Walter Shuler Jones 1 2 3 4 5
- Born: 3 Nov 1892, Norristown, Montgomery, PA 2 4
- Marriage (1): Ruth Irene Beecher
- Died: 1 Apr 1954, Norristown, Montgomery, PA at age 61 2 3 6
- Buried: 5 Apr 1954, Ambler: Whitemarsh Memorial Park, Montgomery, PA 2
Noted events in his life were:
1. Occupation: Walter was a single man working as Asst. Foreman at Diamond State Fibre Co. In West Conoshohocken on 5 Jun 1917 in Norristown, Montgomery, PA. 4
2. He was described as Short, medium build, brown eyes, dark brown hair, not bald on 5 Jun 1917 in Norristown, Montgomery, PA. 4
3. Residence: 639 Stanbridge St, Norristown, PA on 5 Jun 1917 in Norristown, Montgomery, PA. 4
4. Census in 1920 in Norristown, Montgomery, PA. The 1920 census recorded owning a home at 639 Stanbridge Street; Lydia M. Jones, 63, widowed, living with son Walter S. Jones, asst. supervisor in fibre co., 27, single; and daughter Ruth H., railroad clerk, 22, single. They and their parents were born in Pennsylvania.
5. Residence: Belvoir Road & Old Arch Road, Norristown, PA on 1 Apr 1952 in Norristown, Montgomery, PA. 2
6. Cause of Death: accidental fire in home at 6:40 a.m., suffocation and general burns, 1 Apr 1954, Norristown, Montgomery, PA. 2
7. Newspaper: Times Herald: Couple Perish In Plymouth Blaze, 1 Apr 1954, Norristown, Montgomery, PA. 3 W. S. Jones and Wife Found Dead In Their Home On Belvoir Rd.
Husband, Widely Known Salesman With West Conshohocken Firm, Believed Overcome Attempting To Open Window; Victims Former Residents of Coleston; Blaze Causes $10,000 Damage To Home
A widely- known paper company salesman and his wife suffocated in their smoke- filled Norristown R. D. home this morning as fire, presumably started by a cigarette in the living room divan, filled their home with smoke, destroyed the contents and caused an estimated damage of $10,000 to the eight-room residence.
Dead are Walter S. Jones, 62, and his wife, Ruth (Beecher) Jones, 52. His body was found slumped in a sitting position in a first-floor bedroom adjacent to the living room and his wife's charred body was found lying on the living room floor near a television set.
The residents is located on the Southeast corner of Belvoir Rd. and New Hope St., Plymouth Twp., just opposite the Plymouth Valley homes.
The first apparently started sometime after midnight. A spring-type clock on the living room mantle piece was stopped at 12.50.
All the electric clocks in the home, including a radio-clock combination in the upstairs bedroom, were stopped at 1.50, the time apparently when the fire knocked out the fuse-box in the cellar.
Both beds in the upstairs bedroom had been slept in and sheets were charred by the intense heat and smoke. Some six hours after the estimate time that the fire broke out, heat in the bedroom was still noticeable and bureau drawers were still heated.
(photo caption: Walter E. Jones, of 1205 W. Oak St., descends a ladder, at left, after entering the Plymouth home in which his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Walter S. Jones, were suffocated by smoke from a fire this morning. A fireman, upper left, aids the son. At right is Plymouth Police Sgt. Vito Fusco.)
(photo caption: Above is the Plymouth Township home in which Walter S. Jones and his wife, Ruth, were suffocated by fire early this morning. The couple, who had been asleep on the second floor, were aroused by smoke which filled the home, and were felled as they attempted to escape. Their bodies were found on the first floor. About $10,000 damage was caused to the home by fire and smoke. The blaze apparently started in a divan in the living room.)
According to Edward H. Chew, of Flourtown, fire marshall of Montgomery County's Fourth District, who investigated, the couple apparently retired and some time later noticed the heat and smoke. They then apparently went downstairs where their lifeless bodies were found.
