Pearl Rose Hayden Jones, 88, a lifetime Eastern Oregon resident and former contributor to the Baker City Herald, died April 23, 2006, at Idlewood Manor in Baker City.
At her request there will be no funeral.
Coles Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements. There will be a memorial service in her honor, tentatively set for June 18 in Baker City. Details will be announced later. After cremation, her ashes will be scattered over the sage hills where she spent hours of recreation, the same hills that were the background to her life.
Pearl was born on March 19, 1918, at the La Clede Mine in Union County, where her father was mine caretaker. He also assisted in her birth, for the doctor was slow in arriving.
Her parents were William Edwin Hayden and Ruth Alice Grant. They were married in 1908 on the Oregon slope across the river from Weiser, Idaho. Pearl was the seventh child of a family of three brothers and six sisters.
At the end of World War I, the mine was reactivated and the family moved to Union, living there for several years before settling in Baker City in 1924.
In Baker City, Pearl began and completed her schooling. She attended Brooklyn Elementary School, Baker Junior High, and was a 1936 Baker High School graduate. She was a great believer in lifelong learning. She received her bachelor’s degree from Eastern Oregon University at La Grande in 1983, with a combination of classroom work and a prize-winning portfolio based on her life’s work and experiences.
Pearl married Glenn Elmer Jones on April 25, 1942, at Weiser, Idaho. They lived their entire life in Baker City, with the exception of a short period at Lime on Burnt River just before World War II.
The marriage produced four children before ending amicably in 1978. Children were Bonnie Rose Bahn of Payson, Ariz., Judith Ann Stultz of Baker City, Sally Elizabeth Stefferud of Phoenix, Ariz., and Westly Robert Jones of Joseph; Pearl had seven grandchildren, Maria, Tonya, Kathryn Dunn and Aaron Bahn, and Travis, Trevor, and Trenton Jones, and a very recent great-grandchild, Keath Jones. All of the children were the delight of Pearl’s life, giving her the opportunity to engage in one of her greatest pleasures — teaching.
Pearl’s life was a very busy one. When her son Westly started school she went to work part time at George Kennedy’s Eastside Grocery, now operated by George’s son, Roger.
She worked there for eight years before joining the staff at the Baker County Public Library, where she worked for 16 years before retiring. At the library, she started as book mender, then progressed to the children’s library and adult services. Outstanding among her many services was her work as the library’s historian. After retiring, she kept her library volunteer status, which she still held at her death.
Pearl’s volunteer services began at an early age, around the neighborhood. They progressed through school years, including PTA, Cub Scouts and Brownie Scouts, and many 4-H activities for both boys and girls.
She particularly liked to read aloud and had a number of programs at the library, many of Baker’s schools, and for a variety of senior citizens. She also brought history programs to many of those people.
Although Pearl always yearned to travel, that opportunity didn’t come until late in life. She was 60 years old when she embarked on a six-week trip to Europe and Russia. She than traveled to Australia, Alaska, and Mexico, as well as taking many domestic excursions. After a gala 80th birthday party, she took a three-week trip to England, where she completed a long-term genealogy effort by locating graves of her Hayden ancestors, and the site of their departure for America in 1630.
Most people will remember Pearl for her dedicated work in Baker County history. She was a major contributor to collection and interpretation of the history of Baker County and Eastern Oregon.
Her materials are housed at the library as the Pearl Hayden Jones Historical Collection. She was a lifetime member of the Baker County Historical Society, worked to establish the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center and the Oregon Trail Regional Museum, led historic tours, as well as a wide variety of other history-related activities.
She published two books on historic homes of Baker City and helped lifelong Baker City resident Loy Winter Wisdom write her memoirs and a history of her father, John William Wisdom, one of Baker’s first merchants.
Pearl often contributed articles on local history to Baker’s two newspapers and from 1999 to 2002 was author of a history column in the Baker City Herald. Her work made history come alive for many others and helped confirm the cultural and historic background of Eastern Oregon, particularly Baker City and Baker County.
Pearl’s family would particularly like to thank her longtime friend, Monica Bailey, and the staff of Idlewood Manor, Tammy Meyer and Jim Brashler, for their love and kindness.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Baker County Library Historical Collection or to the Muscular Dystrophy Association through Coles Funeral Home, 1950 Place St., Baker City, OR 97814.
Used with permission from: Baker City Herald, Baker City, Oregon, April 28, 2006
Transcribed by: Belva Ticknor