Napa Valley Marketplace Magazine “Finding Napa or Napa Finding Me” March 2009.
Finding Napa or Napa Finding Me – Bob & Sylvia Jones
By JoAnn Busenbark
As we go through life we run into people who live spontaneously and others who plan well in advance. The difference in decision-making between these two varying styles separates them by a mile. I am a, “whatever crosses my path sort of person.” Long range planning isn’t my personal forte so I appreciate people who live their life in a planning mode.
Bob and Sylvia Jones are two examples. They met at a Unitarian Universalist fellowship in Montgomery, Alabama in 1956. Sylvia, a native of Alabama, and Bob, of Washington, DC, married and moved to Bob’s hometown. Their two children raised in Chevy Chase, MD, have benefited from parents who have many and diverse interests. Their daughter is an executive assistant to a managing director of a major US bank in New York and their son is a veterinarian in Napa.
Bob has always been fascinated with politics and has made that his lifetime career. He started as a consultant for campaigns and on the staff of elected officials in 1967. Seven presidential campaigns, thirty-three different members of Congress and a few foreign campaigns later, he is still involved. In addition, he was an adjunct professor at the New School in New York and American University in Washington D.C. He co-edited the Political Image Merchants, a book describing new political techniques in the 1970’s.
For congressional clients he analyzed the demographics of their constituency, built databases, and produced mail to the different constituent groups. He was consultant to Secretary of State March Fong Eu, helping to draft and implement voter registration by mail in California. He directed studies of the election process for the US General Accounting Office and the Federal Election Commission.
Sylvia, a speech pathologist, inaugurated speech and hearing services for the Easter Seal Society in Montgomery, Alabama. She was on the staff at the National Institutes of Health. At the American Speech and Hearing Association, she traveled widely, recruiting minority students to enter this profession. After leaving her speech pathology career she worked as executive director or development director for several nonprofit organizations.
She has also been involved in grass roots politics. Her children grew up going door to door with her, handing out political flyers and organizing the community.
As Bob and Sylvia approached retirement age, their children had an interest in their being closer to them. It was time for them to plan the next chapter in their lives. Their Washington DC and Maryland roots were deep so leaving was not an easy thing.
Being adventurous, they decided they wanted to make a move while they were physically able and could start a new life in retirement. Their many trips to Napa to visit their son and daughter-in-law gave them an opportunity to see and feel what they might do if they relocated to Napa. After a period of world travel they packed it all up and moved to Napa four years ago. They are delighted to start a new life in Napa and are grateful for all those who have made it a beautiful and welcoming community.
They became involved with the Unitarian Universialist Congregation, the Napa Land Trust and the Napa Humane Society. They still travel and spent a month in Europe this past summer to celebrate a “big number” birthday for Bob with many friends from all over the world. Were they involved in the recent Presidential election? Yes, they were. Political fever did not leave them when they retired.
If you measure the success of life by what you leave behind for the next generation, Bob and Sylvia have had a wonderfully successful life.
Thanks for coming to spend your retirement with us in Napa. You found the right site for your retirement energy.