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When she started teaching in 1971 the 2nd graders in her class called her Miss Linda, but after she married Ray Jones, Linda (ne’e George) Jones, ’71, became Mrs. Linda.
A degree in elementary education powered Jones’ 30-year teaching career throughout Eastern Oregon. After three years teaching on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation she returned to her hometown of Baker City, where Ray was working as a radio DJ. He had a lifelong love for community theatre, and that’s how they met.
“He was playing Candy in ‘Mice and Men,’ and it was the last night of the show,” Jones said. “He invited me to the cast party at his apartment, and we were together ever since.”
Ray passed away in 2014, and their shared legacy of involvement in the arts lives on in Linda. She volunteers for local performing arts organizations and set up an endowment with the EOU Foundation in her will. The fund will provide scholarships for music and theatre students at EOU.
Legacy gifts often set aside a percentage of the estate for the beneficiary. In the Jones’ case, they decided to give 100% of their remaining estate to EOU students (after specific bequests in the will have been made).
“We decided to put our money into Eastern performing arts,” she said. “Education has always been important to me. I’m pleased to know it’s going to be used by people who have that desire and need it.”
She said she’s been impressed by recent performances on campus, and was inspired to contribute to the purchase of a new concert grand piano for McKenzie Theatre in 2019.
Although Ray got most of the stage time, Linda also sang and played piano. She was involved in 4-H and was one of seven members of the university’s last Evensong Court in 1971. She and her fellow princesses wore traditional Grecian gowns for the ceremony on the Grand Staircase.
She said EOU offered a higher education experience that suited her rural roots, and it continues to do so today.
“I grew up on a dairy farm. I’m a small town girl, and I needed small for college,” she said. “I didn’t want to get swallowed up on a big campus. That’s why Eastern was so great for me and still is now.”
Learn more about the EOU Foundation’s Legacy Society and how to support students through a gift of any size at eou.edu/foundation.
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