Ray Jones—Someone You Should Know

December 2015 View more

NMAG1215_SYSK_nm ray jones 1_800pxRay Jones is known for supporting local schools, leading fundraising efforts and for his philanthropy. Jones is also the owner of Friedrich-Jones Funeral Home in Naperville and Plainfield and has been actively involved in the community for nearly 40 years. He has served on numerous boards, including those at Edward Hospital, Naperville’s Little Friends, Little League, United Way, and Loaves & Fishes. He is currently a commissioner of the Naperville Police and Fire Board and a board member of St. Patrick’s Residence and chairs the largest annual fundraiser and capital campaign for SS. Peter & Paul Catholic Church, “Light the Way” and “Pass It On.”

You began your career at Friedrich Funeral Home in Naperville five decades ago, eventually you purchased the funeral home in 1977 and added your name to business. What is the most rewarding part of your job?

The most rewarding part of my job is meeting with a family at a time of need and being a good listener, listening to all of their concerns and needs. My motivation to keep working all of these years comes to me through all of the wonderful relationships I’ve developed with all of the family members and the community.

You are actively involved in numerous community events and charitable organizations in Naperville. Why is volunteering and giving back to the community such an important part of your life?

Giving back to the community is very important to me. I enjoy sharing the fruits and gifts that have been given to me (with others in the community). I am also very fortunate to have a business in a great community like Naperville.

With your busy schedule running a funeral home and raising a family, how do you find the time for all of your volunteer efforts?

I’ve learned to balance my time (between work, family and the community) and prioritize what is the important task for me at any given time.

In October, The Education Center of Development Resources honored you with the Kids’ Best Friend Award. What does this award mean to you?

This award hits close to home for me. I was a kid who struggled in school and I lost my father when I was in the first grade. The programs and services that they offer at The Education Center would have benefited me as a young child.

Do you have any plans of slowing down—or perhaps even ‘retiring’?

At this point and time in my life, I have no plans on retiring or slowing down. For the most part, I pretty much control my own schedule. I am also very fortunate to have my two children and an outstanding staff that surrounds and supports me everyday. My kids actually run the day-to-day operations of the business so that allows me to serve in whatever capacity that is needed (in the business and in the community).

Looking back, if you had to do it all over again, would you do anything differently?

Absolutely not! Since I was in grade school, I always wanted to be a funeral director. I’ve been very fortunate to have the opportunity to operate a funeral home in Naperville and Plainfield. From a health perspective, I believe it’s important to stay active and use your brain to stay healthy.

Photo by Robyn Sheldon