ROBERT PIERCE • Leader & Times
Jones Monument has been a vital business in the Liberal community since 1954.
The business was started by E.R. Jones Jr. on property that had been his grandfather’s home, Originally, the office had been the refurbished garage of that home.
In 1984, Gene Jones purchased the company from his father. In 1993, he built the present building and facility at 810 N. Kansas Ave., and the family has been serving the community with quality work this entire time.
Gene’s wife, Sharon, said that location is just part of the evolution of Jones Monument.
“Going from a business that was in several locations to having everything in one location up there when we built the new building,” she said.
In the beginning, Sharon said lettering and designs were done by hand press stencil and sandblasting on the family farm.
“The layout when we had at my house,” she said. “The style of monuments we did has changed. We did more sculptured work like you’d see from the old times – sculpted roses and that sort of thing. We’re getting a lot of that in now.”
With the new building came computers that provided unlimited designs and lettering styles that offered customers a more personalized monument.
“Once, we switched to computers, we did the layout at my house,” Sharon said. “We set the computer up there because we still had just a small garage area. We didn’t move everything together until we built the building.”
Sharon said computers made the monument process much easier.
“Before, we were doing what they called hand pressed,” she said. “You’d lay out all the letters, and you’d run it through a press. This way, we were able to customize a little more and be able to place things in different areas rather than all on one line.”
In the most recent decades, hand etching and laser etching have expanded design choices as well, and aside from monuments seen in cemeteries, Jones Monument has designed other familiar works around town.
“We did bricks for Dorothy’s House,” Sharon said. “We’ve done some war memorials here in Liberal and Hugoton. We did the Pancake statue there by the library. We did the Liberal signs outside of town.”
Sharon said E.R. Jones’ interest in monuments came from seeing publications about starting such a business.
“He had the nursery there on Main Street for the longest time, and that’s when he decided to get into that,” she said. “He had someone come from Georgia to get things going.”
Starting from good service and quality products to excellent service and the finest products, Gene and Sharon strived every year to build the best monuments possible.
“We have provided a necessary service, and we have provide quality product people are very satisfied with this,” Sharon said. “They’re willing to come back to us if they have further need, and we have had repeat customers. That speaks for the quality and the service we gave.”
Now, the Jones are retiring, and with no one in the family willing to take over the business, Jones Monument will close. Sharon said in retirement, the couple will likely do some things they have been meaning to do for quite some time.
“We’ll probably take some trips, go and visit family, but nothing in particular,” she said.
The building that was home to Jones Monument has been sold, and monuments will continue to be made – under a different name.
The Jones are proud to have provided a service and to be a part of the story of the Liberal community and the surrounding area.
“We did supply a quality product and gave good service,” Sharon said. “I’ve had people come up to me and tell me how proud they were of what we had done and how they had received compliments on their monument. That tells us we were doing something right. We wish to thank our friends and neighbors for their support and privilege of serving them as we end this chapter of Jones Monument Co.”