditional services during this pandemic, the family hopes to have a memorial honoring Ron at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, Donations may be made to:
Ken Baker Scholarship Fund
Immaculate Conception Parish
Kai’s college fund: Key Bank, 14 Main Street, Hoosick Falls, NY 12090
Through the Mahar Funeral Home, 43 Main Street, Hoosick Falls, NY, 12090