CONNIE JONES CRUISE: CHEERFUL PHILANTHROPIST AND ALLIGATOR WRANGLERNov 29th, 2011 | Category: Feature Stories
By Dick McCracken
I knew the late Connie Jones for the last 50 years at Incarnate Word. There was never a time when she was not cheerful or excited by a new challenge. That was her nature.
So it came as no surprise when I learned that, during her student days at Incarnate Word College (IWC) in 1942, when an alligator waddled onto campus, the call went out for Jones to come to the rescue. She was a strong swimmer and not to mention fearless. A few friends joined her in the task and the alligator met its match. A photo in the San Antonio Express-News recorded the trophy.
Born the only child of Miriam Jauchler and T. Griffith Jones, Constance Jauchler Jones came from a long line of prolific Irish settlers that included a former mayor and a judge.
“Connie was a lady, a true gem and a wonderful role model for other women. She was always so gracious,” said Rosie Garcia Pompa ’91, UIW development director. “She was forever grateful for the education she received at IWC and knew the importance of giving back. Her teachers were not only mentors but lifelong friends.”
Jones practiced what she believed. Upon her death in October, 2010, she left a bequest combined with a generous gift from her husband Bob Cruise of $750,000 for an endowed Chair, The Constance and Miriam Jauchler Jones Chair in the UIW School of Math, Science and Engineering. Jones reason for the gift was “to instill in youth a questioning attitude, a curiosity, for learning, a thinking and analyzing ability; to give them a desire for a life of scholarship, both in and out of a formal education track, and a respect for life.”
She graduated from IWC in 1943, cum laude, with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and mathematics.
After graduation, she joined the U.S. Navy WAVES as an electronics engineer. “When I received my bachelor’s degree in mathematics and chemistry in 1943, I had a strong foundation in science, and a love for learning and the scientific method which sustained me in my advanced engineering studies at Harvard and MIT so that I could work as a naval officer in the Boston Navy Yard Radar Laboratories during World War II.” Jones was one of a small number of women who became a Commander in the U.S. Navy Reserve and was also an Honorary Admiral in the Texas Navy. She was honored in 1982 as a UIW Alumna of Distinction.
After the war, she was an analytical chemist with the Texas Pharmacal Company (now DFB Pharmaceuticals) where she was the only industrial chemist in San Antonio in the early 1950s. Thereafter, Jones devoted her life to the education of young people teaching high school and college mathematics for many years.
She spoke at the dedication of the new Science Hall in 1950 and lived to serve the campaign for two replacement buildings. At the end of her life, she served on the UIW Development Board.
In addition to her annual gifts, she also established a scholarship in memory of her mother, memorial gifts to the science campaign to honor her chemistry teacher, Sr. Michael Edward O’Byrne, CCVI and another endowment for her friend and colleague, Dr. Josephine McAmis.
“Over the years I have kept a close relationship with the Sisters and with Incarnate Word,” said Jones. “We no longer have the large number of Sisters to meet the needs of the next century. As alumni we are now called to follow their example.”
Special thanks to Elaine Ayala of the San Antonio Express-News, October 16, 2010.