Nutty Putty Cave


Family Statement Regarding Death of John Edward Jones
John Jones
John Jones

Our beloved husband, father, son, brother, and friend John Edward Jones was pronounced dead at 11:57PM last night at the Nutty Putty Cave in Utah County.  He was twenty-six years old.  He is survived by his wife, Emily Dawn Petersen Jones and baby daughter Elizabeth Dawn Jones.  Emily and John just found out recently that they are also expecting their second child in June of next year.  John’s parents, Leon and Cherie Jones, live in Stansbury Park.  John has four brothers, Aaron, Michael, Spencer, and Josh, and two sisters, Cherie and Maria, as well as sixteen nieces and nephews – all of whom miss him tremendously.

John was born and raised in St. George, Utah, where he graduated from Dixie High School.  After graduating high school, John enrolled at Brigham Young University prior to serving a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Quito, Ecuador, following which he returned to and graduated from BYU.  It was at BYU where he met his sweetheart, Emily, and they were married in 2006.  John was currently in his second year of medical school at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.  He planned and was working toward becoming a Pediatric Cardiologist.  John had come home to Stansbury Park for Thanksgiving and had looked forward to enjoying the holiday surrounded by his wife, daughter, family and friends.

John was a remarkable person who strived to experience every good thing in life and achieve excellence in every thing he did.  We remember John foremost for his good nature, delightful sense of humor, strong work ethic, a genuine love of people, a masterful ability to relate to children, a love of and unwavering faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and his commitment to his family as an amazing husband, father, son and brother.  No matter how busy his day, how heavy his load, he always had time for his family and his scriptures.  He was an incredible example to all of us.  John’s loves also included basketball, BYU athletics, medicine, camping, reading, and teaching his daughter “Lizzie” how to growl like her Uncle Mike. He had a passion for missionary work in the church and had served in various positions of leadership.
John Jones
John Jones w/wife Emily

John’s last twenty-four some hours were spent trapped in a dark, tight crevice deep within the Nutty Putty Cave.  John loves the outdoors and, along with his brothers, had a strong sense of adventure.  And he had explored many caves and maneuvered his way through many tight spaces before.  But this time was different.  John unexpectedly found himself head-first, upside down, up against a dead-end, completely immobilized, unable to get himself out.  We know he fought with all he had to persevere and not lose hope across those long twenty-four hours, and many on the search and rescue team noted his remarkable good spirits and resilience until the end.

John Jones
John Jones w/daughter Lizzie
We would like to express our heartfelt appreciation and gratitude to the brave, dedicated, and selfless men and women – many of whom were volunteers – who we know did all they could to get John out.  We are told nearly one hundred personnel – including sheriffs, firemen, paramedics, cavers, and other rescue workers – were involved with the search and rescue operation, and we are deeply thankful for the compassion and care they showed John and our family – even to the point of singing John primary songs to help get him through the night.
John Jones
John Jones w/wife Emily

There are simply too many people for us to give each the individual thanks they deserve.  But we would like to specifically thank Sergeant Tom Hodgson, Deputy Collin Gordon, and Lieutenant John Valentine with the Utah County Sheriff’s Office, who coordinated a huge rescue operation that involved agencies from all along the Wasatch Front -- including medical personnel from the Goshen and Santaquin Fire Departments, the Orem Fire Department, Provo Fire Department, Pleasant Grove Fire Department, Goshen Ambulance, Santaquin Ambulance, and the Salt Lake County Task Force 2, which included the Murray Fire Department, Midvale Fire Department, Sandy Fire Department, West Valley City Fire Department, Bluffdale Fire Department, West Jordan Fire Department, and South Jordan Fire Department.  Additionally, we thank the equipment crews with their technical and confined space rescue expertise, as well as the many cavers who also assisted – including members of the Timpanogos Grotto, Utah Caving Association, and Utah Cave Rescue.  To each and everyone of you, on this Thanksgiving day especially, we are touched and indebted to you for all your efforts to bring John home.

A memorial service will be held for John this Saturday, November 28th, at 11AM at the Stansbury Park Stake Center, 417 East Benson Road in Stansbury Park, Utah.  In lieu of flowers, the family asks that a contribution be made to the John and Emily Jones Memorial Fund at either Wells Fargo Bank, Utah Community Credit Union or to the Emily Jones Children Donation at Zions National Bank.

John Jones
John Jones w/his family

We thank the community for the tremendous outpouring of love and support that we have received during this hard time.  We’ll never fully understand how or why it was John’s time to leave us. But we find comfort in knowing that he fulfilled his purpose here on Earth, and that we will be reunited with him again.  Thank you, and God bless all of you on this Thanksgiving Day.

Jones Family
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