Robert Warren Jones died on October 5, 2020 in Asheville, NC at the age of 85, from complications of a fall, and with the comfort of Hospice care. He was born in Ohio, the last of six children, to parents Benjamin Odes Jones and Emma Jones (née Brown). He grew up in Cleveland, OH where, through a strong public-school system, he discovered and fostered his lifelong passion for classical music. He graduated from The Cleveland Institute of Music, having studied with Giorgio Ciompi and Abraham Skernick and then served as the principle violist, in the Seventh Army Symphony in Stuttgart, Germany. He subsequently joined the Houston Symphony under Sir John Barbirolli followed by the Cincinnati Symphony under Max Rudolf, where he met his wife, Enid, also a violist. They married in 1965 in Cincinnati. In 1968, he and Enid joined the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, where he played, including as principle violist for eleven years, until he retired in 2010. With the ASO he played under Robert Shaw, Yoel Levi and Robert Spano, as well as guest conductors, including Igor Stravinsky, Aaron Copland, Pierre Monteux, Leopold Stokowski, Sir John Barbirolli and James Levine. He performed with the ASO in the 1988 European Debut tour, which began in Carnegie Hall, NY, followed by major European venues. His tenure with the ASO also included the opening and closing ceremonies of the Summer Olympic Games in 1996, at Centennial Olympic Stadium. During the years when the ASO was not a year-round orchestra, he spent summers as principle player with the Santa Fe Opera and at the Aspen and Blossom Music Festival. He also taught private violin and viola lessons and served as a coach for the Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra and was president of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Players’ Association. While his love of classical music - Mozart above all – was consistent throughout his life, his passion for the Cleveland Browns was equally unwavering, despite many seasons without reason for optimism. He took up long distance running in the nineteen eighties, after putting down cigarettes, and he did it with his characteristic discipline and commitment. He was active in the Atlanta Track Club, including every Fourth of July, waking in the early morning to get down to the Peachtree Road Race, as a volunteer or a runner, depending on the year. He spent his last few years closer to his family, in Asheville, well cared for by the amazing staff at Harmony at Reynolds Mountain. He was preceded in death by his wife, Enid Griffiths Jones, and his first daughter Lisa Christine Vigna. He is survived by his daughter, Jennifer Margaret Jones and son, Christopher Benjamin Jones, daughter-in-law Alejandra Gomez, son-in-law John Al Vigna. He is survived by six grandchildren -all of whom learned the game of chess from Grandpa - Olivia Margaret Vigna, Sophie Emma-Li Vigna, Benjamin Rhys Jones, Christopher Henry Jones, Lisa Josephine Steffen and Nicholas Robert Steffen and two step-grandchildren Oliver Lovera and Oriana Lovera. Services will be held in Asheville, at Riverside Cemetery, in the spring of 2021, when it may be safer to gather. In lieu of flowers, please send to the American Federation of Musicians, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, or any struggling orchestra across the land.
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