Ann Gleo (Costin) Jones, beloved mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, died at her home in Cody on Saturday, April 11, 2020. She was 90 years old.
Ann was born in Putnam County, 30 miles west of Indianapolis, Ind., on Jan. 17, 1930, to Hughie and Myrtle Costin, one of five children. It was said to be 16 below zero that morning, with the family huddled around the potbelly stove.
Ann’s childhood was marked by the lean years of the Depression. She grew up in an uninsulated three-room house without electricity or running water. Her son Richard remembers as a small child fetching water at the spring down in the holler, which was the family’s water source. He played on the wild grape vines while the adults filled the buckets. As they carried the heavy buckets up and out of the holler and across the field to the house, Richard would follow behind, swatting at Mayapples and horse weeds with a stick used as sword.
When the family needed food, Hughie would send Ann out into the woods with an old single shot .22 rifle and one shell, instructing her to get two squirrels with one shot. “Now you wait ’til two of ’em are lined up,” he would say, “And get ’em both.” That Ann was known as a sure shot was one reason he married her, her husband later said.
Ann spent much of her childhood hunting and fishing in the woods and by the creeks of central Indiana. She hunted not only squirrels but also Ginseng, mushrooms, berries, nuts, watercress, dandelion greens and other edible plants. She was always very connected to the natural world, first by necessity and later by love.
One of Richard’s most vivid memories is of lying by his mother on the fold-out Davenport couch in the old house “down home.” They were dozing off for the night as a steady Midwestern rain could be heard on the tin roof. She turned to him and whispered, “Oh sweetie, listen to it rain.” Ann didn’t care to have “house cats” for sons. If she caught them inside on a nice day, she would tell them, “You boys get outside and get the stink off!”
After graduating from Cloverdale High School, Ann married Estel Jones in 1949. Estel had served in WWII and afterward trained in Chicago on the GI Bill as an electrician and TV repairman. The couple made their home in Indianapolis and started a business, Jones Radio and Television Service.
When her sons were out of grade school, Ann went to work as a secretary for Bryant Heating and Cooling Co. Supervisors noticed her talents and put her in charge of the company’s rewards programs. Every Memorial Day weekend Ann brought Bryant salespeople from around the country to the Indianapolis 500. She arranged travel, lodging, food and entertainment for as many as 700 people. She also organized trips to Europe, accompanying her clients to England, Switzerland and France, and even traveling on the Orient Express.
When Carrier Corporation bought out Bryant and moved the advertising and promotion operations to Syracuse, N.Y., the company contracted with Ann to continue with the rewards program. She established a successful business, Ann Jones Incentives (AJI). In these early days of computers, Estel became her IT guy. As well as making a home and raising a family, they were a great business team.
Ann and Estel raised two sons, Rex and Richard, putting both boys as well as five grandchildren through college. Rex graduated from Asbury College in Wilmore, Ky., and earned a Master of Divinity degree from Asbury Theological Seminary. Rex had a career as a pastor in the Methodist Church.
Richard graduated from Hanover College in Hanover, Ind., earning a Bachelor of Arts in Biology. He worked as a backcountry ranger for the National Park Service and the U.S. Forest Service, and in law enforcement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Ann and Estel especially enjoyed visiting Yellowstone National Park when Richard worked there. On one occasion, Ann famously carried a box of cooked pork chops into the Lower Blacktail patrol cabin on the Yellowstone River. She hiked in five miles carrying the box tied up with string.
Ann’s grandchildren and great-grandchildren were the light of her life. When she was not cooking or caring for them or others, Ann liked to walk her dogs or hunt Morel mushrooms in the woods of rural Indiana. She also enjoyed flower gardening, a little gambling at casinos, attending family reunions, and watching the Indianapolis Indians baseball team. Ann was an active Christian woman and a devoted member of the Methodist church.
In 2002 Ann lost her husband to cancer. She suffered a debilitating stroke in 2010 but continued to live in her home with 24/7 care for a period. Later Ann came to live in Cody with Richard and his wife, Mary. Here she made new friends and enjoyed lunches at the Senior Center. After winning so often at bingo, she became known as “Ol’ Lucky.”
Ann liked a milkshake after showering at the Rec Center, where the friendly staff never failed to greet her warmly. She also enjoyed Wheel of Fortune, the music of Gene Autry and traditional hymns. She looked forward to car rides with Richard or one of her loving caregivers. She liked giving directions and pointing out where they should turn. Ann came to cherish her caregivers, Brenda, Pamela, Brandy and Gaye, who were tender, kind and professional.
Ann never looked for someone to help her but always looked for someone she could help. Her generosity was astounding. She spent countless hours volunteering with such organizations as the Indianapolis Girls School for delinquent young women. She would buy pens, paper, treats and other materials for the girls while organizing fun activities. She never forgot the hard times that she experienced as a young girl. Her feistiness and courage in the face of difficulties were an example to all. She will be dearly missed.
Since services are not possible in these times, some parting words from her son, Richard. “Mother I love you so much. You were a very good woman, a caring and loving woman, and a strong woman. Yes, I will miss you dearly and keep you in my heart and think of you every day.”
Ann is survived by her sons Rex Jones (Luanne) of Indianapolis, Richard Jones (Mary Robinson) of Cody, four grandchildren Brian (Beth) Felker-Jones, Kirsten (Jay) Knox, Devin (Kari Gilmore) Jones and Ethan (Megan) Jones, Chicody (Rachel Young) Mayes and numerous great-grandchildren. She is also survived by her brother, Robert (Barbara) Costin. She was preceded in death by sister Eva Jean Costin, brothers Noble (Lois) Costin, and Jim (Norma/Wanda) Costin.
Arrangements have been made with Ballard Funeral Home in Cody. Funeral services in Indiana are pending.