HURON – Robert “Bob” Jones, 79, of Huron was born in Zanesville, Ohio, November 21, 1940 and passed away Tuesday, August 4, 2020. Bob and his father Melvin “Pete” Jones and his mom Marjorie (Mimi), relocated to Huron where his grandfather Calvin Norris was the Superintendent of docks for the Wheeling and Lake Erie railroad. Bob’s love for trains developed when Grandpa Norris allowed him to ride in an engine from one end of the freight yard to the other at a very young age. His love of trains, both full sized and model, have been a lifelong interest.
During his childhood, Bob and his mother spent countless hours at the Huron Lakefront Park. This park has remained his “go-to” place to think. A park bench was placed next to the slides and swings by Bob’s children in honor of his parents Pete and Molly.
Bob graduated from “the New Huron High School” in 1959 as part of the first class to attend the new school. That class placed “The Rock,” in front of the school, where it remains today.
A lifelong farmer, Bob’s interest in agriculture came from his dad, who was a sheep farmer in Southern Ohio.
Both Bob and his dad had a passion for Lyman wooden boats. Bob received a 16 footer from his dad while still in High School. He sold that boat and bought his first tractor starting a 60 year challenge in agriculture.
Bob married his high school sweetheart Barbara Taylor a year after they graduated, and that fall, they left for Ohio State University where Bob began his formal studies in Agriculture. An avid reader and eternally curious, Bob studied and researched, picked the brains of fellow farmers and was always ready to try a new and innovative process in farming. Their son Lee was born that summer, followed two years later by daughter Terri and 16 months later Robert (Bob) Jr, who completed the family. The kids helped their dad as soon as they were able to handle a hoe or bang tin pans together to scare the blackbirds out of the corn patch.
In the early 70’s Bob and a neighboring farmer, Ken DeChant, purchased the Nickle’s Produce operation brokering produce for 90 Ohio and Pennsylvania farmers. That farm failed and Jones spent the next ten years working to rebuild.
With the help of his wife Barbara and two sons, Lee and Bob Jr., Bob built the Chefs’ Garden Farms into an operation that serves chefs in 50 states and 14 foreign countries. In order to accommodate the chefs, Bob and the boys constructed the Culinary Vegetable Institute (CVI) where customer chefs were welcome to come tour the fields and greenhouses and to stay for a few days to revitalize or do staff team building. The CVI has become a popular site for private celebrations and weddings.
Bob and Barb decided local kids needed to understand the importance of agriculture and good nutrition. With the help of local teachers, they created The Veggie U program which ultimately was taught in over 5000 schools nationwide. Bob said he hoped this program would be part of his legacy...teaching kids about good food and good health!
With the Corona Virus outbreak, Bob needed to rethink the family business which provides an income for 177 families. The Chef’s Garden primarily served many now closed restaurants. A home delivery business for his “beyond Organic” produce had always been an Idea. He ran with this plan seeing it begin to a takeoff before he had to give in to his ever increasing illness. He is fortunate to be able to hand the reigns to sons Lee and Bob Jones.
Bob was an active member of Norwalk and Bellevue Churches of Christ. He started each day reading his Bible and said he believed God put us on this earth to obey His word and to do good for others. And he did. He loved Scouting and served as a local scoutmaster and a Stein Hospice Volunteer early in his adulthood.
On his last day on this earth, Bob spent a few minutes with his children, yes, giving them instructions. The most important was take care of each other. The kids liked to refer to their dad as “The Wizard” behind the curtain.
Bob was preceded in death by his parents Marjorie Norris Jones and his dad Melvin Jones.
He leaves behind his wife of 60 years, Barbara; son, Melvin Lee, (Mary), daughter, Terri Lynn, son Robert (Julie); all of the children live in the Huron/Milan areas; his grandchildren, Sarah Burchfield (Ron), Whitney Miller (Bill), Kaitlin Jones, Zachary Jones (Ellen) Rebecca Jones and Aaron Jones (Lindsey); seven great grandchildren, Elizabeth, Scarlett, Avery, Jackson and Ronnie Burchfield, Lochran and Zella Miller; Bob’s sister, Donna Collins, who was his own special nurse and best friend, (Brett); and a brother, Michael (Deborah), of Michigan.
Dr. Robert Vaschak, was a true friend, and fellow student of Bob’s interest in the area of “food is medicine.”
Friends may call Saturday, August 8th from 10 a.m. until time of service, 11 a.m. at the Research & Development Center at Chef's Garden, 1400 Scheid Rd, Huron.
Burial will follow at Scott Cemetery, Huron.
The family asks that you please abide by the Covid- 19 regulations and please wear a mask.
Memorial contributions may be made to Stein Hospice, 1200 Sycamore Line, Sandusky, 44870 or to Serving Our Seniors, 310 E. Boalt St, Sandusky, 44870.
Online condolences may be shared at www.fosterfh.com.
Foster Funeral Home & Crematory, Huron, is assisting the family with arrangements.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Robert Lee Jones, please visit our floral store.
Stein Hospice Services
1200 Sycamore Line, Sandusky OH 44870
Serving Our Seniors
310 E. Boalt St -A, Sandusky OH 44870