“A legend taken too soon.” Mark M. Jones, architect, passed away at age 73 on Sunday, May 15, 2016, at the University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque. Mark had been flown to the hospital from his home in Del Norte, Colorado, after contracting the deadly Hantavirus. His loss is felt deeply by his family and his wide circle of friends in his beloved town of Del Norte.
Mark Maris Jones was born in Pasadena, California, on March 20, 1943. to John B. and Barbara Maris Jones. He was raised in nearby La Cañada where his love of drawing and designing buildings began at an early age. Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, trips to the cabin in Idyllwild and hiking the high Sierras highlighted his formative years. Mark became an Eagle Scout at age 13.
Mark was an architect and a builder whose passion was to preserve historic buildings. He had a long and successful career spanning three states: New Mexico, California and Colorado. Mark built his first spec home in Idyllwild while a student at USC School of Architecture in 1963. The home on Saunders Meadow Road was purchased by Robert E. Holmes, then-music director of ISOMATA.
Mark’s building partner was Jack Russell. Jack’s father, Clif Russell, an Idyllwild contractor, and Mark’s father, John B. Jones, served as advisors. A second spec home was built in Fern Valley the following summer.
Mark was a third-generation Idyllwild cabin owner. His grandfather, Elwood M. Jones, leased a lot in the Tahquitz Meadow Summer Home Tract in Saunders Meadow in 1922. The family cabin built in 1925 on Lot 12, MacTeckelwood Lane (named after his grandfather), is still in the Jones family, now owned by Norman and Connie Jones Pillsbury, Mark’s sister.
While Mark was the USC university architect and director of Planning, Design and Construction in the early 1990s, he served on the board of the Saunders Meadow Homeowner’s Association and was pivotal in the tract joining the Fern Valley Water Company.
From USC, Mark went on to become the director of Facilities Project management at Stanford University, managing the seismic and historic restoration of 30 historic buildings on the H.H. Richardson Stanford Inner Quad, and Frank Lloyd Wright’s “Honeycomb House” on the campus.
He and his wife, Mary Kay, settled in Del Norte, their favorite fishing spot, after retiring from Stanford. He established an architectural office there, and was the driving force in saving and restoring the historic 1874 Windsor Hotel. His efforts were recognized when the hotel received the Best of the West 2016 award for best preservation of a historic western building from True West Magazine. (windsorhotel.org.)
Mark is survived by sons Justin Jones of Nebraska and Morgan Jones of California; granddaughter Molly Kaluna-Jones of California; stepchildren Kent Bruner of Denver and Dawn (Jim) Riggins of Texas; stepgrandchildren Sidney and Logan Bruner; sister Connie (Norman) Pillsbury of California; several nieces and nephews and fiancée Sherry Smith of Del Norte. He was predeceased by his wife, Mary Kay, in 2013.
Mark will be buried in the Jones family plot at the San Jacinto Valley Cemetery in Hemet, in a private family service. A Del Norte memorial is planned for June 25, 2016. Donations in Mark’s memory may be made to the nonprofit Windsor Restoration and Historical Association, P.O. Box 452, Del Norte, CO 81132.