Jay Jones, 61, of Lighthouse Point FL died peacefully on March 11, 2018 from Younger Onset Alzheimer's Disease.
Jay was born August 25, 1956 at Good Samaritan Hospital to Pat & Hal Jones and later a sister, Carol, joined them. He grew up in Palm Beach County Florida, spending most of his free time in and out of, or around, the water, and there were always the dogs...
While his first business venture as a youngster was selling their own mangos back to his neighbors, his professional career was centered in the boating industry where he worked some 30 years alongside his father at Hal Jones & Company. His devotion to his clients and staff showed in the friendships that were so important to him.
The love of Jay's life was his little daughter whose nickname Natty Girl was painted on the back of his boat. He could be seen walking hand in hand with her and her princess fishing pole to the many canals near home. They spent hours together, him pushing her on her little swing in the yard and teaching her to surf in the pool. He laughed with her perched in the cockpit of that boat. Every possible Saturday morning was spent buying donuts and gathering shells on the beach for Daddy and Natty Day. Not one work day ended without him rushing home to hug her.
Jay's humanity was obvious as he routinely committed his time for many years to helping those struggling with addiction in prison. Diagnosed with Younger Onset Alzheimer's Disease at age 50, Jay chose not to try to save himself, but to pave an easier path for those following him.
With his beloved wife Laura as his vehicle, and his cherished little daughter tagging along, Jay showed up wherever and whenever the Alzheimer's Association asked him to help make life better for others with the devastating diagnosis. While steadily losing his ability to communicate easily, he shared his story with countless senators, congressional reps, media and celebrities. He enthusiastically worked alone and alongside others creating multiple outreach programs to help educate, entertain, and counsel those diagnosed.
Jay's most well-known accomplishments were testifying for the addition of Alzheimer's Disease to Social Security Disability Compassionate Allowances list, and his faith based Dementia Ministry, JAYs Group, at Calvary Chapel in Fort Lauderdale. The former, passed in 2010, enables those under 65 to be approved for and receive SSDI Income in a matter of weeks or months as opposed to even as long as a 4 year battle requiring legal fees. The latter continues to serve the local community since 2010 helping hundreds of diagnosed and their loved ones battle the fear and self-pity that can haunt and prevent them from living productive, joyful lives.
It takes an army to support a young family with a toddler when they are struck by Alzheimer's. Recognition must be given to the countless CNAs, nurses, doctors, attorneys, financial planners, pastors, schools, outreach agencies, government officials, police, firemen, senators, congressmen, media, therapists, self-care professionals, friends, neighbors, and family members who tirelessly supported the family throughout the 15 year battle to successfully thrive in spite of the disease. We are forever grateful for your kindness.
He leaves behind his cherished 15 year old daughter, stepson Tomer (Hannah) Bar-On of San Diego, wife Laura Suihkonen Jones, mother Pat Jones of West Pam Beach, sister Carol Jones Venero of West Palm Beach, several nieces and nephews, in-laws, aunts and cousins.
Donations in lieu of flowers can be made in his memory to his favorite charities: American Association of Caregiving Youth, Alzheimer's Association, or Alzheimer's Community Care.
Services will be held at Calvary Chapel, 2401 W Cypress Creek Rd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33309, (954) 977-9673 on Saturday April 7, 2018 at 11:00 am.
My heart is with you in your time of sorrow.
I was very saddened to learn of Jay's passing. It has been a while since I've had the opportunity to see you at a Forum but both you and Jay left a lasting impression for me. Your willingness to share your story in order to make a difference for others was inspirational.
Please accept my condolences; a very special candle has been extinguished, but the light that Jay gave to the world, lives on.
Annetha Hall, Public Policy Office, Alzheimer's Association
Jay with the Grand Banks raffle prize
I'll see you on the other side Jay, don't be late. God bless and keep you and bless your family.
Thank You, Jesus, for gifting Jay to us and allowing us to know him and be forever changed by knowing him. I pray Your comfort for all. Your sister-in-Christ, Eve Surdin
You will be forever in my heart Jay love from your sister Carol
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