Aug. 25, 1954 – July 7, 2013
After a year-long battle with glioblastoma, Warren leaves us to be led home by his heart dogs, Ryker and Harley. A warm, honest, and genuine man, Warren was loved by many and leaves friends around the world.
Warren was born in Macon, Ga., to USAF Colonel James Theodore “Ted” Jones (1923 – 1991) of Georgia and Havelyn Jenkins Jones (1925 – 1999) of South Carolina. As an Airforce brat, Warren lived all over the world, including Japan, Washington, D.C., Alaska, and New Mexico. After graduating high school in Albuquerque, he attended UC Davis, studying chemical engineering and environmental engineering. Davis became home for longer than any place he’d lived until that point.
While at Davis, he met his next door neighbor, Samie Foster. Knowing she was a dog lover, he asked her to come with him to look at a litter of sheltie mix puppies. They brought home Reyna, who was with them for the next 16+ years. Warren and Samie were married in July of 1983, a wedding that Warren’s mother threatened to boycott because, appropriately enough for Warren and Sam, a dog was the ring-bearer.
After receiving a doctorate in environmental engineering from the University of California at Davis, Warren came to Bozeman in 1986 and began doing research at MSU in the Center for Biofilm Engineering and teaching in the Department of Civil Engineering. As time progressed, he became the point of contact and advocate for the environmental engineering program. Warren had a passion for teaching and loved working with students. Known for his tough exams and rigorous discipline, he was nonetheless beloved by his students and colleagues, as these comments from his Facebook page attest: “Warren’s door was always open” and “Your life’s work reminds me that the business of the University, composed of teaching, research, and a lot of meetings, is ultimately the mentoring of the next generation.” His gentle yet knowledgeable manner extended to all areas of his life: “Whether teaching students in engineering or judging a handler and dog on the Schutzhund field, Warren could make you feel comfortable and relaxed even though you were about to do something you feared the most.”
In addition to teaching, Warren served as Chair of Faculty Senate at MSU, was the faculty advisor for the civil engineering student honors organization Chi Epsilon, and was a professional member of the American Water Works Association. He volunteered as a board member for the Gallatin County Local Water Quality District and was chair of the Gallatin County Board of Health. He had a long-standing involvement with the Montana Water School, which offers certification and career enhancement programs to professionals working on civil and industrial water projects.
Warren’s love of teaching extended to helping Samie home school their son, Derek, born in 1994. Derek inherited his father’s intelligence, quick wit, and diversified talents.
Warren was also an avid lover of German shepherds and Malinois, dog training, and the sport of Schutzhund. As a performance judge with the United Schutzhund Clubs of America, Warren helped many new competitors through their trial jitters and made them feel at ease.
Warren loved the blues. He was a roadie with several bands in college and formed the rock band Baby Fae and the Heartless Baboons with several friends, writing the local hit song, “I Love Ya Baby, But You Got No Heart.” After moving to Bozeman, he played bass guitar with Textbook Blues for many years. Ironically, their last gig together was a CD release party for Got Your Number which featured songs with lyrics written by Warren, including “Priorities” and “Thro’ Da Ball.”
Now we are all singing the blues because the big band conductor in the sky done got his number.
Warren leaves his cherished wife of 30 years, Samie, and beloved son, Derek; brother-in-law, Chris Foster of Colorado; and mother-in-law Patricia Foster of Bozeman (formerly San Diego).
No memorial services are planned; please treasure your memories of Warren and think of him often as you laugh, tell stories, talk dogs, drink a good beer, listen to music, play with your dog, eat hotter ‘n’ hell Mexican or Indian food, or enjoy a good chicken-fried steak. Play on, Warren, and ROCK THE HOUSE!
In recognition and honor of his dedication to education, contributions may be made in Warren’s memory to the “Warren L. Jones Memorial Scholarship.” Please make checks payable to the MSU Alumni Foundation, P.O. Box 172750, Bozeman, MT 59717-2750.