Monday, 3 March 2014

Launceston East Ward bids farewell to Derek Jones

This week we said goodbye to another member of Launceston East Ward, with the passing away of brother Derek Jones. We have marvelled at his faith and courage over the past few years as we have watched him fight to stay on earth as long as he could, so he could spend as much time with his family as he could.

Derek’s wife Jenny, daughter Melissa and two sons Simeon and Reuben were surrounded by extended family, friends, work colleagues and clients at his funeral which was held on Thursday the 27th February at the Launceston chapel. Beautiful musical items were sung by the sister missionaries and a priesthood chorus, who sung Derek’s favourite hymn ‘Brightly Beams Our Father’s Mercy’.

His daughter Melissa shared stories about her Dad, which reminded us of his sense of humour, his love for his family, his love of his work and the gospel. She told us that his two grandsons Will and Henry were the light of his life, and how sad he was that he wouldn’t be able to see them grow up. She knows that he will be watching over them all, as he continues his work on the other side.
Sister Annette Clark shared a beautiful poem which defined what Derek’s life was about, which was called The Measure of a Man. Part of the poem said:

These are the things that measure the worth
Of a man as a man, regardless of birth.

Not - How did he die? But - How did he live?
Not - What did he gain? But - What did he give?

President Lionel Walters concluded the funeral and said that it can be easy to wonder why certain things happen, but like Derek’s family we can choose to look to the eternities as we know that this life is not the end.

We know that Derek gave so much in his life, and that was evident by those that were there to farewell him. Derek and Jenny’s son Dylan had Down Syndrome and passed away when he was just a few years old. A friend of Derek’s family was an extra special pall bearer. Nick has Down syndrome and was the same age as their son Dylan.

It was beautiful to witness Nick hugging Jenny at the graveside, and for Jenny to tell him how much she and Derek loved him, and how special he was. Nick hugged her for a long time and told her he loved her too and then said to her boys ‘hug your Mum’ which made us all smile. We also smiled as Derek’s grandson Will placed poppies on his coffin with a big smile, as he knew his Granddad was in Heaven and that he will see him again.

I’m sure Derek would’ve been smiling down on them as well. We will miss his big smile and beautiful spirit, and pray that we can help his family will have the strength, love and faith that they need, until they are reunited again.

By Lisa King