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Canon William Jones

09 October 2015

Canon Idris Thomas writes:

ON THE death of Canon William Jones on 1 September, aged 85, Bangor diocese lost a popular and a much loved priest. He was ordained 60 years ago, and, until a few weeks before his death was still taking services in the Churches of the Llŷn Peninsula, where he had retired in 1999, and enjoyed every moment with Elsie his wife at his home, Y Fachwen, in Rhoshirwaun. He was one of seven children, and was born and brought up in the parish of Bodedern on Anglesey.

Like William, his brother Richard entered the priesthood, and at the age of 88 still continues to help on Sundays. One brother, Ifan Islwyn, was killed in Italy during the Second World War. Apart from his staunch Anglican home, William was much influenced by the Vicar of his youth, the Revd Maldwyn Evans, where the vigour of the church youth movement Cymru’r Groes was prominent, and created much enthu-siasm in the parish as it did throughout the Church in Wales at that time.

After serving his curacy in Pwllheli, William became the incumbent at Aberdaron on the Llŷn Peninsula, then moved to Llandwrog and Groeslon in Arfon, and served afterwards, before his retirement, for 28 years in Eifionydd, in the churches of Llanystumdwy, Llangybi, Llanarmon, and Dolbenmaen.

In Llandwrog, William fought successfully with others to keep open the church school. Caernarfonshire County Council at that time, and incredibly the Diocesan Schools Committee, were united in their endeavours to close it; but the parents wanted to keep the church ethos alive, and today, thanks to the efforts of William Jones and efforts and others, Llandwrog Primary School is a very successful place of learning.

William for years was a District and Community Councillor for Llanystumdwy, and became Chairman of Cyngor Dosbarth Dwyfor (Dwyfor District Council), and of many of its committees, and represented it on various outside bodies. He always said that his work as a councillor was a natural extension of his work as a parish priest, and he was a wise and strong councillor: the needs of his people and the area always came first. He was proud that two other clerics on the Llŷn Peninsula, the Revd Herbert Thomas of Llannor, and Canon Robert Williams of Llangwnadl, came to chair the District Council.

During his long ministry, he stood firm and steadfast on the Anglican traditions, liturgy, order, creeds, discipline, and teaching of the Church, and his emphasis on its Welshness. Despite seeing various efforts at times to stifle all this, William was like a quiet pillar who always remained true to his conviction. His lovable personality and kindness of heart attracted him to many people within the Church and beyond.

He was a staunch member of Credo Cymru. Together with Canon Geraint Vaughan Jones, he started in Bangor diocese a branch of the clergy trade union MSF, as it was then, and many joined.

A requiem was celebrated at Llangwnadl Church, and the funeral, which was taken by Bishop David Thomas of Swansea, and Canon Idris Thomas of Deiniolen, at Aberdaron Church.

Condolences are expressed to his widow Elsie, and sons Gareth, Rhys, Ifan, Huw, and Shôn, and their families. He will be sadly missed.

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