However, few have felt the loss more than eldest son Jason, who is about to become a father for the first time.
This month, Jones is mourning the first anniversary of his dad’s death while simultaneously preparing for the birth of his son, Jonah Andrew Jones, on June 25.
As the date draws nearer, Rick is never far from his mind. Jones is reminded of him every time that he looks in the mirror.
“I’m starting to look like him now. I always thought I looked a little better,” he joked.
Jones inherited more from Rick than physical traits. The two also shared a love of cars.
Rick worked as a mechanic for most of his life. During his eight years as a pressman, coworkers often looked to him to get their broken down vehicles running again.
Jones followed in his dad’s footsteps. He secured a job at a local car dealership while still in high school. He later moved to Wyoming to study automotive technology at WyoTech. Jones took a job at Don Schumaker Racing and spent 10 months working on top fuel dragsters before a souring economy and his sister’s cancer diagnosis brought him home again.
Over the course of three years, Jones lost his father-in-law, his grandfather, his sister and finally, his father.
Jerusha Jane “Rusha” Jones Key, the 28-year-old daughter of Rick and Elane Jones, battled cancer for three and half years before her death in July 2011. Rick’s death two years later from complications of a stroke was much more unexpected.
“I’m still kind of in shock about it. The baby has kept me busy for the past year. I guess that’s a good thing,” Jones said.
The news that Jason and his wife, Jenna, were expecting a son was a welcome surprise to both of their families.
The couple had been trying to conceive since they were married five years ago. After suffering a miscarriage three years ago, Jenna was diagnosed with endometriosis.
Although she had been warned that she might not be able to conceive again, she discovered that she was pregnant several months after Rick’s death.
“I’m sure he would be jumping up and down,” Jones said about the birth of Jonah, Rick’s second grandson.
In recent weeks, Jones has been coping with first-time father jitters by making preparations such as starting a college fund and increasing his life insurance policy.
While Jones anticipates that he will have a lot of questions he would like to pose to his dad after Jonah’s birth, he is thankful for lessons about hard work, loyalty and love that he learned from Rick in their time together.
“He taught me everything I needed. He was always there for me,” Jones said.