(photo portrait of Walter S. Jones)
Mr. Jones presumably tried to open a window in the downstairs bedroom next to the living room as the curtains at this window were pulled from their rod. He was slumped between a radiator under the window and a bureau.
The salesman, who has been associated with Westfield River Paper Co., West Conshohocken (formerly Glassine Paper Co.), for 30 years, suffered only slight burns. His wife's body was charred.
Dr. John C. Simpson, acting coroner, said death was due to suffocation.
The fire, although believed to have been started in the divan, possibly could have been started by a short circuit, it was reported.
Fire Marshal Chew said the first started in the divan, according to his investigation.
On examining the completely consumed divan that burned a large hole through the living room floor, he said: "The fire must have started here. The undersides of the basement rafters under the divan are not burned although the rafters at the top are burned away."
The fire was not discovered until about 6.15 A. M. when a Plymouth Valley resident, Mrs. Vivian Huttlemeyer, Woodbrook Lane, on her way to work, noticed smoke coming from around the windows of the two-story, white masonry home.
She was unable to gain entrance and ran next door where she told Mrs. Helen Ragusa, whose husband owns the home that the Joneses were renting.
Mrs. Ragusa, who has a key to the damaged home, tried to get to the front door by was stopped by heavy billowing smoke pouring from the building.
Then another neighbor, Lamarr Sharer, who resides across from the Ragusas at 605 Belvoir Rd., Plymouth Valley, came by and Mrs. Ragusa shouted to him, "the house is on fire."
He dashed to his home and called Plymouth Twp. police and fire department. Twenty-five firemen, under Chief Donald Tarbutton, Harmansville, brought the fire under control after smoke ejector equipment was pressed into service.
Firemen forced their way into the hot and smoke home and found the victims.
Mrs. Ragusa then called the Joneses' son, Walter E. Jones, 29, of 1205 W. Oak. St., Norristown. He and his wife went to the scene.
Anxious for the safety of his parents, Jones, unnoticed by firemen, ascended a ladder which had been placed against the house by a neighbor, and climbed in second story window.
Groping around one of the upstairs bedrooms, firemen downstairs and spectators on the outside could hear him calling, "Mother, Mother." Then, unable to withstand the heavy smoke any longer, Jones made his way back to the window and had to be assisted to the ground by firemen.
He was take to a nearby police car by Sgt. Fusco and given first aid treatment.
Young Jones is a salesman for Borss Chevrolet Co., Norristown. He had last seen his parents Monday night when they visited him and their grandchild in Norristown.
Mr. Jones was widely known in the paper industry and was a long-time member of Plymouth Country Club. He and his wife lived alone at the Belvoir Rd. address.
They had moved there one year ago after residing for 25 years at 322 Johnson Hwy., Coleston.
Mr. and Mrs. Jones were well-known members of the Plymouth County Club, where both played golf. Mrs. Jones was a member of the women's inter-club team and in 1939 was women's champion of the club.
In the intense smoldering fire and smoke, all of the rooms of the single home were damaged; all the contents were ruined.
Where the divan burned through the floor, only a few springs and a small portion of the divan were still intact. Most of the springs had dropped through the gaping hole in the living room floor.
Mrs. Ragusa said the Joneses were still up at 11:30 P. M. as she noticed lights on throughout the house. Both man and wife were in nightclothes when found.
Much excitement developed when the discovery was made, more than four hours after the tragedy.
Traffic was blocked off of New Hope St., which runs into Old Arch Rd., a block from the Belvoir Rd. intersection.
Chief Harry Snear, Plymouth Twp. police, Sgt. Vito Fusco and Officers Hugh Bryne and Frank Mancini investigated the scene, as well as Fire Marshall Chew and Acting Coroner Simpson.
Chief Louis Rossiter and Officer Earl Kelly, Whitpain Twp., assisted in directing traffic.
In addition to the 25 Harmonville and Plymouth Fire Co. members who responded to the call, the Harmonville Fire Police Auxiliary truck was dispatched by County Radio Operator Robert Davis.
