THE Sunshine Coast Daily family is one fewer after the death of one of the paper's pioneers.
John Jones was the first general manager of the Sunshine Coast Newspaper Company and was at the helm when the first Sunshine Coast Daily was published on July 7, 1980.
Mr Jones, 80, had suffered ill health for some years following a heart attack and a stroke and died on Thursday night.
His former wife, Alison Barry-Jones, with whom he was still good friends, was at his side when he passed away.
Mr Jones was originally from New South Wales and worked his way up in the newspaper business after starting as a delivery boy for the Maitland Mercury.
"He was one of the old school. Started at the bottom and he learned what everybody else did,” Ms Barry-Jones said.
Mr Jones moved up the ranks to become advertising manager before moving to a newspaper at Taree, where he worked his way up to general manager.
He arrived on the Sunshine Coast in 1976 to take up a position as general manager of the Nambour Chronicle, one of the forerunners of the Sunshine Coast Daily.
Ms Jones said her former husband had strongly believed in the Sunshine Coast as a region and the Daily as a newspaper.
"He had a great passion for the Sunshine Coast to come together. He felt that doing the daily newspaper would give it an united voice and give it something to build upon
Former Nambour Chronicle editor Peter Richardson said he admired Mr Jones' skill and commitment.
"He was extremely proactive and put a tremendous amount of energy into getting the paper off the ground,” he said.
"He was a man of tremendous energy and foresight. He could see the potential of the area long before it became a tourist area.”
David Lonsdale, who was the Daily's founding editor, said he was "absolutely saddened” by the passing of his good friend.
Mr Jones was general manager of the company for 10 years before being offered a regional managerial position, based at Maryborough.
After his retirement, he returned to live on the Sunshine Coast.
Ms Barry-Jones said he had been very committed to his work with Rotary and was a strong supporter of the tourist industry and job creation.
The Daily was still a part of his day until about a fortnight ago when he was no longer physically able to read it.
"He'd get up at 5am and go and get the paper. He'd be getting withdrawal symptoms if it was half an hour late,” she said.
Mr Jones is survived by his three children, Mark, Megan and Amanda, and three step-children, Paul, Erica, Kylie and Alfie, and hsi grandchildren.
His funeral will be held at the Gregson and Weight chapel, Wises Rd, Maroochydore, on Wednesday, November 30, at 1pm.
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