Sending man to the moon and the giant strides made in the field of medicine are two of man's greatest accomplishments in the past 100 years, says hatcher C. Jones, who will celebrate his 100th birthday Thursday.
Through his life, Jones has maintained a positive attitude. "I have faced many hardships and challenges, but I feel I have developed the capacity to enjoy life," he said.Jones, of Salt Lake City, says education has been his life and he views the educational system of today better in some ways, and deficient in others. "I feel that because there were very few scholarships or financial aid programs available, students went to school in my day to learn the most they could in the shortest length of time."
He said students then were expected to excel. "They were required to learn the basics - math, spelling, grammar and penmanship."
An advocate of higher education Jones said, "I have always felt that to get ahead successfully, whether it be socially or economically, one needs a good education. It is more important that ever in today's society. Almost all entry-level positions require at least a high school education and a college degree if one expects to work in today's high-tech companies."
Jones said he has encouraged all of his children to get college degrees, and now he is encouraging his 17 grandchildren and 47 great-grandchildren to do the same.
Jones was born Sept. 29, 1888, in Lehi, Ariz. to Edward Evans and Letitia Wheatley Jones, the seventh of 10 children. Jones' parents had emigrated from Great Britain to Utah and were later asked by Brigham Young in 1877 to help colonize that area of Arizona.
Nearly 30 years later, in 1904, the LDS Church was again seeking members to go to Byron, Wyo. to colonize there. Jones' father felt that by going to eastern Wyoming, he would be able to obtain more land. He had seven sons, and he wanted a place where his boys could learn to work.
The move proved a financially successful one. Although the Wyoming land was barren and living conditions were difficult, it sat over an oil reserve. An small oil well - from which Jones still collects royalties - was discovered on the Jones farm soon after the family began farming it.
Jones left Wyoming at 16 to attend Brigham Young Academy. When he completed his education, he taught Business at BYA, becoming head of the Business Department.
In 1910, he was called on a mission to Ireland where he became president of the Irish Conference. After completing his mission in 1912, his sweetheart, Vera Harding of Provo, joined him in Europe where they were married. Their marriage was later solemnized in the Salt Lake Temple. Vera died in 1919 during the world flu epidemic, leaving Jones with two small sons.
In 1921, Jones married Glenette Clark, and the couple moved to New York where he continued his education - receiving five degrees at New York University and Columbia University. They had three children. Glenette died at the age of 80 in Chandler, Ariz.
He taught business administration at NYU Graduate School until he retired in 1956 at the age of 67 - only because it was mandatory.
Jones married his current wife, Elda Mast, in 1978.
An open house, with his wife and his step-daughter, Lorei Bennion as hosts, will be on Sept. 29, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Bennion home, 5174 S. Alvera Circle.