Miss Blanche Famous, of 1205 W. Oak St., a niece of Mr. Jones, stated today that she talked with the Jones couple last evening. They spent the evening playing a cross-hand game of cards, she said.
Miss Famous asserted taht the couple was extremely careful about burning cigar and cigarette butts. They were not in the habit of leaving them lie around carelessly,she said.
Mr. Jones is a native of Norristown. His wife came from Indiana.
Services for Mr. and Mrs. Jones will be held at 2 P. M. Monday from the Boyd Funeral Home, 718 Swede St., with the Rev. Roland O. Hudson, pastor of Calvary Baptist Church, officiating. Interment in Whitemarsh Memorial Park.
Ruth Irene (Beecher) Jones was born May 19, 1901 in Indiana. She is survived by her son, Walter Jones, 1205 W. Oak St., and a granddaughter, Sandra Arlene. Also a brother, Watson Beecher, Manayunk; two sisters, Mrs. Alta Vance, Township Line, East Norriton, and Opal Beecher, Manayunk.
Mr. Jones, son of the late John S. and Lydia Shuler Jones, was born in Norristown Nov 3, 1892.
He was a member of the Calvary Baptist Church. Also the Plymouth and Seaview Country Clubs. His only survivors are his son and granddaughter.
Mr. Jones formerly was employed by Diamond State Fibre Co., Bridgeport, later Continental Diamond Fibre Co., before going with the newly-organized Glassine Paper Co. firm in 1925 as sales manager.
In 1941, Glassine became Westfield River Paper Co. and Mr. Jones was field sales manager with that company since that time.
He was graduated from Norristown High School.
8. Occupation: salesman, paper company on 1 Apr 1954 in Norristown, Montgomery, PA. 2
9. Newspaper: Philadelphia Inquirer: Couple Burned To Death as Fire Sweeps Home. Son Is Rescued., 2 Apr 1954, Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA. 6 Walter S. Jones, 62, a paper company sales manager, and his wife, Ruth, 54, died of burns and smoke inhalation yesterday when a slow-burning fire destroyed a section of the first floor of their home in Plymouth Valley, near Norristown. The body of Jones, clad in pajamas, was found near a closed window in a bedroom at the rear. His wife's body, badly burned, was in the living room, where the fire was centered. Their son, Walter, 29, who hurried to the scene from his apartment in Norristown when a neighbor telephoned, was rescued when he became trapped after entering the smoke-filled dwelling in a futile attempt to save his parents.
NOTICED BY PASSER-BY
Jones was employed by the Westfleld River Paper Co., West Conshohocken. Both he and his wife were amateur golfers, playing mostly in competition at the Plymouth Country Club, where they were members.
The fire was discovered at 6:30 A. M. by Mrs. Vivian Hutelmyer, who was driving to work when she noticed smoke pouring from the fire-floor windows. She hammered at the front door and windows and when she got no response ran next door to the home of Mr. and Mrs. Gerald William L. Rafsky,
Mrs Rafsky telephoned an alarm to the Norristown police radio center, then called the younger Jones at his apartment at 1205 W. Oak St., Norristown. The fire companies were sent to the scene. Also responding were Police Sgt. Vito Fusco and Patrolman Hugh Byrne.
FIREMEN DRIVEN BACK
Firemen broke open the front door but were driven back by the dense smoke and flames. About the same time they heard the son shouting "Mother! Mother!"
Young Jones had climbed a ladder and entered a second floor window. Firemen wearing gas masks followed him into the building and found him reeling in the second-floor bedroom. Jones and his wife, the former Ruth Beecher, sold their home in East Norriton township about a year ago and moved to the Plymouth Valley residence.
Walter married Ruth Irene Beecher, daughter of William Peter Beecher and Louella May Creek. (Ruth Irene Beecher was born on 19 May 1898 in Hartford City, Blackford, IN,7 8 died on 1 Apr 1954 in Norristown, Montgomery, PA 1 6 8 and was buried on 5 Apr 1954 in Ambler: Whitemarsh Memorial Park, Montgomery, PA 1 8.)