Randy Jones said as he grew up in Idaho he learned from his grandmother, uncles and aunts that his father, Richard Jones, had come back from the war a different man. His father, before the war, had more moments of light-heartedness in his outlook on life.

“He was always quite serious as I remember, quite strict on the rules, more demanding than I thought other parents were,” said Randy, 70, who now lives in Ontario, Oregon. “But I knew he loved me, I knew that for sure, there was no question about his love.

“But, of course, I was happy go lucky, just the opposite of him, so there was a big difference there. And me being me back then, yes, I pretty much always pushed the limits as a kid as far as he was concerned, so I guess I thought he was pretty stern at the time. He was a no-nonsense kind of guy.”

Randy served in the U.S. Army in the early 1970s and for a while was stationed in Germany. There he had time to visit Nazi concentration camp sites and saw evidence of the horror of the Holocaust, something he knows his father saw close up and soon after Germans fled the camps.

Randy also said he experienced the great friendliness of the German people at that time, especially those living in the countryside.

Only in the last two years has his father occasionally shared stories about his war experiences, Randy said.

“I can see how what he went through in the war, what he experienced, could change him, make him have a more serious way of seeing life. Maybe, with me as kid, he was kind of trying to get me ready for what’s hard in life, what could be coming.”


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