Obituary: Harry Witmer Jones, Sr., 91, WWII Veteran, Past Pres. Orange Historical Society, OCC Church Historian

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Dec 312012

Harry Jones

Harry Witmer Jones, Sr., age 91, retired President of Trans-Lite in Milford, resident of Orange for 56 years, beloved husband of Dr. Jean F. Jones, entered into eternal rest on Friday, December 21, 2012 at Golden Hill HCC.

Born on April 15, 1921 in Renova, PA he was the son of the late Harry Witmer and Alma Martz Jones. He graduated from Mercersburg Academy, Lehigh University and New Haven College School of Executive Development. At Lehigh University he was also a member of the Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity. As a Lehigh Alumni he was a member of the Tower Society and was awarded the highest alumni honor. He was the former President of the CT Valley Lehigh Club (CT and Western MA), and served as Regional Vice President of all of New England and New York state. He was also on the Senior Council.

During WWII he served in the US Army 5th Armored Div. where he fought in the European Theatre. In 1945, he was awarded the Croix de Guerre at the liberation of Luxembourg by the 5th Army. He continued to serve in the Army Reserve until 1955 when he retired with the rank of Major. He was a member of the 5th Armored Association for 60 years and thoroughly enjoyed attending the annual reunions for many years throughout the Midwestern and Eastern states.

Following his discharge from the army, his first job was at Safety Car Heating and Lighting in Hamden, a railroad equipment manufacturer. In 1957 he and a friend bought the lighting division and renamed it Trans-Lite. They manufactured lighting for mass transit. Harry was the 3rd generation of his family to be involved in the railroad business. He was President of Trans-Lite Inc. in Milford from 1957 to 1991 when he retired.

While President, he served as Chairman of the Milford Chamber of Commerce and as an Advisory Board member for Platt Tech High School.

He was a member of the Orange Historical Society and served as President for 15 years. He also served on the Orange Historic District Commission and was the Treasurer of the Connecticut League of History Organizations. He co-authored “Orange Images of America”.

Harry was a founding member of the New Haven-Derby Railroad Club and the Annual Railroad Show at High Plains Community Center. For these events, he received the Living Treasurer Award from the Town of Orange. Harry was a dedicated member of the Orange Congregational Church for over 50 years and was the Church Historian. He was a past chairman of the Trustees, of Deacons, and the Outreach Committee.

He was a devoted member of the retired Men’s Maintenance Group of 5, “The Tuesdays Guys”. He was a member for 25 years of the New Haven Association of U.C. C. churches and served on several committees. He was a member of the OC Marsh Fellows of the Peabody Museum, the New Haven Mineral Club and the Pennsylvania RR Historical and Technical Society.

In addition to his wife of 55 years, he is survived by his son, Harry Jr. and his wife Lisa of Orange, daughter-in-law Carol Doak Jones of Deep River, and four cherished grandchildren; Liza Louise Jones, Samuel Fenway Jones, Peter Emerson Jones and Harry Witmer Jones, IV.

He was predeceased by his son David Emerson Jones.

Burial was private on Thursday, December 27, 2012 with military honors.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, January 5, 2013 at 11 am at the Orange Congregational Church, 205 Meetinghouse Lane, Orange, CT 06477. Memorial contributions may be made to the Orange Congregational Church at the above address.

Arrangements are being handled by the Cody-White Funeral Home, 107 Broad St., Milford, CT 06460.

To leave online condolences please visit our website at www.codywhitefuneralservice.com.

Train Show Attracts An Enthusiastic Crowd

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Oct 082012

Can you find Spiderman in this display?

The New Haven and Derby Model Railroad Club, Inc. an affiliate of the Orange Historical Society, hosted its 20th annual model train show at High Plains Community Center on Sunday.

Between 90-100 dealer tables with merchandise of all types for every gauge were set up in both the gym and cafeteria. Exhibitors came from the tri-state area of NY, CT and MA.

The show also featured “N”, “HO”, and “G” gauge operating layouts in separate rooms for everyone’s viewing. There also were extra large “kid friendly” “S” gauge and “T” track layouts.

Many children flocked to the circus train layout, but one of the favorites was Dick Brown’s “N-Trak” from Shelton. The layout had several trains running simultaneously in different directions.

Brown had just as much childlike wonder in his eyes as did the spectators checking out his layout.

He’d call kids over and challenge them to find Spiderman in his display. The perfectly painted scale figure of the super hero was flying through the air next to a building above the subway.

The children who found him were thrilled and amazed by how cool it was. Brown shared their joy with a big smile and congratulations on their sharp eyesight.